September 26th has been pronounced as world contraception day to increase the awareness among couples about different contraceptives methods available. Birth control plays an important role in avoiding unwanted pregnancies & improve spacing between pregnancies to have a healthy mother & baby. As per statistics, only 40% women of reproductive age in our country use effective contraceptive method despite having access to family planning clinics. This emphasises the importance of increasing the awareness among both men & women.
‘Contraception is not just women responsibility’.
They are different types of contraceptive methods available, which can be roughly divided into temporary methods, permanent methods & emergency contraception.
Temporary methods can be used as long as birth control is needed & stopped when planning pregnancy, fertility returns back in days to months depending on what method was being used.
1) Natural methods without any medications, by knowing cycle length, noting the change in vaginal discharge consistency, noting change in body temperature etc… But the failure rate is very high if not careful.
2) Barrier methods includes male & female condoms & others like vaginal sponge, diaphragm etc. A very important advantage of barrier method is that it prevents sexually transmitted infections, but the failure rates are high.
3) Pills or certain injections which includes hormones to be taken on a daily basis. They are very effective, but contraindicated in some women like history hypertension, blood clots, stroke etc.
4) Devices like intrauterine copper T or hormonal devices in uterus or inner arm which are very effective and long acting are the best.
Permanent methods include tubectomy in women & vasectomy in men. Vasectomy is safest, best & preferred method with less risks compared to tubectomy at any given time. Tubectomy on other hand requires anaesthesia & can be done as an open method or as a keyhole surgery.
Emergency contraception is now being widely available as over the counter pill and is called morning after pill, should be used as a backup method or in case a condom accidents. This includes hormonal pill or intrauterine device that can be taken within 72hrs of unprotected sexual intercourse to avoid pregnancy. But it is always important to follow up with a urine pregnancy test after 3 weeks & start long-acting methods as soon as possible.
With increasing westernisation, premarital sexual intercourse, multiple sexual partners it is very important to know methods to prevent sexually shared infections. ‘Double Dutch’ method is using a condom along with hormonal method, together protects from pregnancy as well as sexually shared infections.
‘It’s never too late to start something new’.
conclude, using no birth control method risks oneself’s & partners physical, mental & social wellbeing. Be smart & start the method of your choice & that suites you by getting in touch with Contraception Clinic & experts.
Dr Sri Harika Bonam
Consultant Obstetrician & Gyneacologist & Lap Surgeon,
Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, Jubilee Hills.