A Mom's Guide to Birth Control

Sticking with your same old contraceptive seems like the easiest solution, but many moms find that their previous pick no longer meshes with their lifestyle. For example, if you were a pill devotee pre-kids, will you remember to take it now that your schedule is much busier? There are health concerns to consider as well, since breastfeeding and certain medical conditions make some methods off-limits. We studied the (many) options to help you find your best birth control.

Combination Pills

Best if: You don't want to get pregnant tomorrow; You're thinking "maybe baby"; You've found your perfect family size

How they work: These popular pills contain estrogen and progestin, which prevent ovulation and thicken cervical mucus so sperm can't reach your uterus. You take an active pill for 21 days and get your period the following week; if you go with Yaz, you pop an active pill daily for 24 days, which gives you a shorter, lighter period.

Perks: No fumbling for protection during steamy moments. Some brands ease PMS symptoms (Milder cramps! Fewer zits!) and make the monthly blues more bearable. Combo pills can also reduce your risk of ovarian, endometrial, and colon cancer.

Drawbacks: You have to remember to take the pill at the same time every day. Also, some pills have PMS-like side effects, such as acne, bloating, and moodiness, so it may take some trial and error for you and your doctor to find the type that's best for you. All varieties can raise your risk of life-threatening blood clots, though the odds are small if you don't have other risk factors (like a smoking habit, a family history of blood clots, or migraines with auras -- in that case, your ob-gyn may not recommend the pill at all). Yaz (and its cousin Yasmin) are off-limits for women who have ever had kidney, liver, or adrenal disease.

Fertility returns 1 to 2 months after discontinuing the pill.

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