Birth control is essential for people who are sexually active and are not ready to have kids yet or do not want to do so at all. However, apart from the obvious, birth control has other benefits as well. According to research, there’s a link between better birth control access and big educational and professional gains for women. Research also shows that couples are more prepared to be parents as well as to stay together when they can plan their pregnancies. Gutt Matcher Institute suggests that a study, based on U.S government data from the National Survey of Family Growth, concluded that some of the reasons women use the birth control pill, apart from preventing pregnancy, is for noncontraceptive purposes. Some of the reasons are, reducing cramps or menstrual pain, menstrual regulation, treatment of acne, and treatment of endometriosis.
Which are the different types of birth control?
1. Birth Control Implant
According to Planned Parenthood, the birth control implant is a thin rod, about the size of a matchstick. What it does is it releases hormones into your body that prevent you from getting pregnant. The implant is inserted into your arm by a nurse or a doctor, and then you’re safe from pregnancy for about 5 years. The hormones in the birth control implant prevent pregnancy in two ways, the hormone progestin thickens the mucus on the cervix, which stops the sperm from swimming through to your egg. It can also stop eggs from leaving your ovaries, and this way there is no egg to fertilize.
IUD stands for ‘intrauterine device’, and it’s shaped like a T. It’s a bit bigger than a quarter and it fits inside of the uterus. According to WebMD, it stops pregnancy by stopping sperm from reaching the eggs. Reportedly, there are five types available in the US. Four of them, Liletta, Kyleena, Mirena, and Skyla, release small amounts of the hormone progestin. Meanwhile, the fifth, ParaGard, is also known as the copper T IUD. This one is hormone-free and the copper triggers the immune system to prevent pregnancy.
3. Birth Control Pill
The birth control pill is one of the hormonal contraception methods. Women take the pill orally, and when it’s taken correctly, it proves to be around 99.9% effective, according to WebMD. However, the pill does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. There are two different kinds of pills: the combination pill and the mini-pill. The combination pill contains two types of hormones, estrogen and progestin. They put an end to ovulation, thicken the cervical mucus, and make the lining of the uterus thinner, this way it’s harder for the egg to attach there.
The mini-pills, on the other hand, contain only progestin. They thicken the cervical mucus and make the lining of the uterus thinner. They have the same failure rate as the combination pills, meaning about 1 in 10.
4. Birth Control Patch (Ortho Evra / Xulane)
The birth control patch is also commonly known as Ortho Evra. What it does is it stick to the skin and helps prevent pregnancy. It’s applied to the skin once a week for three weeks straight. It prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones like the other hormonal birth control methods, like the birth control pill and the vaginal ring. According to Birth Control, the patch should be applied to the skin of the outer arm, stomach, back, or even buttocks. You keep it for three weeks and then the fourth week you don’t need a patch. However, make sure to change the patch after seven days, more specifically on the day you first placed it to the skin.
5. Birth Control Vaginal Ring
Another birth control method is the vaginal ring also known by its brand name, NuvaRing. It’s a small and flexible plastic ring that you apply into your vagina to prevent pregnancy. How it prevents pregnancy is it continuously releases synthetic estrogen and progestin. These hormones are absorbed into your bloodstream and prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs to be fertilized. How you use it is you squeeze the sides of the ring together so it becomes narrow, and insert the ring into your vagina. After three weeks, with clean hands, remove the ring. Place it in its packet and throw it away. However, the ring should also be changed each week. Change it seven days after you applied it, more specifically on the day you first placed it.
6. The Birth Control Shot
The Depo-Provera shot is an injection that you get from professionals every three months. If you always take it on time, it works very well. According to Planned Parenthood, this birth control method contains the hormone progestin that prevents ovulation. The hormone also makes the cervical mucus thicker so the sperm can’t get through.
Condoms are thin pouches that keep the sperm from getting into the vagina. The male condom is worn on the penis and is usually made of a type of rubber known as latex. However, for those who have latex allergies, there are condoms made of materials known as polyurethane or polyisoprene. They keep the semen from entering the vagina, and the male condom is placed on the penis when it becomes erect. It should be unrolled all the way to the base of the penis while holding the tip of the condom in order to leave extra room at the end so there’s space for the semen after ejaculation. The theoretical effectiveness of condoms is 98%, however, since people tend to not use them properly, they are 82% effective.
It’s worthy to note that condoms are the only contraceptive method that not only prevents pregnancy but also protects you from sexually transmitted diseases.
8. Female Condoms
Female condoms go inside the vagina to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It’s a thin pouch that should be placed inside of the vagina, and it serves as an obstacle that prevents bodily fluids from entering the body. They tend to be very easy to use with a little practice. On how you use the female condom, you will find the detailed instructions in the package.
9. Birth Control Sponge
The birth control sponge is a round piece of white plastic foam. It has a dimple on one side and a nylon loop across the top. It’s about two inches across and you insert it way up into your vagina before having sex. The sponge blocks the cervix keeping sperm from getting into the uterus, and it releases spermicide continually. However, according to research, the failure rate for the sponge can go from 12 to 24%, so in case getting pregnant is a definite no for you, make sure to use another, more effective, method.
The diaphragm has been used by women for quite some time now. It’s a small, flexible cup made of silicone or latex, and it goes inside of the vagina to block the sperm from reaching the egg. According to WebMD, it can be up to 94% effective. You need to use the diaphragm with a cream or gel that kills sperm, called a spermicide.
11. Cervical Cap
The cervical cap is a small silicone cut that you put inside of the vagina. It covers the cervix and keeps the sperm out of the vagina. It’s approximately an inch and a half wide and one inch high. The one brand of the cervical cap that is available in the US today is named FemCap. However, you need to use the cervical cap with spermicide for it to be most effective.
Spermicide is a birth control method that has chemicals that stop the sperm from reaching the egg. You put it deep into your vagina right before having intercourse. It prevents pregnancy by blocking the entrance to the cervix so sperm can’t get to the egg, and it also stops sperm from moving enough as to swim to the egg. It can be used by itself or with various birth control methods. It’s worthy to note that using it with a condom gives you extra protection.
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