Benefits of family planning
Interested in exploring your options for family planning? The Health Department can help.
The Health Department provides quality family planning services at an affordable price. Services are charged on a sliding-fee scale based on your income. That means that the amount you pay is based on your income and family size. Even if you have health insurance, you may save money through the Health Department. No one will be denied service because of inability to pay. Medical cards are accepted.
Although the Health Department cannot bill private insurance companies for family planning services, women with insurance often find that the Health Department’s services cost less because of the sliding-fee scale and reduced costs for some family planning methods through the federal/state Title X program.
Counseling, education, pregnancy testing and birth control services are provided confidentially by the Health Department. These services are available at all county health centers.
Benefits of family planning
- Having children when you want them
- Being able to prepare financially for your children
- Being healthier before and during pregnancy
- Not worrying about an unwanted pregnancy
- Making your own decisions about birth control
Confidential family planning services are available for women, men and teens at the Health Department’s four county health centers. Doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses will work with you to provide education about family planning methods and determine which method fits your lifestyle best. Here’s some basic information about many of the family planning methods available through the Health Department.
- Abstinence: Refraining from sexual intercourse, this method is free and available to all. There are no medical side effects, including pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Abstinence is 100 percent effective.
- Natural family planning: Couples avoid sex during the fertile days in a woman’s cycle, after getting instruction to determine days of fertility. It is 80-99 percent effective.
- Condoms: A thin sheath of latex rubber that fits over the penis, the condom prevents sperm from getting inside the woman’s vagina. Condoms may be used with other birth control methods. They are 85-98 percent effective. Free condom distribution sites.
- Diaphragm (with spermicide): A small round rubber cup that is placed in the vagina over the cervix. Diaphragms keep sperm from reaching the egg, and are 80-95 percent effective.
- Oral contraceptives (the pill): Birth control pills contain hormones that work by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary each month. They must be taken daily. The Health Department offers many types of birth control pills. They are 97-99.7 percent effective. Learn more about starting birth control pills or what to do if you miss a dose.
- Contraceptive patch (OrthoEvra): An adhesive patch that contains the same hormones as birth control pills is placed on the woman’s body. The patch is changed once a week for three weeks. Patches are 99 percent effective.
- DepoProvera: A contraceptive shot is given once every three months in the health centers. There’s no daily method to remember. DepoPrevera is 99.7 percent effective when used correctly.
- IUD (intrauterine device): A small plastic device, wrapped with natural copper, is inserted into the uterus by a health care provider. IUDs can last for up 10 years, but must be removed by a health care provider. The Health Department offers ParaGard IUDs, which do not contain hormones. It is 99.4 percent effective.
- Vaginal ring (NuvaRing): A flexible vaginal ring containing hormones release daily to inhibit ovulation. The ring is inserted by the woman herself and remains in place for three weeks. The woman replaces a ring one week later. It is 99 percent effective if used correctly.
- Sterilization: A permanent method available to men and women who do not want children in the future. The male procedure is a vasectomy and involves cutting and tying the tubes that carry sperm. The female procedure is tubal ligation and involves cutting and tying the fallopian tubes. Those wanting services will be referred to local doctors for the procedures. Assistance with payment for sterilizations is available based on need and income. It is 99.5-100 percent effective for females; and 99.9 -100 percent effective for males.
- Implant (Nexplanon) --- A flexible single rod implant that contains hormones. It is placed under the skin of the upper arm by a clinician and will protect women from pregnancy for three years. It has less than a 1 percent failure rate.
Not sure which method might be best? Bedsider.org has an interactive tool to help.
For more information on family planning services, contact the county health center most convenient for you.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Division of Reproductive Health
Association of Reproductive Health Providers
National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy