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What Are Prescription Birth Control Methods?

Prescription birth control methods, including birth control pills, shots, patches, rings, IUDs and implants, require a consultation with a health care provider in order to obtain a prescription for the medication. Prescriptions can be written in person or provided online through companies like Nurx™

Prescription birth control methods include:

  • Combination Birth Control Pill — Birth control pill that delivers both estrogen and progestin. Packs typically come with 21 active and seven inactive pills that are taken during your menstrual cycle. Prescription combination birth control pills should be taken at the same time daily.
  • Progestin-Only Birth Control Pill (Mini-pill) — Birth control pill that only delivers progestin in 28 active pills. Progestin-only birth control pills should be taken at the exact time every day, since missing the designated time by more than three hours could reduce the pill’s efficiency.
  • Patch — The patch contains estrogen and progestin like the combination birth control pill. Apply the patch to the skin of your arm, back, belly, or butt. Remove the old patch and reapply a new patch weekly. After three weeks, remove the patch and wait one week before starting the cycle again.
  • Ring — A flexible ring inserted into the vagina where it delivers estrogen and progestin. A vaginal ring works by preventing ovulation (no egg to fertilize) and thickening cervical mucus (sperm can’t swim to the egg). The vaginal ring requires monthly changes.
  • Shot — Progestin is injected into the muscle to prevent pregnancy for up to three months.
  • Birth Control Implant — A small implant placed just under the skin that releases progestin to prevent pregnancy for three to five years.
  • Hormonal IUD — Intrauterine device (IUD) laced with progestin. Small amounts of progestin are released to prevent pregnancy for three to six years.
  • Copper IUD — A copper intrauterine device implanted in the uterus for up to 12 years of protection.
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