Which Birth Control Method Is Best For You? If you are thinking of a birth control method to go with, this is the question on your mind right now. With so many choices to pick from, you may be undecided and wondering which will be most suitable for you. To find out, there are a few things to consider.
What is birth control?
Birth control is a method of preventing pregnancy before you are ready for it. Birth control measures come in different forms – birth control pills, copper IUDs, patches, vasectomy, and tubal ligation. They work in different ways and are categorized by how they work, what forms they take, frequency of use, their makeup, and how long they can last.
How does birth control prevent pregnancy?
Birth control prevents pregnancy in the following ways.
- Stops sperm from reaching the egg.
- Causes damage to the sperm or makes it inactive.
- Stops ovulation from occurring by preventing eggs from releasing
- Alter the uterus lining and make it impossible for fertilized eggs to attach to it.
- Alter the texture of the cervical mucus (makes it very thick) so that sperm can’t easily pass through.
Types of birth control
Barrier methods prevent pregnancy by blocking the sperm from reaching the egg. Condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and the contraceptive sponge are examples of barrier methods. Barrier methods do not work as well as IUDs or hormonal methods. Though Male condoms and diaphragms have a higher success rate of preventing pregnancy than any of the other barrier methods. It is advised that you use a spermicide alongside any barrier method you adopt. spermicide kills sperm and comes in creams, jelly, gel, and foam. For those who have had a vaginal birth, the barrier methods like the cap and sponge might not work so well for them.
Short-acting hormonal methods
Birth control pills, vaginal rings, contraceptive injections, and skin patches are all examples of short-acting hormonal methods. For these methods, you need to remember to use them continuously. They come in daily, weekly, or monthly doses. It is short-acting so you can decide to stop taking it at any time when you think you are ready to get pregnant. They are 91% to 95% effective.
Long-acting hormonal methods
These methods provide protection against pregnancy for a very long time. They can last for 3 to 10 years after inserting them. They are reversible and you do not need to carry out any additional routine acts. They are 99% effective. Copper intrauterine devices (IUD), contraceptive implants fall under this category.
Tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men are permanent methods of birth control that work 99.9% of the time. They both require a simple surgical procedure that doesn’t affect your sexual capabilities. A woman who undergoes tubal ligation can still get her period but can’t get pregnant. Reversals for both are possible but there are no guarantees that you will be able to bear children after the reversal.
Fertility awareness method
This method requires you to know which days of the month are safe to have sex without risking getting pregnant. This knowledge is based on your basal body temperature (BBT) and cervical mucus. During ovulation, your BBT rises which indicates that your ovary has released an egg. During this period a woman also releases egg-white-like fluids known as cervical mucus. When you spot these signs, you can decide to use any of the barrier methods above or abstain to avoid getting pregnant.
This can be used after you have had sex without birth control, or if your birth control measure fails. Emergency contraceptives can still be effective 3-5 days after sex. They come in pills and can be gotten from a pharmacist, over the counter. However, some of these pills require you to see a doctor for a prescription. This shouldn’t be a regular plan of birth control but a backup plan if your regular plan fails.
This prevents sperm from getting into the woman’s vagina when a man pulls out before ejaculation. Ejaculation has to be properly timed for this method to work. It is not as effective as other birth control methods. It records around 80-96% success rate. Sometimes, sperm may be present in pre-cum fluid which may result in pregnancy.
Which is best for you?
Contraception that is best for you has to be reliable, safe, and convenient. Here are things to consider before determining which you should opt for.
Consider how effective or fail-proof it is.
Just as we considered above, some methods are more effective than others. IUDs, implants, and sterilization have lower failure rates. On the other hand, methods that require monitoring and timeliness have higher failure rates. Monitoring the right time to ejaculate or when your ovulation begins or ends are prone to human errors. This might not be a very reliable plan if you are unable to time accurately.
Consider your reproductive goals
You need to consider how soon or far off you want to conceive. Are you thinking of never having a child or done with bearing kids? Your reproductive goals will help you decide if you should go for a short/long term, or permanent contraception method.
You’ll find that different contraceptives work at different phases of your life depending on what you want at a particular time.
Some people consider the way each contraceptive works before deciding which to use. This is usually based on their personal beliefs and may be influenced by religion. Some see certain methods as a violation of their belief system. Finding out more about how each contraceptive works and what they are made up of can help you align your choice of contraception to your belief.
Consider if there are side effects for each contraceptive and what they are. How tolerant are you to the side effects they give? Contraceptives have different side effects. Some might be more severe than others and the severity often depends on each individual. Your medical history comes into play here along with your present health conditions. Certain contraceptives may be unsuitable for a health challenge that you might be managing. For instance, women who can’t tolerate estrogen for health reasons may opt for progestin-only pills. That’s why you need to discuss this with your doctor.
Convenient and affordable
Your choice of contraception must be convenient enough that it fits well into your lifestyle.
Are you a well-organized person and good with remembering things or do you live spontaneously and can’t really commit to things? If you are more of the second, you may forget to judiciously take your pills on a daily basis or even forget to take your next shot a few months away. contraceptives that require a regular follow-up might not be best for you.
If you only want to think of contraceptives when you want to have sex, then you might want to opt for the type that only needs to be used each time you have sex.
Condoms may work for you. Remember, a contraceptive has to be convenient. So if you can’t bear having it as a regular part of your routine, consider one that doesn’t require any regular action from you.
Similarly, certain contraception like combination pills (pills with the estrogen and progesterone hormone) may not be best for smokers. This is how far one’s lifestyle contributes to their choice of contraception.
Also, consider the cost of each of them and see which you can afford.
Consider your partner
Have a conversation about this with your partner. Both of you should be comfortable with your choice of birth control method. When both of you understand how your choice works, you can both work at using it the right way.
Frequency of sex
If you have sex regularly, it’s good to pick a birth control method that protects you round the clock so that you dont have to worry about an unplanned pregnancy. Someone who has sex sparingly can decide to use contraception methods that require a one-time use the few times sex happens.
Age is something to be considered too. Certain contraceptives may pose health risks to a particular age group. For instance, combination pills may not be right for women that are 35 and older.
How many sex partners have
Certain birth control methods may be better than other methods if you have multiple sex partners. People in a polyamorous relationship may consider birth control methods that can protect them in two ways. They need to be particular about a birth control method that can work at both preventing pregnancies and STD/STI. The only options are condoms. For other contraception, you should use condoms in addition to them. Seriously consider using condoms alongside a birth control method if you are in a polyamorous relationship.
Whatever the case may be, always read instructions thoroughly before using any birth control method. Also, make sure that whatever method you choose is something you can be consistent with, to avoid failures. Lastly, have a plan B should in case your birth control method fails.
Speaking to a doctor about your birth control concerns is never a bad idea. Book a consultation today with Zoey, to get the guidance you need into making the best decision for yourself.
Article made possible by Amaka. Amaka is a content strategist at ofzoey.com. She has been working in social media and content marketing for five years. She specializes in the health, tech, innovation, and travel sectors. When she is not writing, you will find her teaching math, and trying new recipes and listening to audiobooks.
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