There are many types of contraceptives which are available and they enable individuals to choose the type of birth control that best fits their lifestyle and budget. Furthermore, these contraceptives allow you to enjoy s*x without the risk of getting pregnant.
Most types of contraceptives work by:
- Preventing an egg from being released every month (hormones)
- Preventing sperms from reaching the egg (barrier and some IUD methods)
- Blocking the reproductive function – in men or women (sterilization)
- Preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus (hormones)
Types of contraceptives For Birth Control
- The Pill
The contraceptive pill will prevent you from getting pregnant in 95% of cases and it comes close to providing 99% protection if you take one pill every day as prescribed.
The pill can come in two forms: the combined contraceptive pill (containing the hormones estrogen and progestin) or the mini-pill (only progestin). In the case of the mini-pill, it’s important that you take your pill every day at the same time (you should not be late by more than three hours).
- The Male Condom
The male condom is a strong contender to the title of most common contraception method. It is easy to use, affordable and offers the best protection against STIs (e.g. gonorrhoea, chlamydia, HIV).
- The Female Condom
The female condom is one of the few types of contraception that you can buy over-the-counter at pharmacies and grocery stores without a prescription. It offers 95% effective protection for pregnancy, as well as some protection against STIs.
- The Diaphragm
The contraceptive diaphragm is placed inside the vagina to prevents the sperm from getting into the uterus. This doesn’t protect against STIs. It must be coated with spermicide each time before s*x and a doctor needs to show you how to use it.
- The Cervical Cap – Femcap
The cervical cap (sold as Femcap) is a thimble-shaped latex cup, basically like a diaphragm but smaller. It needs to be used with a spermicide. It must remain in the vagina at least 6 hours after s*x, but it also has to be taken out within 48 hours after s*x.
The disadvantage of this types of contraceptives such as the Femcap or the diaphragm is that their effectiveness – 92 to 95% protection in ideal use – is lower than other types (98-99%) and that they offer only partial protection against STIs (e.g. no HIV protection).
- The Intrauterine Device (IUD)
You have the choice between two types of IUDs: hormonal or copper-based devices. Hormonal and copper IUDs are part of the few long-term solutions, meaning that you can keep them inside the vagina for up to five or ten years respectively.
- The Contraceptive Implant
Another type of contraceptives that offer long-term protection is the contraceptive implant. It lasts for about three years on average. Just like IUDs, the implant does not protect against STIs.
- The Contraceptive Sponge
The sponge is a small, round-shaped foam (polyurethane) placed deep inside the vagina. It contains spermicide so that sperm does not get past the foam. You should leave the sponge inside the vagina for at least six hours after s*x, but remove it within 24 hours following sexual intercourse (to lessen the risk of toxic shock).
Spermicide is a recurrent “ingredient” in contraception because it proves very effective when used in combination with other methods (e.g. diaphragm, sponge). You don’t need a prescription to buy spermicide. Also, it has very few associated side-effects, but keep in mind that it does not protect against STIs.
- The Vaginal Ring
This is a small, transparent plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina and kept for three weeks. You should then remove it during your periods and replace it with a new one after that. It contains the same hormones as the contraceptive pill (progesterone and estrogen), and as well provide the same kind of effective protection and side effects. You will need your doctor’s prescription to buy the ring.
- Natural Family Planning
Although not a device or a pill, this is still a method of contraception. Natural family planning relies on knowing the menstrual cycle (periods) so that couples avoid having sex when the woman is fertile.
The use of contraception is rampant. It is used by anyone who wants to have s*x, but avoid getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted infection.