“So ladies what birth control method would you pick from below? Any doctors in the house to advice?
How to decide According to experts, with so many options, choosing a form of birth control can be
daunting. However, they say beginning with a few questions like: Do you need to protect against
STDs? How important are convenience and cost? What about effectiveness? Only abstinence is 100 per cent effective, but other methods come close as our effectiveness chart shows in a glance. It is also necessary for individuals to ask their doctors which options are best for them.
Fertility awareness: Also called natural family planning, fertility awareness means avoiding sex when the woman is most fertile. The most reliable way to do this is to watch for changes in cervical mucus and body temperature. To use this method correctly, it’s best to get training from a health care
Spermicide: Spermicide contains a chemical that kills sperm. It comes in the form of foam, jelly, cream, or film that is placed inside the vagina before sex. Some types must be put in place 30 minutes ahead of time. Frequent use may cause tissue irritation, increasing the risk of infections and STDs. Spermicides are most often used along with other birth control methods.
Female condom: The female condom is a thin plastic pouch that lines the vagina and can be put in place up to 8 hours before sex. Users grasp a flexible, plastic ring at the closed end to guide it into position. It’s somewhat less effective than the male condom. It is widely available, protects against STDs, conducts body heat better than a male condom but can be noisy, 21 percent of users get pregnant, not reusable. Should not be used with a male condom, to avoid breakage.
Cervical cap: A cervical cap is similar to a diaphragm, but smaller. The FemCap slips into place over the cervix, blocking entry into the uterus. It is used with spermicide. The failure rate for the cervical cap is 15 per cent for women who have never had children and 30 percent for those who have.
Birth control sponge: The birth control sponge, is made of foam and contains spermicide. It is placed
against the cervix up to 24 hours before sex. The sponge is about as effective as the cervical cap. But unlike the diaphragm or cervical cap, no fitting by a doctor is required.
Birth control pill: The most common type of birth control pill uses the hormones estrogen and progestin to prevent ovulation. When taken on schedule, the pill is highly effective. About 8 per cent of typical users get pregnant, including those who miss doses. Like all hormonal contraceptives, the pill requires a prescription.
Vaginal ring: It is a soft plastic ring that is worn inside the vagina. The ring releases the same hormones as the pill and patch and is just as effective. But it only needs to be replaced once a month.
Birth control shot: The birth control shot, known as Depo-Provera, is a hormonal injection that protects
against pregnancy for three months. For the typical couple, it is more effective than the birth control pill
– only 3 per cent of users get pregnant in a year.
Birth control implant: The birth control implant (Implanon) is a matchstick-sized rod that is placed
under the skin of the upper arm. It releases the same hormone that’s in the birth control shot, but the implant protects against pregnancy for three years. The failure rate is less than 1 per cent.
Intrauterine device (IUD): IUD, a T_shaped piece of plastic that is placed inside the uterus by a doctor.
The copper IUD, ParaGard, works for as long as 12 years. The hormonal IUD, Mirena, must be replaced
after 5 years. Both types make it more difficult for sperm to fertilize the egg. Fewer than eight in 1,000
women get pregnant.
Tubal implants: A newer procedure makes it possible to block the fallopian tubes without surgery. Small implants of metal or silicone are placed inside each tube. Scar tissue eventually grows around the implants and blocks the tubes. Once an X_ray confirms the tubes are blocked, no other form of birth control is needed.
Diaphragm: The diaphragm is a rubber dome that is placed over the cervix before sex. It is used with a
spermicide. Effectiveness compares to the male condom – 16 per cent of average users get pregnant, including those who don’t use the device correctly every time.
Tubal ligation: If you are sure you won’t want biological children in the future, you may be ready for permanent birth control. The traditional method for women is called tubal ligation or “having your tubes tied.” A surgeon closes off the fallopian tubes, preventing eggs from making their journey out of the ovaries.
Vasectomy: Besides condoms, a vasectomy is the only birth control option available to men. It involves
surgically closing the vas deferens – the tubes that carry sperm from the testes, through the reproductive system. This prevents the release of sperm but doesn’t interfere with ejaculation.
Birth control patch: Women who have trouble remembering a daily pill may want to consider the birth control patch. The Ortho Evra patch is worn on the skin and changed only once a week for three weeks with a fourth week that is patch-free. The patch releases the same types of hormones as the birth control pill and is just as effective.
Withdrawal: This is the age-old method that relies on the man withdrawing his penis from the vagina
before ejaculation. Newer reviews show that when it’s done correctly every time, about 4 per cent of
users get pregnant in a year. With more typical use, about 18 per cent get pregnant.
Options for older women: Age and lifestyle are important factors in choosing a form of birth control.
If you’re over age 35 and smoke or are obese, the combination birth control pill, patch, and ring are not
recommended. It is best to consult your doctor about safe alternatives. If you’re approaching the age of menopause, the birth control shot has an added benefit: It may relieve some of the symptoms of premenopause.
Least Effective Methods: Without using any form of birth control, 85 per cent of sexually active couples
will get pregnant within a year. Even the least effective birth control options reduce that number considerably.
Most Effective Methods: Although barrier methods, such as the condom or diaphragm, are moderately
effective with typical patterns of use, hormonal contraceptives have a better track record for effectiveness. There are also several options for couples that prefer the lowest possible odds of
getting pregnant. Two of these are reversible – the IUD and hormonal implant. Of course, the only birth
control method that is 100 per cent effective is abstinence.”
(Excerpts from The Guardian)
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