Pregnancy is a true blessing for every woman. But it can even become a curse if it is unplanned. Over 40% of pregnancies in Canada are unintended. Also, nearly 11% of women aged 15-44 undergo abortions in Canada every year. The statistics are indeed an eye-opener, especially for women in the 21st century.
To ensure that giving birth to a child remains as blissful it is, women must take control of their pregnancies. And one of the easiest ways to take charge of your pregnancy decisions is by using birth control.
Birth control is one of the most popular ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It is for this reason, there are many birth control methods to choose from. But here’s the catch: Deciding which birth control option is ideal for you is tough for most women.
But no worries!
In this article, you will learn how to decide on the correct birth control method. Continue to read to know more.
How Does Birth Control Work?
Before we jump to knowing how to decide the right birth control method, let us first understand how does birth control work.
Birth control pills contain synthetic forms of hormones such as progestin or estrogen. On consuming these pills, your body undergoes certain changes, which leads to:
- Prevention of ovulation
- Thickening of cervical mucus, which prevents the sperms from reaching the ovum and fertilizing it.
- Changing the lining of the uterus to prevent it so that the embryo doesn’t get implanted.
Which Is The Right Birth Control Method For Me?
Typically, there are five types of birth control methods, each having a different working. However, the primary goals of all these birth control techniques are the same, i.e., prevent unwanted pregnancy.
So, without further ado, let’s understand each of the 5 birth control methods in detail.
1. Short-Acting Hormonal Contraception/Hormonal Birth Control
This method involves regulating estrogen and/or progestin levels to reduce the chances of you getting pregnant. Some commonly known methods include everyday birth control pills, weekly patches, a vaginal ring, or a shot your doctor gives you every three months. In most cases, these methods are about 91% to 95% effective. However, these methods need a prescription.
While the side effects of hormonal birth control can vary, a decrease in period pain, flow, or frequency is one beneficial side effect that many women experience.
2. Long-Term Contraception
Long-term contraception is a great option for those looking for effective, low-maintenance birth control. Common options include an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted into your uterus or an arm implant insertion.
These methods usually last for 3-10 years (depending on the option you choose) and have a 99% success rate.
Both hormonal IUDs and implant work by regulating the progestin levels of your body in the long run. However, copper IUDs do not use hormones; the copper prevents sperm from fertilizing the eggs.
These methods are great options as they don’t need you to do any extra work. Once the implant is done, you’re covered. And the good part is, these can be removed easily anytime if you want to conceive and have a baby. While some women experience minor side effects, including headaches, soreness, discomfort, or weight gain, UIDs and implants benefit women in most cases because of low maintenance.
3. One-Time Barrier Contraception
Common methods include condoms, diaphragms, spermicide, cervical caps, and sponges. While each of these works differently, they all create a “barrier” during sex to prevent sperms from fusing with the egg. In addition, condoms help prevent both men and women from getting STIs and STDs. These methods are easily available at medical stores and don’t need any prescription.
One thing to note here is that one-time contraception can be used only during sex. Also, you must use it every time you are involved in sex. One-time barrier methods are usually 71% to 88% effective, depending on how correctly you use them.
4. Permanent Contraception
For women, tubal ligation (and vasectomy for men are simple surgical procedures effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. In most cases, these are 100% effective and are the best option for those confident about not wanting to have children in the future.
Typically, it takes a few days to recover from these procedures. Also, these don’t impact your sexual function or menstrual cycle and don’t affect your day-to-day life in any way. This is why permanent contraception is one of the most preferred birth control options.
While is it possible to reverse tubal ligation or vasectomy, there isn’t any guarantee that your fertility will return.
5. Emergency Contraception
These are the most common method of birth control these days. If you have unsafe sex or your birth control fails, this method can help. There are usually two types of pills available and a copper IUD. One type of pill, commonly known as “Plan B,” is available in pharmacies and easily available without any prescription. These pills can prevent pregnancy up to three days after sex. On the other hand, Copper IUDs need you to consult a doctor and are usually 100% effective (if inserted within five days of intercourse).
One thing to note here is, emergency contraception methods should not be considered as primary birth control. But it is just a backup in case any other birth control method fails. It is always advisable to rely on other methods first.
To conclude, the right birth control method depends on you! To make a choice, always consider your goals, lifestyle, frequency of sexual activity, your and your partner’s comfort, and future plans.
Further, since every woman’s body differs, what works for one may not necessarily work for others. But what matters is the correct way of using the method you end up choosing. You can always consult a gynecologist to guide you better on the subject and help you make the right choice. Take your time and decide what is best for your health and your future.