Birth control refers to any type of device, method, or medicine used to prevent pregnancy. Most birth control measures are designed for women to use but there are a few products and procedures for men too. There are multiple birth control options available in the market and they work in various ways.
Among a range of birth control options, some products are ideal for preventing unplanned pregnancies while others are simply easy to use. Alternatively, there are contraceptives that work well during menstruation and birth control pills that are low in hormones. Following are the most common methods, devices, and techniques concerning birth control.
Low maintenance implants
Birth control implants and IUDs are low maintenance. Implants last up to five years while the intrauterine device can prevent pregnancy up to 12 years.
Used on a schedule
Birth control shots, a vaginal ring, patches, and pills must be used on a schedule and are not that effective in comparison to implants and devices. The schedule will vary on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis depending on the product.
Condoms, internal condoms, diaphragm, sponges, cervical caps, and spermicide are products that must be used every single time to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. The effectiveness of the technique will vary, with condoms being the most effective of the lot.
Either partner can opt for a more permanent solution that includes sterilization (tubal litigation) or a vasectomy. A vasectomy is performed on men while tubal litigation is done for women. Of the two, a vasectomy is a cheaper option.
While most of the contraceptives and methods are effective, it is always a good idea to keep emergency contraceptive pills handy. These pills can prevent a pregnancy within the next five days of unprotected intercourse.
Important points to consider before using birth control
Your relationship, age, and health are some of the primary factors to consider before taking up birth control measures.
Birth control may not be a permanent option for many couples, at least not up to a certain age. This is why one must opt for devices and procedures that are reversible in the future for a planned pregnancy. One should keep in mind that only sterilization and vasectomy are permanent methods of birth control.
Medications and medical procedures will have some side effects. Birth control pills contain hormones like progesterone and estrogen. It’s important to discuss the effect of these pills on natural hormone levels in the body and understand what should be done in case there is an imbalance. Side effects may be visible or internal depending on the dosage and frequency of the pills.
Protection against STDs
Among the many forms of pregnancy prevention, only male and female condoms offer better protection from STDs. Though the risk of contracting an infection is low with partners who are in a monogamous relationship, it is advisable to use a new condom always with unknown partners to significantly reduce the risk.
Price and affordability
One of the major factors to consider is price, as not all forms of pregnancy planning is cost-effective. Birth control implants and IUDs can be expensive. Condoms, internal condoms, and spermicides are cheaper alternatives in the short term, but they must be bought and stocked frequently. Vasectomy and tubal litigation are the most expensive procedures for pregnancy planning and they are non-reversible.
There are a few benefits to using contraceptives and other forms of birth control apart from the most obvious reason. Some contraceptives result in lighter menstrual cycles, reduce the risk of infections, and also help reduce the risk of developing some types of cancers. The benefits may influence the type of birth control one chooses after taking into account their personal preferences and lifestyle choices.
Effectiveness of methods
Some forms of pregnancy planning include the withdrawal or pull out method, and outercourse. These methods may not be necessarily effective as they require immense self-control and awareness during intercourse.
Mutual consent and understanding is crucial for both partners when it comes to the use of birth control. One must discuss and consider their partner’s personal preferences for contraceptives and devices to prevent unplanned pregnancies. If a medical professional is involved, it is advisable that you discuss any issues with your partner and come to a consensus.
Birth control procedures can be expensive. But there are general insurance policies, state health insurance plans, and Medicaid options that help pay for the medical procedure. One must check with their insurance provider to see if the policies cover these costs. Alternatively, consider health insurance plans that offer comprehensive support for pregnancy planning.