Contraception or Birth Control Method is in use since ancient times, whereas the efficient and safest methods became available only after the 20th century. Birth control is defined as the methods or devices which are used to prevent pregnancy in women.
The birth control method empower women to freedom of designing their future without worrying about unwanted pregnancies. After all, it is “Your body, your rules”. Giving birth and growing a baby is not a joke but requires a lot of effort both physically as well as mentally. Financial planning is another aspect that needs consideration before deciding to have a baby. The fertility control methods enable couples to choose when they want to have a baby.
Following points are some of the reality checks on the birth control methods:
- Comprehensive Sex Education or Adolescence Education Program, and access to birth control reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies in teenagers.
- It is recommended that women who have reached menopause should continue their birth control methods at least for one year after their last period.
- Vaginal Douching after sexual intercourse is not a birth control method and cannot prevent pregnancy. Also, it is associated with numerous health problems and thus not recommended.
- Women can get pregnant while having sex on their periods, although they are less fertile on the first few days.
- Women who are not exclusively breastfeeding can become pregnant after four to six weeks of delivering their child.
Choosing the right birth control method
Not every birth control method can be perfect for you. Depending on the lifestyle choices, and future pregnancy plans one can choose the suitable method.
The best way to prevent pregnancy is the proper usage of a male condom along with any other form of birth control.
There are so many birth-control options like pills, patches, condoms, rings, shots, implants, surgery, etc., Trying out different contraceptive methods before fixing the right one can be very frustrating and exhausting. So, we have categorized the birth control methods according to their types and functions.
1. Permanent Contraceptive methods
If you have decided not to have kids anymore and opting for a hassle-free permanent solution then Sterilization is your choice.
Tubal Ligation (Sterilization):
Tubal ligation is a surgery that involves blocking, tying, or cutting the fallopian tubes in women. Fallopian tubes are the ones that carry the egg from the ovaries to the uterus. So, when the fallopian tubes are removed the eggs cannot reach the uterus, and tada pregnancy is impossible.
This is a permanent procedure that is more than 99% effective. Tubal ligation can prevent pregnancy but not your periods.
Vasectomy is also a surgical solution available for men. Vasectomy blocks or removes the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis. So, no sperm and no pregnancy. This procedure is also more than 99% effective.
2. Low Maintenance and Long-term Contraceptive Methods
Birth Control Implant
Nexplanon or the birth control implant is a tiny rod about the size of a matchstick, and it is implanted under the skin of your upper arm. This implant releases a hormone called ‘progestin’ which stops the eggs to leave the ovaries. So, this prevents pregnancy.
The implant is not a permanent birth control method and lasts for a longer time up to 5 years. If you wish to become pregnant, your doctor can easily take it out and you can quickly get pregnant.
This method is super effective i.e., more than 99% and it may cause minor side-effects like disruption in periods, acne, breast tenderness, and weight gain.
Intrauterine Device IUDs
An IUD is a small T-shaped device when placed inside the uterus prevents pregnancy. This contraceptive method is also more than 99% effective. There are two types of IUD’s
• Copper IUD
Copper IUDs work by deterring the sperms. They make sure the sperms never reach the egg. Once this IUD is put in, you can forget it for the next 12 years. The best thing about Copper IUD is that it can be used as an emergency contraceptive method. If it is set within 5 days after the unprotected sex, it can avoid pregnancy.
• Hormonal IUD
The hormonal IUDs release progestin which stops ovulation and prevents pregnancy for almost 3 to 7 years. The important side effect is that hormonal IUDs can make you stop having periods or make it much lighter than usual.
3. Scheduled Contraceptive Methods
If you are a time-table person, then these methods work best for you. These fertility control methods should be administered at a scheduled time or else they cannot be very effective.
• Birth Control Shot
Get an injection of progestin every 3 months and you are safe from pregnancy. This method is 94% effective.
• Birth Control Vaginal Ring
You wear a small, flexible ring inside your vagina and it prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones throughout the day. You can leave the ring for 3 weeks after which remove it to have your period. Then replace it with a new ring. This method is 91% effective. Note that if the ring is not placed correctly or if you have any slips, then there is a chance for pregnancy.
• Birth Control Patch
The contraceptive patch is a safe and convenient method if you use it correctly. You can wear the patch on certain areas of the body and replace it with a new patch every week for 3 weeks. Remove it during your menstrual week. This method is also 91% effective.
• Birth Control Pill
Birth control pills are safe, affordable, and effective method if you always take the pill daily at the same time. 91% effective and the risk of human error is high.
4. Every Time Usage Contraceptive Methods
These one-time usage contraceptive methods are also called Barrier Birth Control Methods. You need to use it every time you have sex and also need to use it correctly for it to be very effective. The Barrier conception methods are easily available at many stores or at online and do not require a doctor’s prescription to buy them.
- Internal Condom: 95% effective
- External Condom: 97% effective
- Diaphragm: 96% effective
- Sponge: 91% effective
- Cervical Cap: 86% effective
- Spermicide: 72% effective
Some of the above options work well only when combined with the other option. For example, you need to use spermicide along with a diaphragm or cervical cap. Consult your doctor to decide the right method that would suit well for you.
Of all the contraceptive methods available, only internal and external condoms are the ones that can protect you against any Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
5. Contraceptive methods based on lifestyle
These are the contraception methods that do not involve surgery, implants, devices, shots, and condoms. There are few other ways to avoid pregnancy if followed strictly.
• Fertility Awareness Methods (FAMs)
Natural family planning or the Rhythm method is tracking your ovulation through body temperature, cervical mucus, and calendar. Once you find the days on which you’re fertile you can avoid having sex or use other forms of birth control to prevent pregnancy. FAMs are generally 76-88% effective and have a high failure rate.
• Pull Out Method
This method means what is mentioned in its name. Withdrawal or pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation prevents pregnancy as it keeps the semen away from the vagina. It is 78% effective and does not protect you from STIs.
• Breast Feeding
The Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) can be used when you exclusively breastfeed your baby. Meaning you feed only breast milk to your baby every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours during the night. During the lactating period, ovulation does not happen and you can’t get pregnant when there is no egg.
This method is 98% effective only for the first six months of your baby’s life or until your period returns.
• Abstinence and Outercourse
Abstinence is when you don’t have any kinds of sex (vaginal, oral, or anal). Outercourse is indulging in all sexual activities except vaginal sex. In both methods, sperm cells are kept away from reaching the egg inside the vagina and so, pregnancy cannot happen. Of course, these methods are 100% effective.
Message from Bliss Naturals
The best birth control method is the one that works well for you depending upon your pregnancy goals, lifestyle, frequency of sex, affordability, and convenience of you and your partner. The method which your friends love may be a total failure for you. If you cannot decide talk to your gynaecologist to express your concerns and he/she might suggest the best option accordingly.