Having a baby is one of the most rewarding and uplifting experience two people can share. However, when the child is unwanted or untimely, the results are less enjoyable. While not making any judgements, we have put together a brief summary [in no particular order] of the most popular means of birth control for your review. Be safe.
Contraception is a fancy word for birth control. To have sex without babies you must stop the woman from shedding an ovum, or the man from making sperm, or keeping the sperm and ovum from getting together.
The diaphragm is a barrier method of birth control. It is a moderately effective with a one year failure rate of around 12% with typical use. It is placed over the cervix with spermicide before sex and left in place for at least six hours after sex. Fitting by a healthcare provider is generally required.
Side effects are usually very few. Use may increase the risk of various infections, especially if left in place over 24 hours.
There are a number of types of diaphragms with different rim and spring designs. They may be made from latex, silicone, or natural rubber. They work by blocking access to and holding spermicide near the cervix
The diaphragm does not interfere with a woman’s natural cycle, therefore, no reversal or wait time is necessary, if contraception is no longer wanted or needed. The diaphragm only has to be used during intercourse. Many women, especially those who have sex less frequently, prefer barrier contraception such as the diaphragm over methods that require some action every day.
Like all cervical barriers, diaphragms may be inserted several hours before use, allowing uninterrupted foreplay and intercourse. Most couples find that neither partner can feel the diaphragm during intercourse.
The diaphragm is less expensive than many other methods of contraception
failure 6% with spermicide, 30% without
Spermicide, as mentioned above, may be used by itself, although is less effective. It can be obtained in several types of creams or foam. It is a little messy and must be utilized before any sex or serious foreplay occurs. Temporary local skin irritation involving the vulva, vagina, or penis is the most common problem associated with spermicide use.
Frequent use (2 times or more a day) of nonoxynol-9 containing spermicide is inadvisable if STI/HIV exposure is likely, because in this situation there is increased vulvovaginal epithelial disruption and increased risk of HIV acquisition.
Spermicides may be obtained at stores without a prescription and are not very expensive. They provide some lubrication but will not stop any diseases. Temporary local skin irritation involving the vulva, vagina, or penis is the most common problem associated
failure 18% perfect use, 28% typical use (used alone) better with barrier.
A condom is a sheath-shaped barrier device that may be used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy and decrease the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV/AIDS. syphilis, gonorhea, etc. It is rolled onto an erect penis before intercourse and blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner. Condoms are also used during felllatio and for collection of semen for use in infertility treatment. In the modern age, condoms are most often made from latex, but some are made from other materials such as polyurethane, polyisoprene, or lamb intestine. A female condom is also available, normally made of nitrile rubber. These are a little harder to use and clean, but should be effective.
As a method of birth control male condoms have the advantages of being easy to use, having few side effects, and offering protection against sexually transmitted infections. With proper use—and use at every act of intercourse—women whose partners use male condoms experience a 2% per-year pregnancy rate. With typical use the rate of pregnancy is 18% per-year. Oil-based lubricants should never be used with a condom; only use those recommended by the manufacturer.advantages: relatively inexpensive, available everywhere, and easy to use. They decrease the chances of spreading sexually-transmitted diseases (not perfect, though).
The intra-uterine device (IUD) is a small plastic or copper-catted gadget installed by a doctor. It is placed inside a woman’s womb and prevents eggs from adhering to the wall. It can remain in place for several months at a time and requires no preparation before sex. The devices are fairly cheap, but do require a medical doctor to prescribe, install and remove it. Not all women can use it. IUDs come in various types and materials.
It is about 90% effective, although there is a small chance that a fetus, should pregnancy occur, could be harmed. An IUD provides no protection against disease.
The most certain and effective form of birth control is the Pill. A doctor’s prescription is necessary, but, when used correctly, the Pill is just about 100% effective. The pill prevents the shedding of the ova [egg], so no pregnancy can occur; the woman will continue to have her monthly period. A few women experience some complications, especially when older or smoking. Most women can take the pill for years without ill effect. Normally, they may become pregnant after stopping (a month or two later). The woman must be on the pill for several weeks before it becomes effective, so other methods would have to be used in the interim.
Recently a “morning after” pill has been marketed. There has been less research on long-term complications with these. For more information, see “abortion”. There are also long-term patches or injections which may be obtained through a medical doctor. They are not as effective as the regular pill, but are very convenient, especially for women who cannot manage to follow the precise instructions for using the Pill.
The Pill, along with the regular doctor visits, can be more expensive than some method, but is certainly more convenient.
Sterilization, hysterectomy in women and vasectomy in men, is permanent means of birth control. Neither should be entered into lightly. Hysterectomies or tubal litigation are more invasive and can create more physical and mental complications for women. The operation may also affect a woman’s sex drive. Men can get a vasectomy as an out-patient and usually recover within a week or two. Once healed, a man normally will not suffer any adverse side affects. Usually, either of these is utilized by married people who have had all the children they desire and/or experience some other health situation which requires such drastic measure.
Again, sterilization must be considered permanent. There is no protection from disease. Recently available, are implants which are supposed to be effective for many months at a time. There are no accurate data concerning effectiveness and safety of this procedure (too new), but your doctor could advise you.
Relying on abortion as a form of birth control is very ill-advised. Even where legal, abortions carry risk to the mother, both physical and emotional.
Rhythm or day-counting is still popular in some areas. With this, a woman keeps track of her periods, sometimes using thermometers and such, to have an idea of when it is safe to have sex. There is a word to describe woman who rely on this method: pregnant. It is very ineffective and relies as much on luck as anything else. The only advantage to this method is that it is cheap, or least until pregnancy occurs.
Abstaining from having intercourse is the safest, cheapest, and most effective form of birth control. This is even more useful for people who are not married and/or not prepared to handle children or a good relationship. Having sex is an emotional commitment between two people and should never be undertaken lightly. A healthy dating relationship can be accomplished without intercourse.
These birth control methods (not listed in any particular order) may help you and your partner in deciding what is best for you. There are other less common methods as well, so do your research. When looking around, be cautious of websites or material which are selling one item or that promote a particular agenda (political, religion, etc.) as they may be biased. We included two links below for general information. Please remember that birth control is not just a woman’s problem; a real man will be concerned that his partner is safe. There are moral and religious aspects to having sex, with whom and when, but that is not addressed here; each person must come to their own conclusions, and, hopefully, respect those of his/her partner.
Feel free to comment if you wish.