Woman wanting to delay pregnancy and having a child have many options available to them. One method of birth control is the birth control patch.

The birth control patch was first introduced in the early 2000's and was branded as the Ortho Evra patch.  The patch originally was marketed to women in their late teen's and 20's as a more convenient method of avoiding pregnancy than the pill.

The patch is a small square that has two hormones: estrogen and progestin.

Estrogen refers to a group of hormones that play an important role in the growth and development of female sexual characteristics and the reproductive process. The term progestin is used for any natural or synthetic substance that has properties similar to natural progesterone.

The hormones are released through the skin when the patch is applied with each patch generally good for about one week. After that week you must apply a new patch. On the fourth week no patch is applied. This is because women will experience their period at that time.

Advantages of the patch

Wearing the patch means no missed pills and no awkward forms of contraception like the sponge or the ring. Women will apply it to their body  and don't think about it again until it is time to change it. There are four areas on the body where it is recommended the patch can be applied. These are the abdomen, the buttocks, the upper arm, or the upper torso. It should not be applied directly to the breasts. At the end of the week when the patch needs replacing, it needs to be applied to different area of the body and not to the same area as the previous one. The birth control patch will stay on through normal activities including bathing, swimming and exercise.

Disadvantages of the patch

Just like other contraceptive methods such as the pill, the patch has some side effects. These side effects are mainly due to the levels of estrogen. Women may experience heavy bleeding, headaches, bloating, cramping and nausea. The patch isn't for everyone. For instance, there has been some talk that the patch is not as effective in women who weigh over 200 pounds. The cost can also be expensive for a month's supply (three patches). Prices vary, but the typical cost for the patch is about $30 to $40 a month (plus the cost of having a medical examination to get the prescription). The patch can come off if you use oils or lotion on or near it. At that point you are unprotected and need a new patch within 24 hours.

It very important to stress that the patch doesn't protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

The patch is 92 percent to 99 percent effective. This means that with correct use, less than 8 out of every 100 women who use the patch will become pregnant. For the woman constantly on the go with work or a busy social calendar, the patch means less worry about pregnancy. You can put it on and leave it be to do the job.

The Patch
Credit: http://birthcontrolnews.org