Birth Control and Preventing Unwanted Pregnancy

When you hear the words "birth control," you may think first of the Pill, but birth control covers a much wider range than only that.

There are many methods that a couple can use to prevent or delay pregnancy. This article will explain the different contraceptive options so that you can choose the one that is just right for you.

A lot of couples are concerned about the size of their family as a response to the need to be more financially and emotionally prepared for the challenges of having a large brood of children. For that reason, contraception has become a serious and necessary issue for many couples. But even with all the advances in science and medicine, many are still surprised and overwhelmed by unplanned marriages. The reason for this is simply the lack of information about methods of contraception and family planning.

Here are a list of practical and effective methods of contraception that all married couples should be informed about:

1. The Pill - It is still the most widely accepted birth control method. It is a drug that contains estrogen and progesterone - hormones that change how the body works and prevents pregnancy. The birth control pill suppresses ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus around the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to reach the uterus to fertilize the egg cells.

Some studies show that the use of these so-called combination pills helps lower the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. However, scientific evidence also shows that the use of the pill also increases risk for cervical and liver cancer.

The side effects associated with the pill varies from one woman to another. Some of the possible side effects include nausea, spotting between periods, depression, weigh gain, among others. The pill is not recommended for those who are diabetic, women with high blood pressure, and smokers who are over 35 years old. The pill is generally marked as 99% effective as a birth control method.

2. The Condom - A thin latex rubber sheath that fits over the erect penis and bars the sperm from entry into the cervix. It is inexpensive, convenient, and widely available. The main advantage of using a condom is that it can protect the user from contracting sexually transmitted disease including HIV and AID. However, the most common complaint about the condom is that some men find it uncomfortable and that it lessens sexual pleasure.

3. Injectable Contraceptive - Injectable contraceptives contain the hormone called Medroxy Progestorone Acetate and prevents ovulation for three months. This method can be used by breastfeeding mothers and offers the woman both privacy and ease. However, the injectable offers no protection against STDs and the effects of the shot are not immediately reversible once you have been injected.

4. Norplant - This method involves the surgical insertion of six matchstick-sized rods in the underside of the upper arm. These rods release a low-dose hormone called levonogrestrel which thickens the cervical mucus, thins the lining of the womb, and inhibits ovulation for as long as five years. The drawback is that some women experienced skin irritation, headaches, dizziness, acne, weight gain, hair loss and nausea.

Barriers and spermicides

* Spermicides - These include foam, film, jellies, and suppositories that contain a sperm-killing chemical, usually nonoxynol-9. * Barrier methods - These involve mechanical barriers to sperm, such as male and female condoms. The diaphragm often is included as a barrier, although its real function is to hold spermicidal jelly over the cervix.

What contraception is right for you?

The right answer can really come only from you and your partner. Talk to your health care professional about safe and proven birth control methods. Always remember its best to use some form of birth control method rather than leaving everything to chance. Every couple should be responsible enough to practice safe sex and prevent unwanted pregnancy.

Risks vs. benefits

Speaking of condoms, contraceptives sometimes offer other benefits besides preventing pregnancy. Many of the barrier methods also help to protect against sexually transmitted infections. Some of the hormonal methods can improve acne, treat menstrual cramps, and even decrease the chance of your developing certain cancers later in life. Each article on contraceptive options will note the noncontraceptive benefits as well as any risks.

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