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Birth Control

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Birth control, also known as contraception, is designed to prevent pregnancy. Deciding when to start using birth control and choosing a method that will work for you is an important decision. Birth control methods may work in a number of different ways. Planning, provision and use of birth control is called family planning. Birth control methods have been used since ancient times, but effective and safe methods of birth control became available in the 20th century only.

What is the need of birth control or contraception?

To have sex or not is a personal decision that entirely depends upon the choice of an individual. Sex is healthy and enjoyable while it is also associated with many risks.  Protection needs to be used whenever you are sexually active to prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Sex is a very toughest decision in the life of teens, because if they decide to have sex then they must also be ready to take the responsibility of taking the adverse effects.

The contraception not only prevents the unwanted pregnancy but it also protects from the severe STDs.

What should you know about contraception?

You should be aware of the following:

  • Options of the contraception available
  • Which method may be best suitable for you
  • Is your partner involved with this method?
  • Where do I need to go to get the method?
  • What is the cost of the method?
  • How to use condoms
  • How to use a combination of contraception methods to avoid pregnancy as well as STDs

The birth control methods work by:

  • Preventing sperm from getting to the eggs (condoms and IUDs)
  • Preventing the woman's ovaries from releasing eggs that could be fertilized

Birth control pills

  • Sterilization (vasectomy or tubectomy) - prevents the male from being able to pregnant a women or prevent a women from getting pregnant

Methods of birth control:

There are many methods of birth control that a woman can use. A talk with the doctor will help you to decide that which method of contraception is best for you:

1. Hormonal methods of contraception

A. Birth control pill or oral contraceptive

Also called “the pill,” contains the hormones estrogen and progestin and is available in different hormone dosages.

How does it work?

It contains the female hormones progestin and estrogen and stops the ovary from releasing an egg. A pill is taken once a day and it comes in 28 days pack. It works by changing the lining of the uterus and making it difficult for the egg to attach to the wall of the uterus. It also thickens the cervical mucus and makes it difficult for the sperm to travel up to the uterus.


  • 92–99% effective
  • Can be taken by healthy, non-smoking women of any age
  • Regulates periods
  • Allows for unplanned sex


  • No protection from STIs, including HIV
  • Smokers over the age of 35 years and those with high BP can’t take it
  • Some side effects like headaches, breast tenderness, bleeding between periods.

B. Transdermal patch

How does it work?

Patch is 4 cm square of polyester containing the female hormones estrogen and progestin. It stops ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus.


  • 92–99.7%effective
  • Shorter and less painful menstrual periods
  • Can wear the same patch for seven days in a row
  • Swallowing not there hence avoids stomach problems


  • No protection against STIs, including HIV
  • Little chances of pass being loose and fall of
  • Possibilities of skin infection

C.  Contraceptive ring

How does it work?

It is inserted into the vagina and releases female hormones estrogen and progestin. It stops ovulation and makes it difficult for the egg to attach to the uterus wall.


  • 92-99% effective
  • Less side effects
  • Allows unplanned sex
  • No need to remove before or after intercourse


  • No protection against STIs, including HIV
  • May slip out

D. Injection

It contains only the female hormone progestin. It prevents ovulation. It must be administered every12 weeks.


  • Each injection last 12weeks
  • Only you are aware of it and nobody else does
  • Reversible


  • No protection against STIs, including HIV
  • Side effects like headaches, weight changes, menstrual pain etc.

2.   Barrier methods of contraception

A. Condoms

They are called barrier methods of birth against HIV and other STDs. This method is 100% effective because they put up a barrier on the chances of pregnancy and STDs by preventing the sperms from reaching the ova to fertilize it. Male condoms are inexpensive and easy to get without a prescription. Female condoms cost more than male condoms and can be difficult to use properly. Female condoms cost more than male condoms and can be difficult to use properly. Condoms can only be used once.

B. Diaphragm

Also called cervical caps, they block the sperms from entering the cervix and reaching the egg. Before sexual intercourse, you use them with Spermicides.

C. Sponge

It is made out of polyurethane foam and contains the spermicide nono-xynol-9. They are very good barriers and can be used for more than one act in 24 hours.

D. Spermicides

They are the chemicals that kill sperm or make the sperm unable to move towards the egg. They are available in different forms and are very 71-82% effective.

E.  IUD: it is a small plastic T-shaped device that is placed inside the uterus by a doctor. It contains the hormone progesterone; it prevents ovulation and thickens the mucus, preventing the sperms from entering the egg. It is 98% effective technique. It can remain inserted for one year.

F.  Other methods:

Other methods like the abstinence or avoiding sex, sterilization and withdrawal methods can also be employed to prevented pregnancy and STD. Sterilization method is 99% effective while withdrawal is not that safe option of birth control.

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