Know your options: 6 of the best contraception/Birth control options for women

Getting frisky doesn’t have to be a risky business – not when there are many contraception methods out there to suit different needs.

Contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy and some types will also protect you from sexually transmissible infections (STIs). You might find yourself asking: Which method will be best for me and my lifestyle? Which method protects against STIs?

It can be difficult to decide which birth control method is best because of the wide variety of options available. The best method is one that you will use consistently, is acceptable to you and your partner, and does not cause bothersome side effects. Other factors to consider include:

●How effective is the method?

●Is it convenient? Do I have to remember to use it? If so, will I remember to use it?

●Do I have to use/take it every day?

●Is this method reversible? Can I get pregnant immediately after stopping it?

●Will this method cause me to bleed more or less? Will the bleeding I have while using the method be predictable or not predictable?

●Are their side effects or potential complications?

●Is this method affordable?

●Does this method protect against sexually transmitted diseases?

●Will it be difficult to discontinue this method if I choose to do so?

No method of birth control is perfect. You must balance the advantages and disadvantages of each method and then choose the method that you will be able to use consistently and correctly.

1.     Intrauterine Device (IUD)

This small, T-shaped device is made from made of a material possessing progesterone hormone or plastic and copper and is fitted inside a woman’s uterus by a trained healthcare provider. It’s a long-acting and reversible method of contraception, which can stay in place for three to 10 years, depending on the type. Some IUDs contain hormones that are gradually released to prevent pregnancy. The IUD can also be effective emergency contraception if fitted by a healthcare professional within five days (120 hours) of having unprotected sex. IUDs having coppers are 99% effective and the ones containing hormones are 99.8% effective, so you’re about as protected as you possibly can be by a contraceptive method. However, irregular bleeding and spotting occur in the first six months of use; requires a trained healthcare provider for insertion and removal and does not protect against STIs.

2.     Internal (female) condoms

Female condoms (also known as internal condoms) are a barrier-type of contraceptive that is inserted into the vagina prior to having sex. Female condoms protect against unintentional pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). People may appreciate sex more with a female condom because they feel safe knowing that they are in control of their sexual and reproductive health. Female condoms require practice to be inserted properly

3.     The Contraceptive Injection

A contraceptive injection includes a synthetic version of the hormone progestogen. It is given into a woman’s buttock or the upper arm, and over the next 12 weeks, the hormone is slowly released into her bloodstream. This injection lasts for up to three months; is very effective; permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex.

However, this injection may cause disrupted periods or irregular bleeding; it requires keeping track of the number of months used and does not protect against STIs.

4.     Emergency Contraception Pill (The ‘Morning After Pill)

The Emergency Contraception Pill can be used to prevent pregnancy after sex if contraception wasn’t used, a condom has broken during sex, or a woman has been sexually assaulted.

While it is sometimes called the ‘Morning After’ pill, it can actually be effective for up to five days after having unprotected sex. The sooner it is taken, the more effective it is; when taken in the first three days after sex, it prevents about 85% of expected pregnancies.

This pill contains special doses of female hormones. Any woman can take the emergency contraception pill, even those who cannot take other oral contraceptive pills. It can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy or chemist without a prescription.

The common side effects of the emergency contraceptive include nausea, and vomiting and the next period may be early or delayed. Emergency contraception does not protect against STIs.

5.     Diaphragm

A diaphragm is a little, soft silicone dome placed inside the vagina to act as a barrier for the sperm from entering the uterus. The diaphragm needs to stay in place for at least six hours after sex. After six – but no longer than 24 hours after sex – it needs to be taken out and cleaned.

While you can use the same diaphragm more than once, and it can last up to two years if you look after it, using a diaphragm can take practice and requires keeping track of the hours inserted. The diaphragm works fairly well if used correctly, but not as well as the pill or an IUD.

6.     Contraceptive Ring

This method of contraception consists of a relaxed plastic ring constantly releasing hormones in the vagina of the woman. It stays in place for three weeks, and then you remove it, take a week off then pop another one in. The ring releases the hormones oestrogen and progestogen. These are the same hormones used in the combined oral contraceptive pill but at a lower dose.

You can insert and remove a vaginal ring yourself; this contraceptive method has few side effects, still allows control of your periods and allows your fertility to return quickly when the ring is removed. However, it is not suitable for women who can’t take oestrogen-containing contraception; you need to remember to replace it at the right time and does not protect against STIs.

Written by: Aditi Gupta

Author’s bio:
A vivacious and lively girl living in Delhi, on her voyage for exploration of colours in life. A glimpse of what she does: Read, write, eat, Repeat!

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