Exploring Different Types of Contraception
Contraception, or birth control, helps people prevent pregnancy whenever they are not ready to become parents. People practice contraception in various ways, and there is no single right answer when it comes to choosing the best method.
Barrier methods are used to physically prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg. They must be used every time intercourse occurs in order to be most effective. Some common barrier methods include:
- Condoms – The condom is a thin, stretchy material that is placed on a penis during intercourse. It prevents semen from entering the body.
- Diaphragms – A diaphragm is a shallow latex cup that is inserted into the vagina. It fits over the cervix, blocking sperm from entering the uterus.
- Cervical caps – A cervical cap is a small, soft cup that is inserted into the vagina. It fits over the cervix, blocking sperm from entering the uterus.
Hormonal methods prevent pregnancy by altering hormone levels in the body, making it unfeasible for pregnancy to occur. Some common hormonal methods of contraception include:
- The contraceptive pill – The contraceptive pill is a tiny tablet taken each day that acts on the hormones in your body to prevent pregnancy.
- Injectable contraceptives – These are injections into the body of hormones that can prevent pregnancy for up to three months.
- Implants – Implants are thin tubes placed under the skin that slowly release hormones that prevent pregnancy.
Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy if unprotected intercourse occurs. Emergency contraception should be taken as soon as possible after intercourse. It doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections, so you must still take steps to protect yourself. Some common types of emergency contraception include:
- The Emergency Contraceptive Pill – The emergency contraceptive pill can be taken after unprotected intercourse to reduce the risk of pregnancy. It must be taken within 72 hours of intercourse.
- Copper-based Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) – These can be quickly inserted by a healthcare professional to prevent pregnancy. They are effective for up to five days after intercourse.
Choosing the right contraception for you depends on your lifestyle and health. Speak to your doctor or healthcare provider for advice on the best type of contraception for you.