There are different kinds of methods that can prevent a woman from getting pregnant, but not all methods are suited for everybody. Therefore it is important to choose the method that is suitable for you, and always remember that some contraceptives are more reliable than others. If artificial methods do not suit you, consider natural family planning. Always consult your doctor on this.
Barrier devices such as condoms, diaphragms and caps, physically prevent sperm cells from reaching and fertilizing an egg. They work best when used together with a chemical spermicide, as there is always a slight risk of sperm getting past the barrier.
Other contraceptives like pills, injections and subcutaneous implants prevent ovulation and therefore prevent conception. Technically, intrauterine devices (IUD’s), such as “Copper-T”, do not stop contraception but prevent a fertilized egg from being implanted in the womb.
Kinds of Contraceptives:
- Cervical cap and diaphragm – both devices block the entry of sperm to the uterus. Users need to be fitted by a doctor or nurse and taught insertion and removal. Reliability is good when used with a spermicide and left in place for about eight hours after intercourse.
- Vaginal Sponge – a modern version of an ancient idea uses a disc of polyurethane foam impregnated with spermicide. Sponges are disposable but need to be left in for six hours after intercourse. They are not very effective.
- Spermicides –are available as creams, pessaries, foams or gels. They destroy sperm chemically and most kill the AIDs virus. On their own they are not very effective, but work well with most condoms, diaphragms and caps.
- Intrauterine Device (IUD) – a small plastic and metal device placed in the womb provides extremely reliable contraception. Drawbacks can include heavy periods and an increased risk of infection, so not generally advised for women who have not had children. Doctor or nurse must do the fitting.
- Condom – latex rubber condoms are simple, safe and effective, particularly if used with spermicide. They also offer the best protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Men may find sensation is reduced, and some couples feel condoms interfere with spontaneity.
- Female Condom – one of the newer barrier methods uses a tube of polyurethane plastic held in place by flexible rings to line the vagina. It is bulkier than the male condom but does not require spermicide and can be inserted any time before intercourse. Reliability is as good as for the male condom.
- Contraceptive Pill – oral contraceptives contain female sex hormones in doses that present ovulation. Taken regularly, they provide outstanding protection, but there are long and short-term side effects and users need regular medical checkups. Various types are available to meet individual needs.
- Contraceptive injections – depending on the drug brand, injections of synthetic progesterone can be given every 8 to 12 weeks. Like the pill, they prevent ovulation and are highly effective. It is suitable for women who cannot remember to take a pill everyday.
- Implants – soft tubes that slowly release synthetic progesterone are inserted under the skin of the upper arm under local anesthetic. The hormone makes a womb less likely to accept a fertilized egg and may also stop ovulation. The contraceptive effect can last five years. The procedure takes ten minutes and no stitches are needed. However, many women suffer side effects such as irregular bleeding, headaches and nausea. Removal can sometimes be difficult.
- Contraceptive Patch – this patch is placed on the arm or abdomen to prevent ovulation. Use this if you doesn’t like to take pills. The patch needs to be changed every week. It has 99% effectiveness. Pros: You can do regular activities while wearing this. Cons: It is not good for women who smokes, those with history of blood clots, stroke and heart problems. It may also cause skin rashes.
- Progestin-only contraceptives or mini-pill – it thickens cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to get through. It stops ovulation in about half of menstrual cycles. It has 98% effectiveness. Advisable for women who are breastfeeding. Pros: It will not affect milk supply. Easily available. Cons: Regular visit to you OB-gyne check-ups is recommended to see how body responds to it.
Other Method to Prevent Pregnancy:
- Vasectomy – is a small cut made in the scrotum to cut tubes that carry sperm from the testicles, this will leave the man’s semen free of sperm. This is ideal for men who don’t plan to have child anymore. Effectiveness of this method is 99 to 99.5%. Cons: Pain after operation
- Bilateral Tubal Ligation – fallopian tubes are cut to prevent the egg from meeting sperm. Effectiveness is from 99 to 99.5%. Pros: almost a permanent method of birth control. Cons: there is discomfort and pain after surgery the surgical procedure. There is a danger that the cut tubes become connected again according to doctors our cells have certain magnetism so it is possible that the cut tubes can reconnect naturally. This may result in ectopic pregnancy.
Things to consider when choosing a contraceptive:
- Some pills have side effects, some pills are not advisable if you are smoking or have high blood pressure.
- Barrier methods of contraception can provoke cystitis. Example of barrier contraceptive is Condom.
- How often do you have sex?
- How important is not getting pregnant to you.
- Is it convenient for you to go for a regular consultation to your doctor? Taking of pill require a regular consultation to your doctor.
Note: Before choosing what kind of contraceptive to use, it is best to consult with your doctor so that you will know what is the best kind of contraceptive to use for your condition.
Reminder When Taking Contraceptive Pill:
Oral contraceptives work best if you take them at the same time each day. For the progesterone-only pill (mini-Pill), if you are more than three hours late, you are effectively starting over again and you will need to use some other form of contraception for the next 7 days to be safe.
Timing is more flexible with combined oestrogen-and-progesterone pills. If you are more than 12 hours late, take pill as soon as you remember, and take the next pill at the correct time. Use an additional form of barrier contraception, such as condoms or a diaphragm, for the next 7 days.
Contraceptive Pill Side Effects:
- Weight gain
- Water Retention
Note: If it persist it is advisable to change to different kind of pill or to an alternative kind of contraception.
More Serious Side- Effect of Contraceptive Pills:
- Increased tendency to blood clotting that can increase the risk of leg vein and lung thrombosis.
- High blood can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Note: Non smoking women under 35 have a very small percentage of risk from taking oestrogen containing pills. Risk increases with age, smoking and obesity. It is also important to know that the higher the oestrogen content, the more likely the side effects are; so ask your doctor to give you a low oestrogen pill if possible. Another research show that oestrogen containing pill are associated with an incidence of breast and cervical cancer, especially on women who are taking this when they are very young.