Mercer County Health Department receives federal funding from the Title X Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs. This program enables individuals who want to obtain family planning care to have access to a broad range of acceptable and effective family planning methods and services. The goal of this program is to provide individuals the information and means to exercise personal choice in determining the number and spacing of their children.
We offer a variety of medical services as part of our Family Planning program such as Pap testing/pelvic exams, breast exams, testing/treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy testing, birth control (including free condoms), and emergency contraception. In addition, education and counseling are provided as part of this program on topics such as healthy lifestyle choices, breast and testicular exams, STD/HIV risks, preconception health, etc. See below for more detail.
Our family planning program includes the following confidential services for women, men, and adolescents:
Height, weight and blood pressure evaluation
Pap testing & pelvic exam
STD Testing and Treatment
Pregnancy Testing & Counseling
Birth Control Methods
Sterilization (male & female)
Other Lab tests, if needed
Immunizations, if needed
Education & Counseling:
Healthy Lifestyle Choices including: good nutrition, exercise, avoiding harmful substances, and tobacco cessation
Self Breast/Testicular Exams
Preconception Health/Folic Acid
Referrals & linkages with community resources
The results of your check-up and lab tests will be explained to you. Family Planning staff will help you choose the appropriate method of birth control and teach you ways to stay healthy.
Staff members will answer any questions you may have. You will receive birth control method education and counseling, including Natural Family Planning and abstinence education.
Birth Control Methods:
Abstinence— Refraining from sexual intercourse. Free and available to all. No medical side effects, including pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. May be started at any time in a person’s life. (100% effective)
Cervical Caps—A small latex cap is placed over the cervix. May be left in place for up to 48 hours. Offers private use of birth control for women. (84-91% effective in women who have never given birth;68-74% effective in women who have given birth)
Condoms— A thin sheath of latex rubber that fits over the penis. Acts as a barrier; prevents sperm from getting inside the woman’s vagina. Only method that protects both partners from sexually transmitted diseases. May be used with other birth control methods. No prescription needed. Can be easily carried by both men and women. (85-98% effective)
Contraceptive Patch—An adhesive patch that contains the same hormones as birth control pills is placed on the women’s body. Patch is changed once a week for 3 weeks. (99% effective)
Diaphragm (with spermicide)— A small round rubber cup which is placed in the vagina over the cervix up to 6 hours before sex. Must leave in vagina for 6 hours after sex. Keeps sperm from reaching the egg. Woman must be comfortable with inserting and removing from vagina. (84-94% effective)
Emergency Contraception— Pills may be taken up to 120 hours (5days) after unprotected sexual intercourse to prevent an unintended pregnancy. ECP is most effective when taken within12 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse.
Hormone Injectable (shot)— A contraceptive shot called Depo-Provera is given once every 3 months; must return to clinic for shot. No daily method to remember. Offers private use of birth control for women. May cause changes in menstrual flow. May not be able to get pregnant for 6-18 months after stopping. (97-99.7%)
Implanon— A small, thin, plastic rod with hormones inserted under the skin of the woman’s upper arm. Left inserted for up to 3 years. Offers private use of birth control for women. (99% effective)
IUD (intrauterine device)— a small plastic device, covered with copper or a hormone which is inserted into the uterus by a health care provider. Effective long-term method. Lasts 5-10 years, depending on the type. No daily method to remember. Offers private use of birth control for women. Copper device is good option for women that cannot use hormonal methods. (99.2-99.4%)
Natural Family Planning— Avoiding sex during the fertile days in a women’s cycle. Requires instruction from a health care provider to determine days of fertility. Free. No exam needed. Can be used to plan pregnancy as well as avoid pregnancy. (80-99% effective)
Pills— Birth control pills that contain hormones that work by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary each month. Must be taken daily. Less pain and bleeding with periods. Can be used to regulate and delay periods. (97-99.9% effective)
Spermicidal Films, Foams, Creams, Suppositories, and Jellies—Chemicals which kill sperm and come in different forms. Placed in the vagina just before intercourse. No health risks. No prescription or exam needed. Works better when used with condom or diaphragm. Can be used as a back-up method until regular method obtained. (85% effective; 99% with condom)
Sponge—A soft foam sponge containing spermicide is moistened and inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix. Easy to use. Inserted several hours before sex and left in place for 24 hours; must stay inserted for at least 6 hours after sex. (82% effective in women who haven’t given birth; 91.2% effective in women who have given birth)
Sterilization— Permanent method available to men and women who are absolutely sure they do not want children in the future. The male procedure is called a vasectomy and involves cutting and tying the tubes that carry sperm. The female procedure is called tubal ligation and involves cutting and tying the fallopian tubes. (99.6-99.8% effective females; 99.8-99.9% effective males)
Vaginal Ring— A small flexible ring that contains hormones is placed in the vagina to prevent the release of an egg from the ovary. Worn by patient for 3 weeks at a time. Easy to use. Low chance of irregular bleeding.(99.7% effective)