Contraceptives or Birth control are methods or devices used to prevent pregnancy. Some methods, like condoms, also prevent transmission of STDs. There is a wide range of contraceptives available thanks to comprehensive research and study. The most effective among these is sterilization (vasectomy in men, tubal ligation in women) and Intra Uterine devices (IUDs) with a success rate of 99.8%. Hormonal contraceptives such as pills, patches, injections, barrier mechanisms like condoms and diaphragms are widely used all over the world.
However, studies and a general consensus have shown that the most commonly used method of contraception is the male condom and the ‘morning-after’ pill. Each accounts to 25% of most commonly used contraception methods.
But what you should know is that not all contraceptives provide protection against Sexually Transmissible Infections or STIs. Barrier contraceptives such as male and female condoms are the best bet against STIs. Over 50% of STI complaints are from those aged 20 to 29 years. Although abstinence is the only method that offers 100% protection against STIs and pregnancy, it can’t be considered as a viable option.
Emergency contraception is, in a matter of speaking, a curative method. It is used to prevent an unplanned pregnancy after you have had sex without the use of contraceptives. The iPill or the ‘morning after ’ pill are examples of emergency contraception.
Here are some posts to help you understand the contraceptive options better and make an informed decision.
They are a type of barrier contraception used by men. Made of a thin sheath of rubber or latex a condom needs to be rolled over an erect penis before intercourse to avoid unwanted pregnancy or transmission of STDs.
How to put on a condom
10 condom mistakes you could be making
Could you be allergic to condoms
Myths about condoms busted
How to take off a condom the right way
Can a condom be used twice?
How Indians choose their condoms?
The most comprehensive condom guide
Can a condom give you better erection
Female condoms: A female condom is thin and a bag like structure that needs to be worn by the woman, much thinner than the latex condoms they are made up of a material called nitrile.
Female condoms: How to use them
How do female condoms work
Emergency contraceptive pills
These are also called the morning-after pills and should be consumed within 72 hours of unprotected sex (in some cases within 48 hours). They primarily prevent a fertilised egg from implanting on the walls of the uterus.
What you need to know about the morning-after pills
Are morning-after pills safe?
Can an emergency contraceptive prevent pregnancy?
Are there any side-effects of emergency contraceptives?
Why young men are clueless about emergency contraceptives?
Birth control or contraceptive pills
People often get confused between a morning-after pill and birth control pill. While a morning after pill can come to your rescue soon after an episode of unprotected sex, birth control pills are prescription drugs, which when taken regularly can prevent the release of an ovum from the ovaries.
Birth control: Dos and Don’ts
Prescription birth control – the pill
Can oral contraceptives decrease libido in women?
Consequences of missing birth control pills few times a month
Five myths about birth control pills you ought to know
Benefits of oral contraceptive pills
Birth control pills – effectiveness, side-effects and health risks
Side-effects of birth control pills
Tubal ligation: This is a form of permanent contraception method offered to women wherein the fallopian tubes are tied up or blocked through a surgical procedure to prevent a fertilized egg from entering the uterus for implantation.
Tubectomy – a permanent method of contraception
Vasectomy: This is a form of permanent contraception for men. A small incision is made in the scrotum and both the Vas Deferens, the ducts that carry the sperms, are closed through a surgical procedure.
Vasectomy – a permanent method of contraception for men
Beads method: This method is a traditional family planning method where beads are coloured in red, white and brown. The rule is to start counting your days starting with red beads from the first day of your period. When the ring moves to the white beads pregnancy is likely and when it is on the brown beads your chances of pregnancy is minimal.
Here is why counting the beads is a novel method of family planning
Vaginal bolus or tablets: These bolus or tablets needs to be inserted inside the vagina 20 to 30 minutes before intercourse. When inserted, it melts and forms a creamy layer that contains spermicide that kills sperms that come in contact with it.
Copper T: Known as an intra-uterine device, it is placed in the uterus of the woman through a medical procedure. It prevents a fertilised egg from implanting itself on the wall of the uterus by releasing certain hormones and averting pregnancy for up to five years.
DMPA injections: Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate or DMPA injections are injectable contraceptives that contain the hormone progesterone and are considered to be more effective than oral contraceptives. They retard the process of ovulation and can provide protection for up to three months.
Vaginal ring: Once inserted into the vagina, it can prevent pregnancy for up to 21 days. Made up of a soft plastic, it is placed inside the vagina and releases estrogen and progesterone that prevent ovulation. It also makes the lining of the womb thinner, making it difficult for an egg to implant on the wall. You will need to replace the ring every 21 days.
Stop-start method: This method simply means pulling out of the act when the man is at the point of reaching climax. This ensures that he doesn’t ejaculate inside the woman, so sperms don’t reach deep inside the vagina and fertilise an ovum.
Is withdrawal method effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy?
Can pre-cum or pre-ejaculation lead to unwanted pregnancy?