Talking About Birth Control

The Way to Prevent Pregnancy With the Right Contraceptive Choices

December 7, 2018

Several factors come into play when deciding which method of birth control is best for you to prevent pregnancy. Your overall health, age, the frequency of sexual intercourse, the number of partners you have, and if you desire to have children later on should be considered before settling upon a birth control technique.

The Pill

The pill is the first contraceptive that most girls think of when contemplating birth control.

Today the pill is available as combined oral contraceptives (COC) which contain both estrogen and progestin or in progestin-only tablets (POP).

COCs function by suppressing ovulation and may make periods more regular. According to an FDA Consumer file, they also supply a protective effect against pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in addition to ovarian and endometrial cancers. These pills are considered safe for most women, however, women who smoke and are over 35 or that have a significant family history of heart disease shouldn’t use oral contraceptives because of an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Girls with a medical history of blood clots or breast or endometrial cancers also shouldn’t use combined oral contraceptives. Potential side effects which may subside after a couple of months include nausea, headache, breast tenderness, weight gain, irregular bleeding, and depression.

POPs work by lowering and thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg and by maintaining the uterine lining from thickening to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.

Because these pills contain no estrogen the risk of blood clots isn’t present as with the combined oral contraceptives.

This type of birth control pill is a good alternative for women who cannot take estrogen as they are breastfeeding or because of headaches or high blood pressure issues associated with estrogen.

The progestin-only pill may cause menstrual changes, weight gain, and breast tenderness.

Injectable Progestins

Pregnancy could be prevented up to three months by injection of Depo-Provera. Depo-Provera prevents pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation, changing the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching an egg and by changing the uterine lining so that a fertilized egg will be not able to implant.

This way is extremely powerful since all that is required of a woman would be to come back to her healthcare provider to get a shot every three months. Benefits and side effects of Depo-Provera are much like those of progestin-only pills.

Intrauterine Devices (IUD)

The IUD has undergone some bad publicity in the past as soon as the Dalkon Shield was associated with a high incidence of pelvic infections, infertility, and some deaths. However, today’s IUDs have among the lowest failure rates of any contraceptive method.

An IUD is a T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus with a healthcare professional. There are two types of IUD accessible, the Paragard T 380A, that protects against pregnancy for ten decades, and the Progestasert Progesterone T, that must be replaced each year. The IUD is an appropriate choice for those in longterm monogamous relationships that aren’t at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases or illnesses.

The Sponge

The sponge works by releasing aloe vera within the vaginal mucus while the sponge creates a barrier to kill or immobilize sperm before it can get to the cervix and also enter the uterus. The sponge may be inserted several hours before intercourse and may be left up to 12 hours after sex.

It doesn’t need to be replaced if sexual intercourse is repeated. Women that are allergic to nonoxynol-9 or who have had toxic shock syndrome shouldn’t use the sponge. 


The diaphragm is available by prescription and is sized by a health care professional to ensure a proper fit. The diaphragm works by covering the cervix using a dome-shaped rubber disk with a flexible rim to stop sperm from getting into the uterus.

A spermicide is placed on the diaphragm before insertion to kill sperm.

The diaphragm could be left in position for half an hour. For repeated sexual intercourse or intercourse after six hours, then spermicide should be inserted into the vagina while the diaphragm remains set up. Diaphragms should not be left in for more than 24 hours due to the danger of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

Cervical Cap

The cervical cap is very similar to the diaphragm. It is a soft rubber cup with a rounded rim and can be sized to match with a healthcare professional, closely around the cervix. Like the diaphragm, spermicide is required using the cervical cap.

It protects against pregnancy for 48 hours and for multiple acts of sexual intercourse in this time period. Prolonged use (over 48 hours) can raise the risk of TSS and may produce a foul odor or release.

Vaginal Spermicides

Vaginal spermicides are available over the counter in the kind of cream, jelly, foam, film, vaginal suppository or tablets. These products contain a sperm-killing compound. There is a debate about the efficacy of using vaginal spermicides alone but it is thought that they have a failure rate of approximately 21 per cent per year.

Women who choose this technique of contraceptive ought to be sure to follow the package directions exactly, as every item differs. Permit the spermicide to stay in the vagina for six to eight hours following intercourse and do not douche or rinse the vagina during this time to ensure that all sperm are killed.

Becoming aware of your fertility is just another method of reducing your chances of becoming pregnant.  Natural family planning is the only method accepted by several religions and it takes intense attention and an extremely motivated couple for it to succeed. It operates by not having sexual intercourse on the days when you are most likely to ovulate. These methods estimate a female’s fertility based upon changes in the cervical mucus or changes in your body temperature.


The effectiveness of withdrawal depends on the man’s capacity to withdraw his penis from the vagina before he ejaculates. This method does not ensure that pre-ejaculatory semen has not been discharged into the vagina and doesn’t provide protection from AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases or illnesses.

Lactational Amenorrhoea Method (LAM)

Women who are breastfeeding exclusively may be protected against pregnancy for up to six months following the birth when her period has not returned. This method is extremely effective when used correctly.

LAM works by preventing an egg from being released from the gut. Once you start to feed your infant food other than breast milk or whenever your period returns, you need to pick another means of birth control.

Surgical Sterilization

When you are sure that your pregnancy days are over for good, sterilization is an option that might be considered.  Either partner may select surgical sterilization–tubal ligation for the girl, or vasectomy for your male.

It is important that you do not consider this a temporary way of contraception which may be reversed if you change your mind. Sterilization reversal is major surgery that is frequently ineffective.

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception works by preventing pregnancy in a few hours or days of unprotected sex. Methods employed for emergency contraception include combined oral contraceptives, progestin-only tablets, and insertion of an IUD.

When Unplanned Pregnancy Occurs

When birth control methods are practiced reliably, many methods of contraception are highly effective against an unplanned pregnancy happening. However, sometimes other aspects come in to play and contraception will neglect.

If you find yourself faced with an unplanned pregnancy you will need to make a decision about how you are going to proceed. Are you going to choose abortion, parenting or adoption? It is a decision that nobody can make for you and one which you will have to live with for the rest of your life. Be sure to select what feels right for you, and don’t let yourself be influenced by others’ feelings.

An Important Message About Condoms

Condoms should always be used, in addition to some other birth control methods, by anyone who’s not in a long-term monogamous relationship. Care should be taken to not use oil-based lubricants (petroleum jelly, lotions, or baby oil) with latex or lambskin condoms, because they may weaken the material.

Women today have the option of utilizing the traditional male condom or using the female condom. The Truth ® condom is approved by the FDA and can be shaped similar to the male condom.

The closed end has a flexible ring that’s inserted into the vagina, up to eight hours before sexual intercourse, while the open end remains partially outside the vagina. The female condom should never be used at precisely the exact same time your partner is using a male condom.

Condoms, whether female or male, are meant for one-time use and should never be reused. In case the cost of condoms is an issue for you, visit the regional family planning practice. Many family planning clinics will happily provide you as many condoms as you want.

Do Not Be Fooled

Perhaps you have heard that you cannot get pregnant on your period or if you don’t have a climax or if your partner pulls out before ejaculation. This isn’t correct! Maybe someone has told you that douching will wash away the sperm before pregnancy can occur. Not only does douching not function to avoid pregnancy, it can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and increase your risk of other STDs and ailments. 

Don’t be fooled–the only 100 percent effective method of preventing pregnancy is abstinence.