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World Population Day: 8 methods of contraception you should know about

Here is all that you need to know about the different contraceptive methods with their pros and cons.

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : July 4, 2017 12:45 PM IST

World Population Day is celebrated on 11th July.

Population is a big problem in India, with 1.25 billion people as per the 2013 census we are definitely over populated. A good way to reduce this burden on the country is to practice safe sex and use contraceptives. If you are wondering what type of contraception is right for you, here's everything you need to know.

What is contraception?

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Contraception helps ensures safe sex practices and delay a pregnancy, especially if you are not ready for it yet. There are various methods of contraception to choose from, but choosing a method that is right for you needs a little planning and some knowledge about the same before you opt for it. Whether it is to delay a pregnancy or opt not to have a baby.

Types of contraceptive


Condoms are one of the most easily available and convenient form of contraceptives of all time. They are made up of a thin sheath of rubber or latex which is rolled over an erect penis during the time of sex. This acts as a barrier that helps prevent unwanted pregnancies and transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases through an intercourse. A condom fits snugly on the penis and prevents sperms from entering into the vagina thereby preventing a pregnancy. Apart from this, it also restricts the transmission of STDs and arrests chances of other forms of infections too.

Who can opt for it: Any healthy individual who wants to have a healthy sexual life and doesn t suffer from any other health ailments that prevents sexual intercourse can use condoms as a form of contraception. You may also like to read about flavoured, ribbed or dotted which type of condom is right for you?

The advantages:

  • A condom is readily available anywhere and at times stands to be a life-saviour in times of emergencies.
  • It is the most cost-effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and also prevents transmission of various STDs including the dreaded HIV/AIDS. When used properly, condoms have a 98% success rate! However, there are times they can fail.
  • It aids in controlling premature ejaculation.

The disadvantages

  • Though it seems to be an easy option of contraception, it calls for little effort for optimum success. Before intercourse, the male partner needs to spend some time in wearing it the right way to avoid failure during the performance.
  • Not wearing a condom the right way can lead to tears or breakage that could lead to exact opposite results of what you expect out of using a condom.

Copper T

Copper T is one of the most effective and long lasting forms of contraception for women that help in birth control without any adverse side-effects to watch out for. It belongs to the class of intrauterine contraceptive devices or IUCDs that means it is placed in the uterus of the woman to help her prevent an unwanted pregnancy or plan a pregnancy accordingly. This option of contraceptive is often given to women after they deliver their first baby and want to maintain a time gap before planning for the second baby. Inserting a copper T is a medical process wherein a trained doctor would implant the device into the uterus of a woman. You may also like to read about all you need to know about the Copper-T

There are two variations of the device one type that works by preventing the implantation of fertilized egg in the uterus and in the other variation after the implantation of the device there is a constant release of hormones in the body that prevents the attachment of the fertilized egg to the wall of the uterus. The device can effectively provide protection for up to 10 years.

When one decides to conceive or starts planning for a baby again, the device can be removed through a medical process to enable the same.

Who can opt for it: Any woman who has birthed a child previously and is looking for an effective long-lasting contraceptive plan can go for it. Keep in mind that you do not need to take other hormonal medications if you have the device implanted. Women planning to opt for copper T should not have any history or existing pelvic inflammatory disease.

The advantages

  • Implanting copper T does not interfere with one s sex life, so one can enjoy the pleasures of a relationship without fearing accidental conception. Its failure rate is considered to be around one percent as compared to other modes of contraception.
  • The effect of the device starts immediately and ensures protection for a longer period of time.

The disadvantages

  • It is advisable for women using copper T to practise monogamy as the device doesn t provide protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Some women after insertion of the device do complain about increased menstrual flow and intermittent spotting.
  • There are chances of experiencing backache and abdominal pain during periods after the insertion of the device.

However, in the majority of cases these side-effects disappear or diminish with the passage of time.

Intra-vaginal bolus

The bolus is a large tablet that is inserted into the vagina manually. Intra-vaginal bolus is an effective, easy and convenient mode of contraception for women. The bolus or the tablet consists of a locally active spermicide called Nonoxynol. To use it the right way the bolus needs to be inserted into the vagina at least 20 to 30 minutes prior to having sex. After insertion the bolus melts and forms a creamy secretion that contains the spermicide. During intercourse, this creamy layer containing the spermicide kills the sperms that come in contact with it.

Who can use it: Usually these contraceptive boluses are found over the counter and are safe to use, however it is wise to first consult a doctor or go for prescription drugs if you chose this mode of contraception.

The advantages

  • It is convenient and easy to use.
  • The spermicide can kill the sperms effectively thus delaying a pregnancy.
  • Since the bolus melts to form a creamy secretion it increases lubrication in the vaginal area reducing pain and discomfort during intercourse.

