Contraception is a method of controlling fertility or birth and preventing pregnancy, when a woman is not ready, or for a couple who are keen on family planning.
Many elements need to be considered by women, men, or couples at any given point in their lifetimes when choosing the most appropriate contraceptive method. These elements include safety, effectiveness, availability (including accessibility and affordability), and acceptability.
In choosing a method of contraception, dual protection from the simultaneous risk for HIV and other STDs also should be considered. Although hormonal contraceptives and IUDs are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, they do not protect against STDs, including HIV.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF CONTRACEPTION?
Long-acting reversible methods
- Hormonal intrauterine contraceptive device (5 years)
- Non- hormonal intrauterine contraceptive device ( 5 years)
- Implant ( 3 years)
Shorter-acting reversible methods
- Contraceptive patch( weekly)
- Birth control pills (monthly)
- Injection ( 3 monthly)
- Ella (pill)
WHAT IS IUD?
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, T-shaped piece of flexible plastic that is placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of IUDs available: hormonal and copper.
IUDs are extremely effective in preventing pregnancy (98-99%) by several different mechanisms. Both types of IUDs physically interfere with sperm so it cannot reach the egg for fertilization.
The biggest benefit to getting an IUD is that you don’t have to worry about birth control for 3 to a maximum of 10 years, depending on the type of IUD. This option caters to women who have busy schedules or often forget to take their birth control pills on time.
WHAT IS IMPLANT/IMPLANONS?
The implant is a tiny rod that is inserted under the skin of your upper arm. The implant releases progestin, a hormone that keeps your ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens your cervical mucus—which helps block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. It is 91-97% effective in preventing pregnancy.
BIRTH CONTROL PILLS/PATCH WORKS TOO!
Birth control pills are pills with hormones that come in a pack, and you take 1 pill daily. The pill is safe, affordable, and effective if you always adhere to time and compliance. Besides preventing pregnancy, the pill has lots of other health benefits, too.
The transdermal contraceptive patch is a safe, simple, and affordable birth control method that you wear on the skin of your abdomen, upper arm, buttocks, or back. Put a new patch every week for 3 weeks from the beginning of your menstrual cycle, and it releases hormones that prevent pregnancy. Then you get a week off before you repeat the cycle.
BIRTH CONTROL INJECTIONS!
The depo shot (AKA Depo-Provera) is an injection you get once every 3 months and is vastly used by many women nowadays. It’s a safe, convenient, and private birth control method that works really well if you always get it on time and is 91-95% effective.
WHAT ABOUT EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION?
Emergency contraception (EC) can prevent up to over 95% of pregnancies when taken within 5 days after intercourse. EC can be used in the following situations: unprotected intercourse, concerns about possible contraceptive failure, incorrect use of contraceptives, and sexual assault if without contraception coverage.
LACTATIONAL AMENORRHEA METHOD
The Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) can be used as birth control for women who have recently had a baby and are breastfeeding when three conditions are met:
1) amenorrhea (not having any menstrual periods after delivering a baby),
2) fully or nearly fully breastfeeding, and
3) less than 6 months after delivering a baby. It is a temporary method of birth control, and another birth control method must be used when any of the three conditions are not met.
- Male condom- is a form of male contraceptives with no side effects, unless you are allergic to rubber. It also helps in preventing STDs and HIV transmission.
- Female condom- is synthetic latex/ latex that is put within the female vagina to create a barrier to prevent semen from getting into the womb.
- Spermicides- using spermicide alone is not the best method to prevent pregnancy and it does not help in preventing STDs and spread of HIV. Spermicides also cause irritation to the vagina when used many times.
- Sponges- is made out of soft plastic and spermicide, acts a barrier deep inside the vagina, covering the cervix to prevent the semen from getting through.
- Understanding monthly fertility pattern
- Provided you have a regular menstrual cycle
Coitus interruptus/ pull out the method
- Is a withdrawal method, to prevent the semen from entering the vagina, thus avoiding implantations and pregnancy. Is it the most used method as it is free, with no side effects
- However, the efficiency of this method, if not careful, may not prevent pregnancy and also does not help in preventing STDs and HIV.
Permanent contraception/ sterilisation
- Permanent contraception or as sterilisation, is a method of irreversible contraception.
- For men, a vasectomy is done, and tubal ligations are done for women
Commonly asked questions
Questions #1: Who can be on birth control?
Answer: Any woman of reproductive age and is sexually active can be on birth controls.
Questions #2: Are birth control harmful?
Answer: Any birth control may come with minor side effects, but usually differs from patient to patient. Most birth controls are safe to use and the effect is reversible and the patient may choose to stop at any time.
Questions #3: Will birth control affect my chances of getting pregnant in the future?
Answer: All method of birth control except sterilisation is completely reversible and can be stopped as soon as the woman plans to have another baby. Time of conception may vary after the birth control is stopped, However, there are no long-lasting side effects to fertility that is caused by any of the birth controls.
Questions #4: Will it hurt to have sexual intercourse after an IUD insertion.
Answer: You might be a little sore post the procedure of putting in an IUD, but no pain will be experienced during intercourse after that.
Questions #5: Does the long term use of birth control cause cancer?
Answer: Birth controls do not cause cancer, however, it is contraindicated for patients who already have existing cancer, such as in breast cancer/ endometrial cancer.