Having a gap between children is not as difficult as you think
A child brings joy to a family. However, an accidental pregnancy can also cause a lot of stress. Know your options in order to space out your children.
Sharon was worried. The past few months did not go easy on her and her husband, Shaun. They just had a baby a few months back. Shaun was working overtime to make up for the rising cost of raising a baby. Sharon took care of the baby on her own. Both of them were exhausted.
But that was not the only reason for her worry. She had not had her periods yet. Of course, she wanted another baby. However, she could just not afford to go through another pregnancy this soon. She decided to take a home pregnancy test. And while she waited, she cursed herself for not using any contraceptive the last time they had sex. She imagined what her life would become if the test would turn out to be positive.
Spacing between children is important
Children bring a new meaning to our lives. The whole duration of pregnancy is a journey that every mum should cherish. However, unexpected pregnancies may put a strain on the lives of couples like Sharon and Shaun. It is, therefore, important to plan them as much as possible. And this is where contraception comes handy.
Contraceptives are more than just condoms and pills
A recent study published in the Singapore Medical Journal concluded that women in Singapore lack awareness about the wide choice of contraceptives available to them, particularly about the long-term reversible contraceptives1. This is unfortunate because, besides condoms and oral contraceptive pills, there are safer, more effective options that women like Sharon can use.
To be effective, condoms need to be used every time2. Pills need to be used on a regular basis even if you don’t have intercourse that regularly3. However, with options like intrauterine inserts and hormonal implants, couples can space their children without having to worry about daily contraception4.
However, according to Dr Christopher Ng, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Camden Medical Centre, Singapore, besides condoms and oral contraceptive pills, the awareness about other methods of contraception is nearly non-existent.
So, if you are unsure about other methods to prevent a pregnancy, here is a way to find out the best contraceptive for you.
Long-term reversible contraceptives: IUS
When a person decides on a method of contraception, there are a few concerns in her mind. According to Dr Ng, an ideal contraceptive should “have a very low failure rate, be convenient to take and have no or next to no side effects.” When we talk about non-permanent methods, reversibility should be immediate.
An intrauterine system (IUS) is one such ideal contraceptive. It is a small T shaped frame made of soft plastic with a hormone reservoir. It is inserted in the womb by the doctor and it provides long-term contraception for about 3-5 years4
Once inserted, it releases low levels of a hormone called progestin. The action of this hormone makes it difficult for the sperms to enter and fertilise the ovum4. So, there is no more stress induced by skipped pills or no pauses in intimacy resulting from condoms. However, the benefits go beyond contraception. The hormone also helps in reduction of the pain accompanied by the periods4. Who would not want that!
Once you decide to go for the Intrauterine system, your doctor would scan your uterus to see how far in the device needs to be inserted. In an outpatient procedure, he will then insert the device per vaginum5. The whole procedure should not take more than half an hour of your time and you can go home right after the procedure.
Don’t forget to ask the doctor if you need to take any precautions. In order to facilitate easy checks, the device has two threads that you can feel yourself. Don’t forget to check them regularly. If you have any discomfort, contact your doctor immediately.
Story of Sharon and Shaun
To Sharon’s relief, it was a false alarm. However, she did not lose time in seeing her doctor for the various options at her disposal. They decided to go for an IUS. Five years later, when they thought that the time was right to have another baby, the device was removed. And she managed to conceive soon after that.
Now, 5-year-old Stephen is eagerly waiting to meet his sister. He has decided to call her Sarah.
Find out more about how you can plan your family better at the website, howuknow.com
1Knowledge and factors determining choice of contraception among Singaporean women Arundhati Gosavi, Yueyun Ma, Singapore Med J 2016; 57(11): 610-615 doi: 10.11622/smedj.2015181
2Contraception guide: Condoms. NHS Choices
3Contraception guide: combined pill. NHS Choices
4Contraception guide: Intrauterine system. NHS choices