Birth control is a way for women and men to prevent pregnancy. There are various methods, practices or devices that are available in the market to prevent pregnancy. Birth control medication is also known by the names fertility control, pregnancy prevention, family planning or contraception. Birth control methods are designed either to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus or to prevent fertilization of an egg. There are several methods of birth control that are available and you need to choose one as per your preference and after consultation with your doctor.
Types of birth control
There are several options to choose from when it comes to the types of birth control. Here are some of the most common contraceptives available:
- Combination pill
- Progestin-only pill
- Extended-cycle pill
- Vaginal ring
- Female condom
- Male condom
- Emergency contraception
Side effects of birth control
Not all birth control methods have side effects. Some of the methods of contraception such as taking birth control pills can have side effects on the body. Some common birth control side effects include:
- Weight gain
- Small amounts of blood, or spotting, between periods
- Sore or swollen breasts
- Lighter periods
- Mood changes
In case you experience some of the below side effects you must visit your doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms may indicate a serious disorder such as gallbladder disease, liver disease, high blood pressure, blood clots or heart disease. Such symptoms are:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Swelling or aching in the legs and thighs
- Eye problems
What is the best birth control?
When identifying the best birth control the choice may differ from person to person. What is right for you may not be right for all. Also, your needs may change overtime. While choosing the birth control you should think about:
- How fail-proof do you need your protection plan to be?
- How important is your privacy?
- How much does the cost matter?
- Do you need to protect against sexually transmitted diseases?
- Do you have a regular partner with whom you are intimate?
- If you're a woman, does it matter if your period is affected?
- How much effort do you want to put to prevent a pregnancy?
- Do you want to have a child?
A visit to a doctor specialized in the matter can help you to select the right contraception.
Myths and facts:
There are different methods of birth control that are effective in preventing pregnancy. However, there are lot of misinformation about how to use contraception as well as certain methods that do not work.
Myth: If a woman is breast feeding she can’t get pregnant
Fact: Breastfeeding tends to postpone ovulation. However, there is no guarantee that the person won’t get pregnant. Ovulation can happen even if a woman is breastfeeding. Hence nursing mothers should also use birth control to avoid pregnancy.
Myth: If the women do not have an orgasm you can’t get pregnant
Fact: When a sperm from man fertilizes an egg from a woman it results in pregnancy. Even if the woman does not have an orgasm she can very well get pregnant. An adult woman usually releases eggs every month as part of her regular menstrual cycle. This will happen irrespective of the fact whether or not the woman has an orgasm or sex.
Myth: If a woman douches after sex, she won’t get pregnant
Fact: Douching is not an effective birth control measure. After ejaculation happens the sperm enters the cervix and douching does not result in any kind of prevention.
Myth: Contraception is not required if sex is done during the "safe" time
Fact: Though a woman’s cycle is more or less regular, it can some time be disrupted due to various external factors such as weight, age, stress, medications and so on. Hence pinpointing any "safe " days can be difficult. Couples who follow this method must carefully monitor the women's menstrual cycles.
Myth: Having sex in standing up position or other positions won’t get a woman pregnant
Fact: Some people believe that if they have sex in standing up position or if the woman is at the top the sperm will come out of the woman's vagina. In truth, when a man ejaculates, the sperm gets deposited into the vagina and will by nature begin to move up through the cervical canal after ejaculation.
Myth: One can use balloon or plastic wrap if there is no condom
Fact: Balloons or plastic wraps are not as good as condoms. They may be easily torn during sex. Condoms are made to provide good protection and good fit during sex.
Myth: If partner pulls out before ejaculation than the woman won’t get pregnant
Fact: The ejaculation method is not a foolproof method for contraception. Many a times some ejaculation may be released before the man begins to climax. In addition some men may not be able to withdraw in time and this may result in pregnancy.
Myth: If shower is taken right after sex it won’t lead to pregnancy.
Fact: Urinating or washing after sex does not lead to stopping the sperm that have entered the uterus through the cervix.
Myths: Pregnancy does not occur when sex is done for the first time
Fact: Woman can get pregnant if ovulation occurs. It does not matter if it is the first time.
Important things to know
Some of the important things that you need to know before taking birth control pills are:
- You need to take the pills on time because timings matters. If you take the pills late than it increases your chance of getting pregnant. Taking the pill at the same time each day reduces chances of missing it.
- When you have your periods you need to take the placebo or sugar pills. Taking those pills is essential as it keeps you in the habit of taking your pill. In case you want to skip the pills you can simply start the next pack. A consultation with doctor will give you a clear picture on this.
- Birth control pills do not give any protection against STD's. Hence using condom is advisable.
- You do not have to be sexually active if you are taking the pill
- Always consult your doctor before using any kind of contraception. It will help you to understand its working and pros and cons of it.
- Certain birth control measures such as birth control pills take time to work. Hence you need to be extra careful during those weeks if you are sexually active.
- Many a times taking other medications such as antibiotics can make the pill less effective. Hence talk to your doctor and share with him the medicines that you are taking.
- Every pill has some side effects and every pill is different in its own ways. What may work for you may not work for someone else.
- Listen and pay attention to your body when onto identify the best birth control pill because every pills reacts differently and the wrong pill may make you feel really sick. Talk to your doctor in case you feel that something is not right with your body after taking the pills.