Birth Control for Women Over 30

Latest news about the safest, smartest birth control options for women over 30.

Fallen out of love with your birth control? Maybe youre put off by the side effects—cramps from hell! unpredictable bleeding! Or maybe remembering to pop a pill just isnt your strong suit.

Problem is, going without isnt a good choice, even as you get older: Nearly 40% of pregnancies among women in their 40s, for instance, are unplanned.

The good news is that there are more safe, effective contraception options than ever for women who may be done having children or who are 30-plus.

Which one is best for you? Weve ruled out the least-popular (diaphragm, female condom, NuvaRing) and higher- risk (the Patch) methods, and assembled the likely candidates here.

The combo Pill
Who can try it: Almost all women. Sur­prised? Truth is, a growing body of research debunks some myths surrounding this 99%–effective form of contraception—like the notion that it brings on menopause or ups the risk for some cancers. A recent meta-analysis in the The New England Journal of Medicine reveals that many women can safely take the Pill—which serves up low doses of estrogen and progestin three weeks a month to suppress egg release—right into menopause.

The Pill can ease maddening peri­menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, hormonal mood swings, and irregular bleeding. Whats more, it may help prevent ovarian and uterine cancers, says study author Andrew M. Kaunitz, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida College of Medicine at Jacksonville. “The longer youre on the Pill, the more protection you have,” he says. The protection against ovarian cancer extends some 30 years after you quit the Pill, according to a recent study in The Lancet. And the Pill does not cause breast cancer, Dr. Kaunitz says.

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Alicia Potter
Last Updated: June 19, 2009

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