Birth Control

Choosing the best type of birth control to fit your future plans and lifestyle can only be done when you have all the information you need. Dr. Anna Le and the team at Annandale Ob-Gyn take the time to talk with you about your goals, answer your questions, and make sure you don’t have any health concerns that might rule out a particular contraceptive. Please don’t hesitate to call one of the offices in Annandale or Alexandria, Virginia, or book an appointment online when you need birth control or trusted gynecological care.

What should you consider before choosing birth control?

Choosing birth control begins with a review of your medical history and a pelvic exam so your doctor at Annandale Ob-Gyn & Primary Care can determine if any contraceptive methods aren’t the best because of health concerns. It’s also important to talk about when you want to have children because that influences the birth control method that may be best for you. You can count on your doctor to answer your questions, explain the benefits and risk of the methods you’re considering, and make sure you know how to use the birth control you choose.

What is the effectiveness of different contraceptives?

One of the first things many women ask about is effectiveness. They want to know they can count on their chosen contraceptive to do the best job of preventing pregnancy. These are the effectiveness ratings for various types of birth control:

  • Sterilization (tubal ligation or occlusion): Nearly 100% effective
  • Intrauterine device (IUD): Nearly 100% effective
  • Hormone implant: 99%
  • Hormones (pills, injection, pellets, ring, or patch): 91-94%
  • Diaphragm: 88%
  • Male condoms: 82%
  • Female condoms: 79%
  • Sponge: 76-88%

You can improve the effectiveness of some methods by using them properly and consistently. Birth control pills on their own are very effective, but their rate drops as low as 91% because it’s easy to forget a pill, then you can get pregnant. Consistently using methods like the diaphragm and condom every time you have sex also boosts their effectiveness.

What are long-acting, reversible contraceptives?

There are two basic types of long-acting, reversible contraceptives: IUDs and implants. Both types are safe for women of all ages, and they’re popular because they’re as effective as sterilization and they do what their name says: IUDs and implantable contraceptives, such as Nexplanon®, are inserted once, then continuously prevent pregnancy for years. IUDs last three to 10 years, depending on the type of IUD you choose. Implants are placed under the skin of your upper arm, where they provide protection for three years. Your doctor at Annandale Ob-Gyn & Primary Care can quickly and easily remove your IUD or implant at any time, and they’re reversible, which means you can get pregnant as soon as they’re removed.


The Nexplanon® implant is one of the most effective forms of birth control available. It’s long lasting and it’s safe for women of all ages. Dr. Anna Le and the team at Annandale Ob-Gyn have extensive experience inserting Nexplanon in women who want “get it and forget it” birth control. To learn more about Nexplanon, call one of their offices in Annandale or Alexandria, Virginia, or book an appointment online.

What is the Nexplanon contraceptive implant?

Nexplanon is a thin, flexible plastic that’s about the size of a matchstick and contains the hormone progestin. The implant is inserted under the skin of your upper arm, where it slowly and continuously releases hormones that prevent pregnancy.

How does Nexplanon work?

The hormone released by Nexplanon works two ways to ensure you don’t become pregnant:

1) It prevents ovulation. An egg is not released from your ovaries, so it can’t be fertilized.
2) It thickens cervical mucus. Thicker mucus prevents sperm from being able to travel through the cervix, so they can’t reach an egg.

How effective is the Nexplanon implant?

Nexplanon rates as one of the most effective methods of birth control. It’s more than 99% effective, which means it works just as well as permanent sterilization.

What makes Nexplanon a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC)?

After Nexplanon is inserted, it stays in place and continuously prevents pregnancy for three years. After that, it must be removed and replaced with a new implant, because it runs out of hormones.

It’s completely reversible. You can have it taken out at any time and become pregnant as early as a week after it’s removed.

How is Nexplanon inserted?

You’ll need to have a pregnancy test before Nexplanon is inserted, because you can’t use it if you’re pregnant. Then your doctor at Annandale Ob-Gyn & Primary Care numbs the area on your upper, inner arm where it will be implanted.

The doctor uses a specialized applicator to insert Nexplanon under your skin, and your procedure is finished. You’ll wear a pressure bandage for 24 hours and a bandage for three to five days.

When you want the implant removed or it’s time to replace it, your doctor makes a small incision and takes it out.

How soon does it begin to prevent pregnancy?

When Nexplanon is inserted within the first five days of your menstrual, it begins to work immediately. If it’s inserted any time after five days, you’ll need to wait a week before it’s effective, so you should avoid sex or use condoms until then.

Will Nexplanon affect your menstrual periods?

In some women, Nexplanon may change menstrual bleeding. You may have longer or short periods or you may not have any periods. Additionally, the time between your periods may vary and you could have spotting.