Birth Control And Age: Best Options For Women At Every Age

birth control and age

In this article, we discuss the best birth control options at every age.


As you get older, your lifestyle changes over time. Your food habits change. Your physical and psychological health may also go through a few changes. Also, certain new health conditions may come to play as you age. All this may necessitate a few changes in your preferences in birth control needs as well. If you are fertile and sexually active, you must understand the best birth control options based on different stages of your life.

Birth Control And Age

1. Teenagers

People hit puberty in teens. Especially for females, they may begin menstruating anywhere between the age of 9 and 13 years. Thus, teenagers who are sexually active may consider options for birth control. The best option for the same is the long-acting reversible contraceptives or LARCs such as the hormonal IUD (intrauterine device), copper IUD, or a birth control implant.

For protection against pregnancy for the whole day, you can get an IUD inserted by the doctor in your uterus. You can also get a birth control implant to your arm. These devices are 99% effective to protect against conceiving and last for a long time. Typically, depending on the type of IUDs, these last between 3 years and 12 years. Thus, you do not have to worry about getting pregnant for many years.

Few other methods of pregnancy prevention include:

  • Condoms: A condom works two-ways. It prevents pregnancy as well as protects against certain types of sexually transmitted infections. A person may have an STI for a long time without having the knowledge of it. And he/she may pass the infection to the partner. However, if STI is detected, it is best to get treatment for the same. But using a condom during physical intimacy may keep both safes from passing the infection to each other. Condoms are also 85% effective in restricting pregnancy. You may combine a condom with any other birth control method to increase the efficacy of pregnancy protection.
  • Shot: It is an injectable form of the hormonal birth control measure.
  • Skin Patch: You have to wear this hormonal patch on your skin.
  • Birth Control Pill: You have to intake the hormonal pill every day with water as per the usage indications of the birth control pill pack.
  • Vaginal Ring: You have to wear this hormonal ring in your vagina.

Apart from condoms, the rest of the options are 90% effective. These are not long-lasting or as foolproof as implants and IUDs. For instance, if you use a skin patch, then you have to replace it every week. Or if you use oral contraceptives, then you have to take the tablet every day. It is advisable to speak to your doctor about the possible and effective options for birth control in teens. After this, you can choose a method suitable for your health.

2. In the 20s And 30s

As the above-mentioned pregnancy prevention methods work for teenagers, the same is effective for women in their 20s and 30s. These methods are convenient and effective for young women, and thus, safe to use. Since birth control implants and IUDs are reversible, young females can consider these long-lasting options in their 20s and 30s.

  • Whenever you want to get pregnant, all you have to do is visit your doctor for the removal of the implant or IUD. These methods do not have any permanent impact on your fertility.
  • The birth control skin patch, pill, shot, and the vaginal ring is also great methods. However, these are not as easy or effective to use as an implant or IUD.
  • Females in the 20s and 30s with a certain history of medical conditions or risk factors must speak with their doctor. The doctor will help you know which of these birth control options to avoid and which ones to continue for use.

For instance, women who smoke and are over the age of 35 may be advised to not use pills containing estrogen. This is because such pills can raise the risk of stroke in older women and those who smoke.

3. In The 40s

Fertility in women declines with age. But many females in their 40s can get pregnant if they are still sexually active. If you are physically intimate often and do not want to conceive, then you should use an effective birth control method till the time you do not reach the menopause. Non-surgical options to prevent pregnancy include birth control IUDs and implants. These areas discussed above, easy to use, and effective. Some other options are skin patch, pill, condom, shot, and vaginal ring.

  • For those with symptoms of menopause, a credible pregnancy prevention option is the estrogen-containing birth control. These offer relief for menopause symptoms.
  • For instance, vaginal rings, certain types of oral contraceptives, skin patches can relieve night sweats, and hot flashes. But such kinds of pregnancy prevention options may raise the risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots.
  • Thus, you must talk to your doctor about using these methods as per your wellbeing. You must not use estrogen-supported methods if you have a history of smoking, high blood pressure, and related risk factors.

Some of you may already have children by the age of 40. And if you do not want to conceive at all in the present and the future, then the apt pregnancy prevention method is a sterilization surgery. It is a permanent option for birth control. This surgery includes vasectomy and tubal ligation, both disallowing the scope of pregnancy altogether.

4. After The 40s

Between the 40s and 50s, chances of getting pregnant become low in females. This is because the fertility rate decreases given the hormonal changes in the body. And after menopause, you cannot get pregnant as the process of ovulation stops permanently. This means you will not get your monthly periods (menstruation). After menopause even if you are physically intimate without birth control protection, you will not be able to conceive.

  • So, if you were using hormonal contraceptives, then you should ask your doctor if it is still beneficial and safe to keep using these.
  • Your doctor may advise against the usage of estrogen-containing options if you have a medical history of certain health conditions or diseases.
  • In other cases, it could be relatively safe to use hormonal contraceptives until you are fertile and up to the age of 55.
  • But if you are more than 50 years of age, and not using the hormonal birth control method, then you may have hit menopause if you do not menstruate for a year.

After menopause, you do not have to use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. It is best to get a check-up done regularly after the 40s to 45s on your reproductive health. This will help you understand how your monthly cycle is affected, the possibility of getting pregnant, and birth control measures available. On reaching menopause, the doctor shall advise you on how to approach your health thereafter.

Birth Control And Age: To Conclude

Your birth control options may change as your age progresses. Some of the contraception methods are based on your current health condition as well, and not just your age. This is why you must be aware of the suitable pregnancy prevention options that will give the best efficacy rate in different stages of life. Your doctor will help you know the ideal options and weigh these as suitable for your health.

Out of all the available options, you can choose the one you are most comfortable with. Some women find it easier to go with IUDs or implants over pills, and vice-versa. Some may want to opt for the sterilization method after kids. To understand your comfort level with the use of birth control measures, and select the one that works for you.