Introduction to Contraception

Birth control (contraception) is any method, medicine, or device used to prevent pregnancy. Women can choose from many different types of birth control. Some work better than others at preventing pregnancy. The type of birth control you use depends on your health, how soon your desire to have children in the future, and your need to prevent sexually transmitted infections.

What is the best method of birth control?

There is no “best” method of birth control and is different for every woman. The birth control method that is right for you and your partner depends on many things, and may change over time.

Before choosing a birth control method, talk to your doctor about:

  •         Whether you want to get pregnant soon, in a few years
  •         How well each method works to prevent pregnancy
  •         Possible side effects
  •         How often you have intercourse
  •         The number of sex partners you have
  •         Your overall health
  •         How comfortable you are with using the method

  Purpose of contraception

Every month, a woman’s body begins the process that can potentially lead to pregnancy.

Birth control (contraception) is designed to interfere with the normal process and prevent the pregnancy that could result.There are different kinds of birth control that act at different points in the process, from ovulation, through fertilization, to implantation. Each method has its own side effects and risks. Some methods are more reliable than others.

There are more different types of birth control available today than ever. They can be divided into a few groups based on how they work. These groups include:

Methods of contraception

1.Natural method- Natural birth control methods include:

  •         Ovulation test kits
  •         Cervical mucus examination
  •         Tracking menstrual cycles (rhythm method)
  1. Barrier method- Barrier birth control methods include:
  •         Diaphragms
  •         Condoms
  •         Cervical caps
  •         Spermicides

3.Hormonal methods- Hormonal birth control methods include:

  •         Birth control pills
  •         Patches
  •         Implants
  •         Vaginal ring

         4.The Intrauterine Device (IUD)
                       There are two types of IUDs: hormonal or copper-based devices.     

        Copper based IUD

  •        Permanent methods (surgical sterilization) are also available for those who no longer desire to have children.
  •         This includes-
  •         Tubectomy-Blocking of fallopian tube of woman surgically.
  •         vasectomy-Blocking of tubes of scrotum that carry sperm.

There is no form of birth control that is 100% effective, so it is possible to get pregnant while using most types of birth control. However, many types of birth control, when used correctly, are highly effective in preventing pregnancy. For example, the birth control pill is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken correctly. For all forms of birth control it is important to have a basic understanding how they work and how to use them correctly.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect form of birth control. Only abstinence (not having sexual intercourse) can protect against unwanted pregnancy with 100% reliability. The failure rates, which means the rates of pregnancy, for most forms of birth control are quite low. However, some forms of birth control are more difficult or inconvenient to use than others and  have different side effects and risk profiles.

. In actual practice, the birth control methods that are more difficult or inconvenient have much higher failure rates because they are not used regularly or as prescribed.

  •     The decision about what kind of birth control option to use is extremely   personal, and there is no single choice that is safest or best for all women or couples.

   The choice of birth control method depends on many factors, such as the desire for reversible birth control (preserving future fertility) or permanent birth control methods (surgical sterilization). Some birth control methods, such as barrier methods, may offer some protection against sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), while most methods do not.

A woman should carefully weigh the risks and benefits, along with the effectiveness of each method before choosing a birth control method. A thorough and open discussion with a healthcare-professional can help in this decision process.

      We will discuss each method of contraception in detail in subsequent articles.
Dr Prerna Gaur



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