Birth Control Methods

Birth control pills

Birth control pills

At times, pregnancy may be unwanted or undesired by a couple or may be even one among the two. Rather than putting yourself through the complexities of an abortion, it is easier to prevent you from the physical and emotional pain and suffering that accompany the procedure.

Birth Control methods may ne natural and even artificial. Depending on your comfort, you may use either of the two.

Natural birth control

  • Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)

It includes knowing your menstrual cycle. To avoid pregnancy, women can abstain from having intercourse during the fertile days (approximately 7 – 10 days).. A woman typically experiences 3-5 days of menstruation and it is accompanied by a period in which there is no vaginal discharge. This is followed by a phase in which one sees mucus discharge which tends to offer a sticky and slippery sensation. The fertility window opens with the first sensation of the discharge and continues till it has dried up completely.

However, this method may be inappropriate for those who have irregular menstrual cycles or are unable to determine their fertile period. Also, abstaining from sexual intercourse may be challenging for couples and lacks the ability to offer protection from sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Withdrawal Method

This method includes the withdrawal of the man’s penis from the vagina just before he ejaculates. Consensus among both the partners is essential since chances are one in five people might experience unplanned pregnancy.

Sperm may be present in the pre- seminal fluid. Without sufficient control and practice it is difficult for your man to be a pro at it. Again, this does not provide protection from STDs.

Artificial Birth Control Methods

  • Condoms: The good old condom offers a 98% protection from pregnancy. Worn around the penis, the latex acts as a barrier and prevents the ejaculated fluid from reaching the vagina. Lamb skins tend to be less effective. Female condoms are placed inside the vagina and can be placed upto 8 hours before the intercourse.
  • Emergency Contraceptive pill: Here, the woman needs to have a pill within 72 hours of having unprotected sex. Chances are, your next menstrual cycle may get delayed or might start early.
  • Combination/ Progestin Pills: Pills need to be taken around the same time every day. Not only does it protect from unplanned pregnancy, it regularises menstrual cycles.
  • Spermicides: These come in a different forms, creams, gels or foams. Spermicides are inserted into the vagina and can either be used singly or in combination with other methods.
  • Vaginal (Nuva) Ring: The ring needs to be placed inside the vagina for a period of around 2 weeks. Thereafter one might get it out to resume the normal cycle.
  • Diaphragm: This is fitted inside the woman’s cervix by the doctor. Used with a spermicide, it prevents the sperm from fertilising the egg.
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs): This involves a surgically placed T- shaped copper device inside the uterus. It releases hormones that prevents the sperm from reaching the egg. You can remove it after a certain period of usage (can last upto 10 years) and is 99% effective.
  • Vasectomy: This involves surgically blocking the fallopian tube from carrying eggs for fertilisation. However, this is a permanent method and one cannot ever expect to be pregnant once the procedure is done.

Anushree Ghosh

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