Family Planning Methods: The Different Contraceptive Options
Hey there! If you’re thinking about starting a family or adding to the brood, family planning is an essential step. Let’s talk about some of the methods available to you to prevent pregnancy.
Types of Contraception
Oral Contraceptives: The Pill
When most of us hear “birth control,” we usually think of the pill. This type of contraception contains hormones that prevent ovulation.
The pill comes in two types: the combination pill (COC) and the progestin-only pill (POP). The combination pill (COC) contains both estrogen and progestin, which together block ovulation and thicken cervical mucus.
The progestin-only pill (POP), on the other hand, thickens cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to reach the egg. Getting the right pill for you can be a journey.
There are different brands with different hormonal concentrations, and some people might take some time to adapt to their chosen pill. However, the pill is 99% effective if taken correctly, making it the go-to method for many young women.
The injection is another hormonal option, releasing progestin into the bloodstream every three months. While this method is 94% effective, it doesn’t come without side effects, such as weight gain and mood swings.
Condoms are 98% effective when used correctly, also come with the bonus of protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This type of contraception is often used in combination with other methods, like oral contraceptives.
Diaphragm and Cervical Caps
The diaphragm and cervical caps are barrier methods that physically block the sperm’s path to the egg. They are an option for those looking for non-hormonal birth control.
However, these methods are only 88% effective.
Intrauterine Devices (
IUDs are another highly effective hormonal method. They work by thickening cervical mucus and preventing ovulation.
They can either be hormonal or copper and can last up to 5 or 10 years, depending on the type.
Implants, Contraceptive Ring, and Patches
Implants are tiny rods with synthetic hormones inserted under the skin, while the contraceptive ring is placed in the vagina and releases hormones into the bloodstream. Patches can be stuck to the skin, and they also release hormones; all these methods are over 99% effective.
Vaginal spermicides come in different forms, like gels, foams, and suppositories, that kill or immobilize sperm. However, they’re only 72% effective and need to be paired with other methods.
The withdrawal method is when the man pulls out before ejaculation. However, it’s not very effective and comes with a high risk of pregnancy.
LAM and SDM (Standard Days Method)
LAM is the Lactational Amenorrhea Method, which is when breastfeeding is used as a natural contraceptive tool. SDM is the Standard Days Method, which requires tracking the menstrual cycle and only engaging in intercourse on days when ovulation isn’t expected.
Calendar or Rhythm Method and Sympto-Thermal Method
The calendar method requires tracking menstrual cycles to determine fertile days and abstaining from sex for that window. Sympto-Thermal Method, on the other hand, includes observing and tracking different fertility signs, such as cervical mucus, body temperature, and mood changes, to determine fertile days.
Sterilization is a permanent solution to preventing pregnancy. Both men and women can undergo sterilization procedures, with women undergoing tubal ligation and men undergoing vasectomy.
Before you delve into choosing what contraception method suits you best, it’s important to understand what pregnancy prevention entails.
The first goal of pregnancy prevention is to delay childbirth until you’re ready. Every person and couple have their own ideal childbearing years, which can be influenced by various factors like career goals, finances, and overall lifestyle.
It’s important to plan and space out pregnancies, with at least 18 months between births if possible. Not only does this help your reproductive system recuperate and heal fully, but it also decreases the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, such as premature birth and low birth weight.
A miscarriage means unintentionally losing a pregnancy before the 20th week. Unfortunately, miscarriages are relatively common and can occur for various reasons, including genetic abnormalities and underlying health issues.
However, most people who experience a miscarriage have successful future pregnancies. In conclusion, family planning is a personal decision that depends on your individual needs and circumstances.
There are a variety of options available, from hormonal methods like the pill and
IUDs to barrier methods like condoms and diaphragms. Make sure to educate yourself and speak to your healthcare provider before choosing a method.
Remember, prevention is key, and it’s essential to plan and space out pregnancies to ensure a healthy outcome. 3)
How it Works
Injections, also known as depot injections, contain the hormone progesterone, which prevents ovulation. This hormone thickens cervical mucus, making it hard for sperm to penetrate the uterus, and thins the lining of the uterus, lessening the chances of implantation.
Depot injections are administered every three months and are effective for up to 14 weeks. This method of birth control is highly effective, with only a 0.3% failure rate when used correctly.
While injections are highly effective, they do come with some side effects. One of the most noticeable side effects is irregular bleeding, which can range from light spotting to heavy bleeding.
This is due to the hormone imbalance in the body, and it can take some time for the body to adjust.
