Contraceptive Options For Women: Which Birth Control Method Is The Best?
- Smitakshi Guha
- 4 Min Read
As on today, the pandemic isn’t really the ideal time to conceive. Even if you and your partner had planned to have a baby this year, the COVID-19 outbreak is a strong enough reason to hold that thought and wait until the situation eases out at least to some extent. This is because not only are pregnant women may be at a higher risk of developing COVID-19 infection but also, the pregnancy to-do list is hard to follow during this time. This includes stepping out to get some tests done, visiting the hospital for your ultrasound scans, etc. All of this poses a big risk to your safety but in no way should you refrain from intimacy with your partner.
That brings us back to the heading of this article, which got you here in the first place! Let’s quickly discuss some of the best and most effective contraceptive choices for women to prevent pregnancy—
Condoms are the most commonly used methods of contraception and are about 98% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy if used correctly. The male condoms are sheaths made of synthetic or rubber, which can be rolled over an erect penis. Once a male ejaculates, the condom collects the sperm and restricts it from entering the vagina. Not only do condoms help in preventing unwanted pregnancies, but they also prevent sexually transmitted infections. They are easily available at any pharmacy.
Birth control pills
Often referred to as ‘the pill,’ birth control pills are quite a preferred choice of contraception. They are about 99.9% effective, however, unlike condoms, they don’t really protect you against sexually transmitted infections. That being said, to prevent unwanted pregnancy, the pill is a good choice. It contains small amounts of hormones: estrogen and progestin. These two hormones work in tandem to restrain your body’s natural cycle of hormones to prevent pregnancy. Not only do the birth control pills change the formula of your cervical mucus to make it difficult for the sperm to even enter your cervix and find an egg during sexual intercourse, but it also stops your body from ovulating. On the other hand, these pills can also change the lining of your womb and make it next to impossible for the fertilized egg to be implanted, thus preventing an unwanted pregnancy.
This one’s a small, T-shaped intra-uterine device made out of copper and plastic. It is extremely effective (about 99.4%) for long-term contraception. It releases a small amount of copper into the uterus, changing the lining of the womb and affects the movement and survival of sperms in the uterus, restraining them from reaching the egg to fertilize it, thus preventing an unwanted pregnancy. Copper T as a means of contraception can last for 5 to 10 years. What you need to keep in mind is that the placement of this device inside the uterus has to be done by a trained doctor. You ought to keep checking for the strings of the device regularly to know that the IUD is in place, although the strings don’t really hang out of your vagina.
You need to also know that the copper T device might not work, if:
- It has fallen out (hence, it’s important for you to keep a tab on the strings of the device)
- It has gone to a different and wrong position
- It has been left inside for more than 5 or 10 years, depending on which type of the device has been used
Why you should avoid the use of emergency contraceptives?
Often known as ‘Plan-B’ or the ‘morning-after pill,’ emergency contraceptives are the last resort when you’ve had unprotected sex or the condom broke while you were having sex. It has to be taken within 72 hours after having unprotected sex to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. The sooner you take it, the more effective it is.
That being said, emergency contraceptives are NOT meant and should not be used as your regular contraception methods. It’s always better to use safer methods of contraception, some of which we discussed above. While emergency contraceptives don’t usually pose a threat, they can cause some side-effects in women. These side-effects can also be a result of some other prescription drugs they are taking. Some of these side-effects include:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in menstrual cycles
- Breast tenderness
Some women may also experience unexpected bleeding between periods after taking an emergency contraceptive pill. It becomes imperative that in such a situation, you immediately speak with a doctor online, since stepping out for such health concerns amidst this pandemic isn’t really a good choice.
Realizing the importance of your sexual health
It’s absolutely essential to be aware of your sexual health and needs to be able to enjoy your sex life better. You should have the liberty to express your sexual desires openly so that it is a pleasurable experience for both you and your partner.
Sexual health also includes the fact that you need to understand your body and how it works since this can help in making you realize which sexual activities you’d enjoy and which ones you won’t. It is important to be aware of sexually transmitted infections so that you can take better precautions to prevent yourself and your partner from getting an STI.
Other than understanding your body, sexual health also involves being comfortable in your own skin and your sexual desires. Not only this, but it also bears the flags for healthy relationships and pushes you to have the freedom of leaving a relationship once you’ve triggered signs of any abuse or toxicity in the relationship.
Now that you have a detailed overview of the importance of sexual awareness and some popular contraceptive options, let us know in the comments below which method would you prefer and why.