My Body, My Method

December 15, 2022

Birth Control Series

KBFPC is sharing a series of informational posts about methods of contraception offered at the clinic! We hope to broaden people’s understanding of the variety of birth control methods available, the efficacy and reasons for selecting a certain method, and the associated costs so clients can make the choice that’s best for them and their needs.

Follow along on Instagram or Facebook and learn more about birth control at KBFPC!

First up: oral contraceptive pills, often referred to as “The Pill.” This is a popular option and one that you’ve likely heard about before. Scroll through to learn more about their effectiveness and why people like this method.

Here’s how they work to prevent pregnancy: preventing ovulation, thinning the uterine lining, and thickening cervical mucous (so sperm can’t get through!)

We know cost can be a factor: at KBFPC this method will run you $0-$20 per month, depending on your eligibility for our sliding fee scale, plus a yearly office visit ($0-$285).

hormonal implant: Nexplanon

Next up in our My Body, My Method info series: the Nexplanon!

Also known as “The Implant” this birth control device is placed below the skin in your upper arm. It prevents pregnancy by releasing progestin which thickens your cervical mucous (preventing sperm from reaching an egg) and stops ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries).

Curious about cost? At KBFPC this device is $0-$1600, depending on your eligibility for our sliding fee scale, and there may be other associated costs for your visit. We are grateful for grant support that helps us provide these devices for free to people age 25 and younger.

Vaginal Ring: NuvaRing

Next up in our series, the NuvaRing!

NuvaRing prevents pregnancy by releasing progestin and estrogen – these hormones thicken the cervical mucous preventing sperm from reaching the egg. Progestin also stops ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries).

Fun fact about the ring: you can use it for three weeks and then have your period, or opt to keep it for four weeks and skip your period! Talk to your provider to see if this is a good option for you.

How much will this method cost? At KBFPC the NuvaRing will run you $0-$35 per month plus a yearly office visit ($0-$285) depending on your eligibility for our sliding fee scale.

The Shot: Depo-Provera

Next up in our My Body, My Method Info Series: Depo-Provera!

Depo-Provera injections, given every three months, prevent pregnancy with the common birth control hormone progestin. Progestin stops ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries) and discourages an egg from implanting in the uterus. It may also be possible to administer shots yourself at home – check with your provider.

What does the shot cost? At KBFPC, depending on your eligibility for our sliding fee scale, this method will run you $0-$130 every 3 months plus a yearly office visit ($0-$285).

external condoms

Next in the series: External Condoms!

Condoms prevent pregnancy by covering the penis and acting as a barrier between semen and the cervix. For this method to be most effective it is important to use condoms correctly and always double-check the package for expiration date and any holes. Not sure if you’re using them right? Check out this how-to video.

Remember to store condoms somewhere without friction (not being sat on in your wallet) and at room-temperature (not frozen in your car’s glove box)!

External condoms are the only birth control method that also protects against the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia or HIV. External condoms can be used with other birth control methods to increase effectiveness, and there are so many varieties to choose from – even flavored!

What about cost? Condoms are free at KBFPC! Can’t make it in to the clinic? You can find condoms at your local pharmacy or grocery store for $10-$20 per box of 10. Latex-free condoms are also available at KBFPC.

IUD graphic

Next up: the IUD!

Hormonal IUDs (Liletta, Kyleena & Skyla) work by releasing a small amount of progestin into the body over time. Progestin thickens your cervical mucous (preventing sperm from reaching an egg) and stops ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries). Many users experience lighter periods or don’t have their period at all.

The non-hormonal IUD (Paragard) has copper wrapped around the thin, flexible plastic. Fun fact – copper is toxic to sperm! This method works by slowing sperm mobility so they can’t reach an egg. Some users may experience heavier periods and a bit more period cramping with this method.

Learn more about what to expect with IUD placement here.

How much does an IUD cost? At KBFPC this method will run you $0-$2,300. We are grateful for grant support that helps us provide these devices for free to people age 25 and younger.

EC graphic

Next up: Emergency Contraception!

This method of birth control is called “emergency” contraception because it can prevent potential pregnancy AFTER sex without a condom or other method of birth control. Emergency contraception (EC) does not end an already-established pregnancy.

Having a hormonal or non-hormonal IUD placed is the most effective EC, if you can get to the clinic within 5 days. (See our post on IUDs ^^ to learn more!)

Many people know about the Plan B “morning after pill” and there is also a more effective EC pill called Ella that requires a prescription. Plan B contains levonorgestrel, which prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries). Ella contains a different medication, ulipristal, which prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation and thinning the uterine lining.

Both pills are less effective for people with higher weight or BMI (Body Mass Index, a weight-to-height ratio which is an imprecise measurement of fitness but often used in medical research.) Plan B is most effective for people with BMI 25 or under; Ella for people with BMI 30 or under. Plan B can only be taken up to 3 days after sex; Ella is effective for up to 5 days. Ella may affect other methods of hormonal birth control, and can only be taken once per menstrual cycle.

EC has a range of costs, depending on your method of choice. At KBFPC, with our sliding fee scale, Plan B costs just $0-25 and Ella $0-30 with a quick free educational consult. At pharmacies in Homer, Plan B may cost $50-80 over the counter, but a prescription for Ella may be covered by insurance. Give us a call or stop by with any questions about EC – no appointment needed!

Curious about what other birth control methods are available to you? Our My Body, My Method series has focused on some of KBFPC’s most popular methods, but there are many more to suit your needs – including these non-hormonal options:

Phexxi is a new FDA-approved vaginal gel (you may have seen the viral commercial last year…) Designed to be used once each time you have sex, Phexxi gel is 86-93% effective at preventing pregnancy by lowering your vaginal pH to make it hard for sperm to move and reach an egg. Samples are available at the clinic with an appointment, and pharmacy prescriptions cost up to $350 for 12 uses.

Caya is a diaphragm with a new design, made from flexible silicone that contours to fit your body and features a shape that makes it easy to remove. Diaphragms are placed in the vagina before sex and used with spermicide gel to prevent pregnancy by slowing sperm down and blocking them from entering the cervix. With typical use and spermicide, the Caya is 87% effective and will cost around $80 every two years, plus the purchase of gel.

Fertility Awareness Methods include a variety of tracking devices, apps, and schedules that help you monitor your menstrual cycle and know when your most potentially fertile days might occur. These tools help you plan or avoid sexual activity according to your personal reproductive goals, and can help anyone learn more about their unique body! Depending on the method and the person, Fertility Awareness strategies are between 77-98% effective and cost for supplies and apps can vary.

There are even more methods out there – contact KBFPC for an appointment or call to learn more about any of these forms of birth control and what might work best for you!