Birth control is an important aspect of pregnancy planning, mainly because it prevents natural conception in the first place. Couples who are not ready to have children can explore several effective birth control options. However, a plethora of recommended choices can make it a little confusing to choose a suitable and safe method for prolonged use. Here is a quick overview.
- Effective for a few years
Birth control implants contain a hormone that helps thicken the mucus on the cervix and stops the sperm from penetrating the egg. It also prevents the ovaries from releasing the egg. Doctors surgically insert the implants in the upper arm, where it releases the hormone for approximately four years. IUDs are more effective and directly inserted into the vagina by a medical professional. Essentially, these devices divert the sperm away from the egg in several different ways. This depends on the type of device inserted. IUDs can prevent pregnancies for a maximum period of 12 years.
- Effective with regular periods
Several contraceptive methods are effective with regular periods. For example, a birth control ring placed at the vaginal lining will naturally absorb the hormones progestin and estrogen, both of which are essential for ovulation. Pregnancy is not possible without ovulation, and with the ring device, one will experience lighter period symptoms. A birth control patch and pills can also help lighten the flow of periods while preventing pregnancy. Note that vaginal rings must be replaced every month at a clinic administered by a doctor. A control patch can be changed every week. If one is opting for pills, they need to be taken daily for them to be effective.
- Permanent procedures
These contraceptive methods are mostly irreversible and done surgically. While women can opt for tubal ligation procedures, men can have a vasectomy to increase the effectiveness of birth control. Note that these procedures are done only by medical professionals at a hospital where the doctor cuts and sterilizes a part of the left and right fallopian tubes. The fertilized egg released by the ovaries cannot travel to sterilized tubes. Vasectomy is a similar surgical procedure done for men where doctors surgically sterilize the tubes that allow the sperm to flow from the testes to the urethra. Both tubal ligation and vasectomy are permanent procedures. One should consider these methods only if they are a hundred percent sure about not wanting to conceive naturally in the future.
- Contraceptives without hormonal interference
One can also check out certain hormone-free contraceptive options like cervical caps and diaphragms. These are cost-effective, must be changed out every time, and can be purchased from a local pharmacist without a prescription.
Understand that there are different pros and cons when it comes to choosing a type of birth control. One must consult a medical professional and assess their short and long-term requirements.