Other side effects may include weight gain, hair loss, and delayed menstruation, as well as changes in mood, headaches, and nausea.
It’s essential to discuss any concerning side effects with a healthcare provider who can provide guidance on whether the injection method is suitable for you.
4) Barrier Methods
Barrier methods are physical contraceptives that prevent sperm from reaching the egg. The most common methods are condoms, diaphragm, and cervical caps.
Condoms are the only contraceptive method that protects against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. They come in two types: male and female condoms.
Male condoms are made of latex or polyurethane plastic and are worn over the penis during intercourse. They trap sperm, preventing fertilization from occurring, and also prevent the exchange of bodily fluids.
Female condoms are also made of polyurethane plastic, and they are inserted into the vagina before sex. They have two rings, which hold them in place and prevent sperm from entering the cervix.
Overall, condoms are effective in preventing pregnancy and STIs with a failure rate of 2-13%, based on the type of condom and frequency of use. It is also important to note that they are a short-term form of contraception and must be worn during every sexual encounter.
Diaphragms and Cervical Caps
Diaphragms and cervical caps are barrier methods that act as a physical barrier to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. They are both inserted into the vagina before sex and require the use of spermicidal cream or jelly to increase their effectiveness.
Diaphragms are larger than cervical caps and fit snugly over the cervix. They are made of silicone with a flexible ring that helps keep them in place.
Cervical caps, on the other hand, are smaller and fit tightly over the cervix. They are available in different sizes and shapes designed to fit different anatomies.
One of the main concerns with both diaphragms and cervical caps is the risk of an allergic reaction to the spermicidal cream or jelly used with them. Additionally, there is a slight risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome with prolonged use.
It is also important to note that these barrier methods are less effective than hormonal contraceptives, with a failure rate of 6-12% with correct use. People who choose to use barrier methods should combine them with other methods or use them more consistently during fertile periods.
When considering family planning, it’s important to understand the variety of options available, including hormonal, barrier, and natural methods. It’s essential to weigh all the available information and consult with a healthcare provider to determine which method of birth control is best for you based on your needs, lifestyle, and medical history.
Remember, preventing pregnancy is an important step in achieving reproductive health.
5) Hormonal Methods
Hormonal methods of contraception are highly effective, with a failure rate of less than 1% when used correctly. These methods work by releasing synthetic hormones into the body that either prevent ovulation or thicken cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to reach the egg.
An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a small plastic device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of
IUDs: copper and synthetic progesterone.
IUDs work by releasing copper ions into the uterus, which makes the sperm and egg unable to survive, while synthetic progesterone
IUDs work by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the lining of the uterus.
IUDs are highly effective, with a failure rate of less than 1%. However, the insertion process can be uncomfortable and cause cramping.
Some people also experience heavier periods with a copper IUD, and irregular bleeding with the synthetic progesterone IUD.
Implants are flexible rods or capsules that are surgically inserted under the skin of the upper arm. The implant releases the hormone progesterone into the bloodstream, which thickens cervical mucus and prevents ovulation.
Implants are effective for up to three years and have a failure rate of less than 1%. However, they can cause irregular vaginal bleeding and sometimes cause periods to cease altogether.
Contraceptive Ring and Patches
The contraceptive ring is a small, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina and releases synthetic hormones, estrogen, and progesterone, into the bloodstream. The ring is worn for three weeks and then removed for a week to allow for menstruation.
Contraceptive patches are worn on the skin and release synthetic hormones, estrogen, and progesterone, into the bloodstream. The patch is replaced weekly for three weeks and then left off for a week to allow for menstruation.
Both the contraceptive ring and patches have a high effectiveness rate, with a failure rate of less than 1%. However, they can cause side effects like nausea, headaches, and skin irritation.
Choosing the right method of contraception will depend on your personal preferences, needs, and health history. Hormonal methods are highly effective, but they may cause side effects, such as weight gain, mood changes, and irregular bleeding.
If you experience any concerning side effects, speak to your healthcare provider about your options. Remember, preventing pregnancy is an important step towards achieving optimal reproductive health.
In this article, we examined several types of birth control methods, including hormonal, barrier, and natural options. We discussed the effectiveness of each method, as well as their potential side effects.
It’s important to understand that choosing a contraception method is a personal decision that depends on your individual needs, medical history, and lifestyle. While preventing pregnancy is essential, it is equally important to have a plan and space out pregnancies for optimum reproductive health.
We urge you to speak to your healthcare provider to determine the best method for you so that you can make an informed decision and remain healthy while implementing birth control.