All Medical Procedures

The cervical mucus method, also called the ovulation method and the Billings ovulation method, is a type of natural family planning also known as fertility awareness-based methods.

The cervical mucus method is based on careful observation of mucus patterns during the course of your menstrual cycle. Before ovulation, cervical secretions change — creating an environment that helps sperm travel through the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes to the egg. By recognizing the changing characteristics of your cervical mucus, you can predict when you'll ovulate. In turn, this may help you determine when you're most likely to conceive.

If you're hoping to get pregnant, you can use the cervical mucus method to determine the best days to have sex. Similarly, if you're hoping to avoid pregnancy, you can use the cervical mucus method to determine which days to avoid unprotected sex.

Using the cervical mucus method for birth control requires motivation and diligence. If you don't want to conceive, you and your partner must avoid having sex or use a barrier method of contraception during your fertile days each month.

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a prenatal test in which a sample of chorionic villi is removed from the placenta for testing.

During pregnancy, the placenta provides oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby and removes waste products from the baby's blood. The chorionic villi are wispy projections that make up most of the placenta and share the baby's genetic makeup.

Chorionic villus sampling can reveal whether a baby has a chromosomal condition, such as Down syndrome. Chorionic villus sampling can also be used to test for other genetic conditions, such as cystic fibrosis.

Although chorionic villus sampling can provide valuable information about your baby's health, the decision to pursue invasive diagnostic testing is serious. It's important to understand the risks of chorionic villus sampling — and be prepared for the results.

Colposcopy (kol-POS-kuh-pee) is a procedure to closely examine your cervix, vagina and vulva for signs of disease. During colposcopy, your doctor uses a special instrument called a colposcope.

Your doctor may recommend colposcopy if your Pap test has shown abnormal results. If your doctor finds an unusual area of cells during colposcopy, a sample of tissue can be collected for laboratory testing (biopsy).

Many women experience anxiety before their colposcopy exams. Knowing what to expect during your colposcopy may help you feel more comfortable.

Combination birth control pills, also known as the pill, are oral contraceptives that contain estrogen and a progestin.

Combination birth control pills suppress ovulation — keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg. Combination birth control pills also cause changes in the cervical mucus and the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to keep sperm from joining the egg.

Different types of combination birth control pills contain different doses of estrogen and progestin. Some combination birth control pills, called continuous or extended-cycle pills, allow you to reduce the number of periods you have each year. If you'd like to use combination birth control pills, your health care provider can help you decide which type is right for you.

Cordocentesis — also known as percutaneous umbilical blood sampling — is a highly specialized prenatal test in which a sample of the baby's blood is removed from the umbilical cord for testing.

Cordocentesis can be used to detect certain blood conditions and infections. Cordocentesis can also be used to deliver blood transfusions and medication to a baby through the umbilical cord.

Use of cordocentesis is decreasing, however, since newer forms of technology can sometimes provide the same information from tests that pose a smaller risk of miscarriage — such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling.

Cordocentesis might be offered when:

  • The desired information can't be obtained any other way
  • Results from other prenatal tests are unclear
  • Test results might have a significant impact on the immediate management of the pregnancy

Depo-Provera is a well-known brand name for medroxyprogesterone, a contraceptive injection for women that contains the hormone progestin. Depo-Provera is given as an injection once every three months. Depo-Provera typically suppresses ovulation, keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg. Depo-Provera also thickens cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching the egg.

Medroxyprogesterone acetate is also available in a lower dosage. This version is called Depo-SubQ Provera 104. While Depo-Provera is injected deep into the muscle, Depo-SubQ Provera 104 is injected just beneath the skin.

Depo-Provera and Depo-SubQ Provera 104 have similar benefits and risks. To use Depo-Provera or Depo-SubQ Provera 104, you'll need to visit your doctor or other health care provider.

The diaphragm is a birth control (contraceptive) device that helps prevent sperm from entering the uterus. The diaphragm is a small, reusable rubber or silicone cup with a flexible rim that covers the cervix.

Before sex, the diaphragm is inserted deep into the vagina so that part of the rim fits snugly behind the pubic bone. The diaphragm is most effective at preventing pregnancy when used with spermicide.

Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure to remove tissue from inside your uterus. Doctors perform dilation and curettage to diagnose and treat certain uterine conditions — such as heavy bleeding — or to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage or abortion.

In a dilation and curettage — sometimes spelled "dilatation" and curettage — your doctor uses small instruments or a medication to open (dilate) your cervix — the lower, narrow part of your uterus. Your doctor then uses a surgical instrument called a curette to remove uterine tissue. Curettes used in a D&C can be sharp or use suction.

Egg freezing, also known as mature oocyte cryopreservation, is a method used to preserve a woman's reproductive potential.

Eggs are harvested from your ovaries, frozen unfertilized and stored for later use. A frozen egg can be thawed, combined with sperm in a lab and implanted in your uterus (in vitro fertilization).

However, only a small portion of eggs that are frozen, thawed and implanted result in the birth of a baby. Egg freezing can also be expensive.

Your doctor can help you understand how egg freezing works, the potential risks and whether this method of fertility preservation is right for you.

A procedure called endometrial ablation destroys the endometrium — the lining of your uterus — with the goal of reducing your menstrual flow. In some women, menstrual flow may stop completely. No incisions are needed for endometrial ablation. Your doctor inserts slender tools through your cervix — the passageway between your vagina and your uterus.

The tools vary, depending on the method used to destroy the endometrium. Some types of endometrial ablation use extreme cold, while other varieties depend on heated fluids, microwave energy or high-energy radiofrequencies.

Some types of endometrial ablation can be done in your doctor's office, while others must be performed in an operating room. Factors such as the size and condition of your uterus will help determine which endometrial ablation method is most appropriate.