What's new in hormonal birth control is that there are so many different ways to get the stuff into your body.

  • The oral birth control pill comes in many variations now, with different kinds and ratios of hormones (estrogen and progestin).
  • Then there are the hormonal methods that don't involve swallowing anything: implants, hormone-infused vaginal rings, and birth control patches.

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This is great news for women because it gives you the opportunity to find a "method of delivery," as the docs call it, that works best for you, your body, and your lifestyle.

The longer-lasting methods—the shots, the IUD—often have a higher success rate, because they cut out the human factor (you have to remember to take the Pill), and that keeps hormone levels more consistent.

But the idea is that now you can pick and choose—with the help of a thorough gynecologist—according to personal preference, while weighing the risks and benefits of each against your personal medical make-up and habits.