Birth Control is defined as various ways used to prevent pregnancy from occurring. Birth Control has been a concern for humans for thousands of years. The first contraception devices were mechanical barriers in the vagina that prevented the male sperm from fertilizing the female egg. Other methods of birth control that were used in the vagina were sea sponges, mixtures of crocodile dung and honey, quinine, rock salt and alum. We have come a long way from past time times of contraceptives, although some of the same concepts are still used. The least effective form of birth control used today is The Natural Method.
This method is also the cheapest because the woman monitors her menstrual cycle. The average cycle is 28 days, ovulation occurs 14 days prior to the womans period. She then must avoid sex or use a method of contraception on her fertile days. The effectiveness of this method is around 72%. This methods is also one of the hardest method because the woman must maintain a good record of her menstrual cycle.
Another form of birth control are spermicidal jelly, cream or foam. Spermicide can be used without medical supervision, and must be used with each act of intercourse. These have no side affects but must be used exactly according to instructions. Spermicides can be up to 94% effective if used correctly. Contraceptive pills or oral contraception are a common form of contraception for women.
They contain two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen, which prevent an egg from being released by a woman’s ovary each month. There are several different types of pill so if one does not suit you then another one might. It can reduce pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and period pain. There is evidence that the pill offers some protection against cancer of the uterus and ovaries. You don’t need to worry about any devices or spermicides and it does not interfere with spontaneity of sex.
A full medical history is essential, as this pill is not suitable for women who have certain conditions such as high blood pressure, circulatory disease, and diabetes. Those women over 35 years who smoke or are overweight may be advised to use another method of contraception. The combined pill is not reliable if taken over 12 hours late, or after vomiting and diarrhea. It may have some side effects such as nausea, headaches and weight gain. Some drugs, such as antibiotics may affect its reliability. Contraceptive pills do not protect against sexually transmitted infections and HIV. If taken correctly the pill is 99% effective.
The diaphragm or cap is a circular dome made of rubber, which is fitted by the woman over her cervix before sex. It acts as a barrier to stop sperm getting through to the uterus. It should be used with a spermicide cream or jelly, which contain a chemical that destroys sperm. These must be worn for a few hours after sex before it can be removed. The effectiveness of this is 87%.
Male condoms are made of very thin latex or plastic and work by being placed over a man’s erect penis. They act as a physical barrier and trap sperm at the point of ejaculation. Condoms are readily available from chemists and free from family planning clinics. Women can carry them as well as men. They help to protect against cancer of the cervix and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.The male condom has to be put on the penis as soon as it becomes erect and before any contact takes place with the vagina. They also have to be used with care as they can slip off or split.
Men need to withdraw as soon as they have ejaculated and be careful not to spill any semen. Condoms should never be used with oil based products such as Vaseline and suntan oil, as these will damage the rubber. They are 94% – 98% effective depending on how correctly they are used. Female condoms are made of thin polyurethane plastic and work by being placed in the vagina also covering the area outside, to stop sperm from entering the vagina. A female condom can be put in any time before sex and has many of the advantages of the male condom, as well as being stronger and can be used with oil based products. It is especially good for women who suffer from allergic reactions to the spermicidal lubricants used with condoms.
It can slip, so you need to be sure that the penis enters the condom and isn’t inserted between the condom and the vaginal wall. If used correctly it is 95% effective. Male and female sterilization are permanent methods of contraception. They are for anyone who feels that their family is complete or who are certain that they will never want to have children. Many couples find greater sexual freedom once the risk of unwanted pregnancy has been removed.
Whatever your age, you should consider sterilization to be a permanent step and you should not undergo the procedure if you have any doubts. Female sterilization works by stopping the egg and the sperm meeting by cutting and blocking the fallopian tubes. It can be carried out at a hospital, usually a small incision is made just below the naval to reach the fallopian tubes which are then clipped. Sterilization does not interfere with sex and it works immediately. Some doctors are not happy to sterilize young and/or single people who do not have children.
While sterilization is a very safe operation, there is a very small risk of damage to other organs during the procedure. Sterilization also offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections and HIV. There is a risk of ectopic pregnancy at a later date if the procedure is carried out when you are young. This method has a 99% effective rate. Male Sterilization (vasectomy) is a permanent surgical technique in which the vas deferens (tubes which carry the sperm) is sealed, so that sperm are no longer present in semen when a man ejaculates.
Orgasm and ejaculation are not affected. Sperm continues to be produced by the testicles but its passage to the penis is blocked, so it is re-absorbed by the body. Vasectomy has no effect on the production of male hormones or the sex drive. The procedure takes 10 – 15 minutes and can be done at a hospital as outpatient surgery. Male sterilization takes longer to work than female sterilization and sperm can take a few months to disappear from semen. Therefore you need to use another method of contraception until you have had tests to show that you have no sperm in the semen.
Sterilization offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections and HIV. Effective rate is 99%. IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a small plastic and copper intrauterine device, usually shaped like a ‘T’ that is fitted into the uterus by a doctor. This only takes a couple of minutes. It works by stopping sperm meeting an egg, or by stopping an egg settling in the womb. Works from the moment it is placed in the uterus and can stay in place for five years. Some IUD’s can stay in place for eight years.
Can be used as an emergency method of contraception within five days of unprotected intercourse or five days after expected ovulation. It is unsuitable for women who have more than one sexual partner as this can increase the risk of infection. IUD’s may cause periods to be heavier and more painful. The IUD offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections and HIV. It has a 98% – 99% effectiveness.
Widespread use of emergency contraception could prevent an estimated 1.7 million unintended pregnancies and 800,000 abortions each year. Women should only use emergency contraceptives as a back up to their usual birth control method. Millions of women around the world have used emergency contraceptives safely and effectively. Emergency contraceptive pills are taken in two doses. The first dose should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, and the second dose, 12 hours later.
Although this pill works it is very discomforting to the individuals. Vomiting and sickness often occurs when this emergency contraceptive is used. Nearly half of America’s 6 million annual pregnancies are accidental. Unintended pregnancies result in 1.4 million abortions annually, as well as 1.1 million births that women either did not want to have until later or did not want at all. Eighty percent of teen pregnancies are unintended, and each year, one in nine young women aged 15-19 become pregnant; more than half become mothers. With knowledge of these contraceptive the numbers of unintended pregnancies will go down.