What is Contraception
Before we start explaining what methods exist to let us prevent unwanted pregnancy, let us start with the basics. Contraception definition - contraception is the practice of using various tools, devices and methods to artificially prevent pregnancy after having sexual intercourse. These tools and methods are usually referred to as contraceptives. Let is explore them in more detail.
Birth Control Options Explained
Found below are some of the most common contraceptive methods available today.
Each one can be described in depth, but we will refrain from providing lengthy explanations to all but a few of these types of birth control:
- Barrier Contraception - as the name implies, this method is build around the concept of physically blocking the direct access of sperm into the uterus during intercourse. The most common tools used here are condoms and diaphragms.
- Spermicides - Certain substances when applied to the inner lining of the vagina can tie down the sperm released during intercourse, artificially preventing pregnancy. These substances can be applied in different way, using creams, gels, foams, vaginal contraceptive film, and suppositories.
- Mixed Contraceptives - these combine two or more methods listed above in an attempt to get the best of all the effects they provide. A contraceptive sponge is a good example of one such devices - it physically stops the sperm, and, being coated in a specially designed spermicide, provides a second layer of protections from unwanted pregnancy.
- Surgical contraception - sometimes referred to as sterilization, it is an option to permanently prevent a person from either becoming pregnant in case of women, or completely removing the possibility of impregnation on case of men. Permanent male birth control option is much more simple than its female counterpart, and is considered much safer.
Hormonal Contraceptive Methods
Hormonal contraception is a very popular birth control option for women nowadays, mainly due to the fact that it is extremely effective (under <1% pregnancy rate after having unprotected sex), accessible, fairly cheap, safe, and can in fact bring various beneficial effects to a female organism. Hormonal contraception is build on the premise of taking certain hormones to achieve the desired effects. All hormonal contraceptives essentially work the same way - when the body detects extra amounts of particular hormones in the system, it enables various processes that eventually make pregnancy virtually impossible.
Hormonal contraceptive types of birth control themselves are usually divided by the method by which they deliver the hormones into the organism:
Birth Control Pills
Oral contraceptives containing hormonal compounds are perhaps the most common variety of hormonal birth control options. Birth control pills taken daily in order to deliver their beneficial effects and provide protection from unwanted pregnancy. Some of the most common brands of drugs in this category include Alesse and Ovral L (Lo Ovral), which we have dedicated their individual articles to better explain their traits and effects.
Birth Control Implant
A small pin-shaped device is placed under the skin of one of your arms - this device slowly releases small doses of hormones into your system, providing lasting effects. The device itself is barely noticeable and rarely brings any discomfort on its own, but requires a professional physician to remove.
Birth Control Patch
A small adhesive patch is applied to the skin which steadily releases hormones that prevent pregnancy. The main advantage of birth control patch is that unlike a birth control implant, it can be conveniently removed on your own should you desire it. The downside is that it still is a patch, a band-aid, and it can accidentally get undone and out of contact with the skin, rendering it ineffective without you knowing it. And, even if you keep a close eye on it and keep it tightly sealed, it still provides a certain degree of discomfort and requires attention.
Birth Control Shot
A more direct option to deliver hormones into the system, this method allows women to enjoy all of the benefits of hormonal contraceptives without actually having to perform any procedures for extended periods of time. Commonly, a birth control shot is taken every 12 weeks to renew its effects, during which time it is safe to have sex without the risk of unplanned pregnancy. The main downside here is that you will have no way to cancel the effects of a shot before its effects run out, for example if you experience certain unpleasant side effects from the drug, or if you want to get pregnant.
If you want to know more about birth control pills and how you can use them to prevent unwanted pregnancy, please refer to other articles on oral contraceptives found on this website.