Many married couples at some point of time in their marriage are anxious to start a family. Children in some way fulfill the aspirations of a complete marriage. And of course the male issue is seen as someone who will carry forward the family name. But, having a baby needs proper planning and understanding. You have to be financially sound so that you can bear the cost of raising the child, supporting its education and setting the child up in life.
Some couples don’t want an early or unwanted pregnancy because they want to think it through thoroughly. This certainly doesn’t mean that other couples wouldn’t mind being caught unprepared. But there is an element of planning that needs to go into this decision that will have a decisive effect on their future. A planned pregnancy is what makes good practical sense. Couples need to talk to each other and also consult their family doctor to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Their doctor will suggest various birth control options that they can follow to prevent accidental conception.
What is birth control?
The various methods and devices to prevent accidental pregnancy are known as birth control. The terms contraception or fertility control are alternative terms for birth control. People have been using birth control methods down the ages, but safe and effective methods only became popular in the 20th century. A cheap and fairly effective contraceptive option is condoms. Condoms are protection that work by stopping the sperm getting into the woman’s vagina. But condoms are not 100% foolproof, as there is a risk of wear and tear which can make the situation slightly complicated. Diaphragms and intrauterine devices (IUDs) also work the way as condoms.
There are other methods for preventing pregnancy that include birth control pills. These contain hormones that prevent ovulation. If a woman does not ovulate she cannot get pregnant. Another method includes sterilization, which is a permanent procedure of preventing a woman from getting pregnant or a man from being able to get a woman pregnant.
Are birth control methods safe?
Debates are still going on, but researchers have proved in various studies conducted on couples that birth control methods with the exception of a few are not 100% safe. They have emphasized that the only way to prevent pregnancy and other types of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is for partners to abstain from any physical relation. Since this is not possible, solutions or workarounds need to be figured out.
Now, what is the solution? Below are birth control methods, like birth control pills which can help people avoid an unplanned pregnancy. But, there are also side effects common to these methods.
Also read: Teenage Pregnancy : Stop The Rise!
Birth control pills:
These are regarded as the safest option to prevent pregnancy. Among various contraceptive methods, hormonal contraception is one which is known as “the pill”. Pills are used by women, which they can take orally to prevent pregnancy. These are nearly 100% effective if taken as recommended. However, the birth control pills don’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). If you want to protect yourself from getting pregnant along with a sexually transmitted disease, male latex condoms are the best.
Other types of combined estrogen and progestin hormonal contraception methods include patches and vaginal rings.
How hormonal contraception work?
A Woman’s egg and a man’s sperm play an important role in fertilization process. A woman gets pregnant only when she releases an egg from her ovary (the organ that holds her eggs) and is fertilized by a man’s sperm. When the fertilized egg attaches to the inside of a woman’s uterus, it receives nourishment and develops into a baby. Basically, the release of eggs, called ovulation, depend on the hormones in the woman’s body. This prepares the body to accept the fertilized egg.
Hormonal contraceptives include birth pills, which contain a small amount of man-made estrogen and progestin hormones. Birth control pills work to inhibit the body’s natural cyclical hormones to prevent pregnancy. A combination of factors helps in preventing pregnancy. These work by stopping the women’s body from ovulating by changing the cervical mucus and thererby making it difficult for the sperm to go through the cervix and find an egg. Moreover, hormonal contraceptives prevent pregnancy by changing the lining of the womb.
Birth control pills include:
• Combination birth control pills- These are oral contraceptives that contain estrogen and progestin. Combination birth control pills work by suppressing ovulation and keeping the ovaries from releasing an egg. These birth control pills also cause changes in the cervical mucus and the lining of the uterus to keep sperm from joining the egg, Some combination birth control pills are known as continuous or extended-cycle pills. These reduce the number of periods women have each year. If you want to use combination birth control pills, then your health care professional can help you decide which type is right for you.
• Mini pills- Mini pills contain only one hormone (progestin). These are prescribed by the doctors to women who are breastfeeding or in women who experience nausea with estrogen. These birth control pills work by thickening the cervical mucus so that the sperm cannot reach the egg. Mini pills also change the lining of the uterus so that implantation of a fertilized egg is less likely to occur. Pills under medical advise are taken every day and are 95% effective if taken consistently and correctly. By contrats mini pills, these are somewhat less effective than the standard birth control pills.
The above mentioned birth control pill options have various side-effects associated with them too. Side-effects of taking birth control pills include the following:
• Weight gain
• Swollen breasts
• Lighter periods
• Small amount of blood or spotting between periods
• Mood swings
Apart from the mentioned common side-effects of birth control pills, there are less common but more serious side-effects:
• Stomach pain
• Chest pain
• Severe headaches
• Blurred vision
• Swelling or aching in the legs and thighs
If you experience any of these, consult your physician without further ado.
Who can take birth control pills?
These pills can be taken safely by any women, but medical advise cautions women above the age of 35 who smoke against taking birth control pills. Women who don’t smoke can take birth control pills like hormonal contraceptives until their menopause. It is also recommended that women should not take hormonal contraceptives if they have or had:
• Serious heart or liver disease
• Breast or uterus cancer
• Migraines with aura
• Blood clots in the arms, legs, or lungs
• Uncontrolled high blood pressure
There are other conditions as well that may increase your risk level after taking birth control pills. You must be sure your body can withstand birth control pills. Check with your family physician as your medical history will make it clear whether you can or not. Also, your physician needs to know if there has been any history of blood clotting in the family in the legs or lungs.