The disadvantages

  • The intra-vaginal bolus is not a foolproof contraception method.
  • You need to spend considerable time to wait before the bolus liquefies.
  • At times, some women can also be allergic to the medication.

Oral contraceptive pills

Modern day women swear by the advantages and effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills or birth control pills. They are easy to use and serve the purpose of preventing unwanted pregnancy effectively. These pills contain adequate levels of hormones that help to delay the birthing process naturally by acting on certain levels. Regular consumption of birth control pills prevents the release of the ovum from the ovary hence preventing a pregnancy. Some contraceptive pills also secrete a thick cervical mucus that acts as a barrier to the sperms preventing their entry into the uterus. You may also like to read oral contraceptives pills have more benefits than you thought of.

Who can use it: In a general scenario OTC oral contraceptive can be taken by anyone who wants to prevent an accidental pregnancy. However, there are various kinds of pill available in the market. Hence, it is always better to talk to a gynecologist first before choosing one to use. You may also like to read birth control pills effectiveness, side-effects and health risks.

The advantages

  • Regular consumption of these pills can help delay conception and postpone a pregnancy.
  • In some cases, the pills also help to regularize certain hormonal imbalances and menstrual cycle.
  • It is easy and doesn t have any major side-effects.

The disadvantages

  • In some rare cases, the pills could lead to side-effects like nausea, headaches, bloating, etc.
  • Irregularity in consumption can lead to spotting in between menses.
  • It could lead to other physical problem like weight gain and tenderness in the breasts.

DMPA injections

Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate or DMPA injections are injectable contraceptives that contain the hormone progesterone and is given every three months to the woman intramuscularly. The injection is usually given on the upper arm and is considered to be a safe form of contraception.

Who can opt for it: It is usually given to women who had delivered a baby before and are looking for a safe mode of contraception. The effect of this contraception lasts for about three months after which one should opt for the next dose. It is also safe for women who are breastfeeding.

The advantages

  • This form of contraception is said to be more effective than oral pills.
  • Its effectiveness is said to be about 94 percent.

The disadvantages

  • Like other methods of contraception, DMPA injections can also result in nausea, headaches and bloating.
  • Some women might also experience disturbance in regular menstrual pattern after taking the injection.

Emergency contraceptive

These are called the morning after pills that can be taken orally usually after a spontaneous or impulsive intercourse happens between the couple. These are readily available over the counter pills that can prevent an accidental pregnancy when had within a few hours after having a spontaneous intercourse. You may also like to read can emergency contraceptive pills affect your fertility.

The advantages

  • It helps to prevent unscheduled conception.
  • The pill doesn t allow the embedding of the embryo in case it is formed.

The disadvantages

  • If used regularly it could delay or disturb menstruation.
  • It might not be effective if you delay in taking the pill after an intercourse.


This is applicable to men and is a permanent form of contraception. In this process, the doctor makes a small incision in the scrotum and closes both the Vas Deferens, the ducts that carry the sperms. This doesn t interfere with a man s ability to get an erection or hamper his libido or performance. The only difference is that his semen will be devoid of any sperm after a vasectomy. You may also like to read all you need to know about vasectomy.

Who can opt of it: Men who have children can opt for this form of contraception after consulting with the doctor on the same. One needs to check if any pre-existing medical condition could make this options unviable.

The advantages

  • It is a form of permanent contraception that is highly reliable and also safe.
  • It doesn t affect the sexual life of a man even with though one has to undergo a medical procedure to achieve success.

The disadvantages

  • There could be a mild tenderness for two to three days after the operation.
  • There could be a mild ache and occasional swelling at the site of the operation on the testes.
  • The effect of the surgery doesn t happen immediately. In fact, one has to resort to using condoms at least for the first three months after the surgery.
  • Restoration of Vas Deferens after the surgery is difficult hence one need to be very sure before opting for this type of contraception.
  • This procedure doesn t promise protection from sexually transmitted diseases.

Tubal ligation

This is a process of sterilization performed on women and is also a permanent form of contraception. In this process, the fallopian tubes of a woman are clamped and blocked to prevent the egg from reaching the uterus for fertilization.

Who can opt for it: Women who had children before and do not wish to have children further can opt for this process. Though it is a permanent procedure but one can reverse the process if the patient desires to do so.

The advantages

  • It is a form of permanent contraception that is highly reliable and also safe.
  • It doesn t affect the sexual life of a woman even with though one has to undergo a medical procedure to achieve success. One can resume sexual activity after four to seven days of undergoing the process.

The disadvantages

  • No method of contraception is 100 percent safe, and one percent of women can still become pregnant after undergoing the procedure.
  • It can lead to vaginal bleeding, infection and other allergic reaction among other side effects.

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