Frequently asked questions:
There are many birth control options available, and factors to consider with each type.
- Some methods require more commitment than others. For example, taking a daily pill vs. a long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), such as an IUD or implant. Here is a good reference that describes the pros and cons of the various methods, to help inform your decision: Birth Control | ACOG.
- The costs for birth control vary by type and by your insurance coverage. For example, oral contraception (pills) incur a monthly charge for each packet, while the LARC requires a clinical procedure with a healthcare provider, which has a larger initial expense. You should check with your insurance provider about the coverage of various birth control options.
We are happy to discuss the different options available in detail at your appointment.
Typically students set up an initial in-person appointment with one of our providers so we can discuss the options available, and so we can review your medical, family, and social history in order to choose the safest option for you. It is important to ensure you do not have any risk factors, such as high blood pressure or smoking, that might increase your risk of complications. There may be situations where birth control can be prescribed via a telehealth visit.
We can generally work with your schedule to meet with a provider in a timely manner. Schedule an appointment by calling our schedulers at 319-335-8394 or use MyChart to request an appointment to discuss birth control.
At your initial appointment:
- A medical assistant will check you in and begin collecting your medical history. Your blood pressure will be taken, along with your other vital signs.
- A provider will visit with you and may do a limited physical exam. A Pap test can be done if you are due for screening, in addition to testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea*.
If you wish to start on oral contraception (pills), you will receive a prescription same day, and we will provide you instructions on how to begin taking them.
If you wish to proceed with a long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), we will schedule a separate appointment at a later time for the procedure, which takes about an hour in the clinic.
*These sexually transmitted infections can be asymptomatic in women and can affect your health and fertility if undetected and untreated, so we often conduct them during your annual exam.
If you paid the health fee*, your office visit to discuss birth control will have no charge. If there are charges, they may be covered by your insurance.
- If you are prescribed oral contraceptives (pills), a cost may be incurred for your prescription, which may be covered by insurance.
- If you have a Pap test and physical exam, charges will be incurred and submitted through your insurance.
- Other tests, such as STI testing, may or may not have charges associated.
*Automatically applied to your tuition if you are enrolled in four or more semester hours.
Pap smears, or Pap tests, are screenings for cervical cancer. The test looks for abnormal cells on your cervix (the cylinder-shaped tissue that connects your vagina and uterus) that could lead to cancer.
- If you are under 21, you do not need screening yet.
- If you are 21 or over, we recommend getting a Pap test.
Here is a good reference chart from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology that outlines current guidelines: Cervical Cancer Screening | ACOG.