You've heard the stories of friends having a surprise pregnancy, and it scares you. If an unplanned pregnancy is the last thing on your mind, read more to find out about all the different ways to prevent pregnancy!
If you’re a busy parent juggling work and kids, sometimes a surprise pregnancy is the last thing you want. The most effective way to prevent pregnancy is to use some form of birth control. Birth control methods range from short term to long term, and even permanent solutions. These suit different types of women with different needs at various stages of their lives. Keep in mind; if your religion forbids birth control, you can also use your body’s cycle to naturally practise birth control.
Short-term birth control to prevent pregnancy
Short-term birth control is a popular strategy used amongst many people. It has several different types of applications, so it gives the couple a chance to pick which works best for them:
- Condoms: Highly effective when used properly. However, this depends on how willing the man is to using condoms. Your spouse may prefer the sensation of not using a condom.
- The pill: The advantage of the contraception pill is that it puts birth control in the hands of a woman. However, the pill has to be taken daily to be effective, and there are many side effects to consider.
- Diaphragm: Shaped like a rubber cap, a diaphragm is placed at the cervix and prevents sperm from entering. It however is not suitable for those who gain or lose weight often or those who are susceptible to bladder infections.
- Patch: Instead of taking a pill, a newer method allows you to place a hormone patch on your arm, stomach or other area of your body. The patch releases hormones for a week, so you only need to replace it once. This method however increases the risk of blood clots, and you must ensure the patch stays on the whole week.
Natural birth control to prevent pregnancy
If you wish to practise natural birth control without the use of a device or any hormones, you should be aware that natural birth control has a higher failure rate. However, this does not mean that the methods aren’t effective.
- Breastfeeding: If you are breastfeeding full-time and your period has not returned, this is a natural form of birth control. Note: however, the effectiveness will decrease after 6 months.
- Fertility charting: Forget about counting the days in your cycle as every woman has a wildly different ovulation and menstrual cycle. Temperature charting and examining cervical mucus is the only way you can understand how your fertility cycle works. For the best guide on this method, read Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Tori Weschler. Take note though, this method requires daily temperature taking and is not as easy as a birth control device.
Long-term solutions to prevent pregnancy
As there are many short-term and natural solutions to using effecting birth control, there are also several long-term solutions as well. These methods involve more risk and can be permanent:
- IUD: This is a long-term device surgically implanted into your uterus that releases hormones and prevents fertilization. This device is nearly 100% effective and lasts 10 years, but it is suitable only for women who have given birth before. Also, if you are planning to have another child in a few years, it is not worth the cost.
- Sterlization: The most permanent form of birth control is to undergo tubal ligation, which will block the fallopian tubes. However, this is invasive surgery that is non-reversible. If you are in a monogamous relationship, consider asking your partner to have a vasectomy instead as it is a less risky procedure.
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Watch this video to find out more on how to prevent pregnancy: