Different birth control options for women? Which is right for you?

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Parenthood can be one of the most rewarding experiences if it comes at the right time. That is why birth control is a crucial subject for any loving couple. With the advent of science, technology and society women have been empowered with an array of contraception options to choose from.

While most of us understand the importance of birth control, it’s equally important to understand the various choices and the features of each type of contraception. Remember there is no “best” method of birth control. Each has its pros and cons which makes choosing the one for your personal use all the more difficult.

What helps is asking yourself relevant questions along the lines of how sexually active you are? Your plans to have children and your comfort level with the available options of contraceptives. Once you are clear on the above stated parameters you can go ahead and choose the birth control method best suited for you. Here, we list a couple the popular ones for your reference.

Condoms
These are the most popular form of birth control and for good reason! Apart from preventing unplanned pregnancy it also protects from any sexually transmitted disease. They are perhaps the most inexpensive option which makes them a huge hit in today’s world. Though popular for men, condoms are also available for women giving them more control over their sex lives and birth control options. On the downside they are known to be only 85% effective and not preferred from a pleasure point of view.

Pills
These are the oldest form of birth control known to have a failure rate of 1% – 8% if used effectively. The pill is not just for contraception but has other advantages. It can lead to less painful menstrual cramps, protects against pelvic inflammatory disease, infections and slashes the risk of endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer. The disadvantage of being on the pill is that most women can never be regular with them. Some research has shown that the pill can cause spotting, breast tenderness, nausea and low sex drive.

Diaphragms
Diaphragms are a temporary yet long term solution for women who do not prefer condoms and pills and are allergic to hormones. A diaphragm is a shallow, dome-shaped cup with a flexible rim which is made of silicone and inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix. It is a safe and effective form of birth control that can last up to two years. However, using a diaphragm prevents pregnancy 85% of the times and can increase your risk for urinary tract infections.

Patch, ring and shots
These methods of contraception involve hormones and are more convenient than being on the pill. The patch is a small piece of plastic that sticks on your body and needs to be replaced weekly while the ring is placed inside your vagina for three weeks at a stretch. Their side effects are similar to those of being on the pill. Some women have also known to develop rashes while using the patch.

A shot of progestin in the arm can help prevent unplanned pregnancy for three months at a stretch. This needs to be administered by a medical professional. They have known to cause irregular bleeding and lower bone density. You will also need to plan your pregnancy in case you are on the shots.

Intrauterine devices or IUDs
An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a T-shaped piece of plastic that’s inserted into the uterus that helps delay pregnancy by up to 5 years. You can choose between IUD that contains either copper or progestin. The former can also be used for emergency contraception if it’s inserted within five days of unprotected sex. The disadvantages are increase in cramping and danger for pelvic inflammatory disease.

Keep in mind that no birth control method is fool proof. A woman’s chances of getting pregnant are lowest if the chosen method is used correctly every time she has intercourse with her partner.

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