This is a question asked by many women who find themselves overwhelmed by the many choices available. Despite the many contraceptive options, it is sometimes very hard to find the one that is right for you.
Choosing a contraceptive method is personal; it has to be what is right for you the individual and not solely which one has the best overall protection against pregnancy. Therefore, you have to take into consideration your past medical history, obstetric history, family history, sexual practices and existing or current health status. Your Religion or denomination sometimes plays a major role in your decision to use or not to use contraceptives and if so, which method is acceptable.
This decision too is often made as a couple especially for those who are married, getting married soon or who have a steady relationship. Partners are encouraged to help choose which contraceptive method is best as they can be vital in your compliance.
Some common Contraceptive methods include:
Barrier Methods – this include the use of condoms (male or female), cervical cap/diaphragm or spermicides. Condoms are very effective as they not only protect you from pregnancy, they also protect you from many sexually transmitted illnesses. Their effectiveness is however highly dependent on how it is used, that is, how it is rolled onto the penis, or in the case of a female condom, how is it inserted into the vagina and the penis guided into it.
Also, rupture may occur if the condom is expired, inappropriately stored or inadequately lubricated. Allergy to latex may pose a problem for couples considering this method as most male condoms are made of latex.
Cervical Caps are commonly used with a spermicide preparation however they can be used independently. They are fairly safe if used as instructed. It warrants discipline to maintain proper cleaning and storage in order to ensure the best protection for the next use. Again, allergy to latex may pose a problem as this too is also made of latex.
Spermicide preparations are not usually recommended to be used alone as the effectiveness is significantly lowered.
Oral Contraceptives (The Pill) – these are made of hormones; oestrogen and progesterone. Some pills have both hormones (combined) while others are progesterone only. The effectiveness of oral contraceptive depends on the individual taking the pill everyday round about the same time.
Skipping doses significantly reduce the contraceptive protection you desire. Therefore, if you are not fond of taking pills everyday then this method is perhaps not best for you. Forgetting to take the pill may also be a problem but many persons set alarms which serve as a reminder.
Injectable Contraceptives – these are really safe as well. The injectable contraceptive is one injection administered in the arm or buttock every month (usually the combined form), every two months or every three months (usually the progestin only). This method is more suited for individuals who usually forget to take pills daily or who are not fond of taking pills in general.
An injectable contraceptive is very private and that is why many persons like it. It eliminates hiding of pills or condoms from children or nosy family members. Just one visit to your health care provider, get your shot and you’re done. You’re relatively safe until your next due date.
Natural Contraceptive Methods – these include; Abstinence from sexual intercourse, Safe Days (Rhythm Method), Basal Body Temperature Method, Lactation, Withdrawal Method. Apart from Abstinence, natural contraceptives are least effective as their effectiveness is highly dependent on the individual having a regular menstrual cycle which is not the case for many females. Natural Methods are however most accepted by many religious sects.
Implants – this method is administered by a trained healthcare provider by way of a minor surgery. Implants are hormonal and usually inserted in the inner aspect of your non-dominant upper arm. This method is very effective and suitable for persons with an intent for long term contraceptive coverage, example women in the army or women in university. Some implants may last three to five years.
Intrauterine Devices – this method is also hormonal and characteristic of the insertion of the device into the uterus by a trained healthcare provider. It is a long-term method which can provide contraceptive coverage for up to ten years but the individual must be comfortable with inserting her finger in her vagina on a monthly basis to ensure that the device is not displaced.
Permanent Contraceptive Methods – Bilateral tubal ligation (for women) and vasectomy (for men) are seen as permanent contraception. They require invasive surgery and mostly offered to persons in whom pregnancy is a direct threat to their life or persons who have consciously made the decision to not have any more children. A written informed consent is required for the surgery to be done.
Contraceptives are many and varied and must be administered only after the individual is counseled regarding the use of same. All methods of contraceptive should be explored and the advantages and disadvantages of each fully explained.
Most contraceptive methods does not affect your comfort of having sexual intercourse, however if any at all you are in doubt when using any of the methods, it is best to discuss your concern with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Choosing a contraceptive method is not something rushed, take the time and make the decision that is best for you!
If you have any questions or comments feel free to share in the comment section below or email [email protected] our team of health experts will be happy to assist.