Seeking to take control of when you want to get pregnant or looking to avoid sexually transmitted infections (STDs) without compromising on your sex life?
Then you don’t have to go beyond.
Read the below list of popular birth control methods that millions of couples worldwide use to keep pregnancy at bay.
Continuous abstinence: This is the only 100% foolproof method. It means no sex – vaginal, anal or oral at any time.
Rhythm method: Generally, women with regular menstrual cycle are most fertile five days before and three days after ovulation. Couples should avoid sexual intercourse during these days.
Barrier methods: Following techniques are used to prevent meeting of sperm with the female egg:
- Contraceptive sponge which is a soft device made of polyurethane containing a spermicide that kills sperm before they reach egg. This has to be inserted before sex and taken out later by gently pulling the loop given.
- Female condom which are made of flexible rubber and covered with lubricant. This is to be worn by the female inside vagina.
- Male condom is a sheath made of latex or polyurethane and is placed over erect penis to block sperm entering into vagina.
Hormonal methods obstruct normal ovulation or fertilization to prevent pregnancy. The most common component in all hormonal methods is a combination of progestin and estrogen.
- Oral contraceptives (OCs) are small pills containing a combination of hormones progestin and estrogen. When taken daily, OCs stop ovaries from releasing the egg. These are over-the-counter medicines and there are plenty of oral contraceptive brands available in the market, speak to your gynecologist which one’s best for you.
- Skin patch worn on upper body, lower abdomen, buttocks or outer arm for at least 3 weeks and release the hormones into bloodstream from where they go to ovaries and interfering with ovulation.
- Injection of progestin in arms or hips. It has to be taken once every three months.
- Vaginal ring that is placed into vagina and release hormones to stop ovulation.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are t-shaped devices that are surgically placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy.
- Copper-T releases copper which does not allow fertilized egg to implant into the uterus lining. Once inserted, this can be stayed on for 5 to 10 years.
- Hormonal IUD releases progestin which prevents ovulation. This can be stayed on for up to 5 years.
Sterilization for those who wish to stay childless or don’t want more children. In females, the fallopian tubes can be cut, tied or sealed through surgery. This will stop the movement of eggs from ovaries to uterus. Males can undergo vasectomy that keeps sperm from entering penis.
Morning after pills act as emergency contraceptive if a woman had unprotected vaginal sex. These have to be consumed within 72 hours of unprotected sex and are available as OTC for those above 17 years of age.
The choice of a birth control method depends on your overall health, sex frequency, number of sex partners, what are your thoughts on having children now or in future, possible side effects and your comfort level.
Any of the above birth control methods work effectively only when used correctly every time one has sex. It is best to seek a doctor’s opinion on which birth control method you should use and what’s the right way to use it.