Getting frisky doesn’t have to be risky business. Not when there are many contraception methods out there to suit different needs.
Contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy and some types will also protect you from sexually transmissible infections (STIs). If you’re wondering how to prevent pregnancy without putting a stop to sex, keep reading. We have put together a list of five strategies to help you.
How To Prevent Pregnancy: Types Of Contraceptives
You might find yourself asking: Which method will be best for me and my lifestyle? Which method protects against STIs? What about the convenience of use? Possible side-effects? Cost? How effective will it be? Here’s a list of options to choose from. No matter your lifestyle, there’s something for you.
1. The Condom
The condom is the only form of contraception that protects you from most STIs and prevents pregnancy. You’ll find it on-demand, it is hormone-free and mobile enough to go with you wherever you go. And it comes in male and female varieties.
You roll the male condoms onto an erect penis. This way it acts as a physical barrier. It prevents sexual fluids from passing from you to your partner during sex. Right before sex, you place your female condom into the vagina. Based on typical use, the female condom is not quite as effective as the male latex condom and you may need some practice getting used to it.
Pros: It’s the best protection against STIs; it can be used on demand; it’s hormone-free.
Cons: It can tear or come off during sex if not used properly; some people are allergic to latex condoms.
2. The Oral Contraceptive Pill
It’s a little tablet taken once a day. There are a few different types of pills to choose from, so it’s about finding the one that’s right for you. The combined pill contains estrogen and progestin. But the mini pill contains only one hormone, progestin. The pill has many benefits, however remembering to take it on time is a must.
Pros: Highly effective when used correctly; permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex; some pills may even reduce heavy and painful periods and/or may have a positive effect on acne.
Cons: Forgetting to take your pill means it won’t be as effective; only women can take the Pill; is not suitable for women who can’t take estrogen-containing contraception; it does not protect against STIs.
The pill is only available when you get a prescription from a medical professional so visit your local doctor.
3. Intrauterine Device (IUD)
This small, T-shaped device is made from materials containing progesterone or plastic and copper. A trained healthcare provider fits it inside your uterus. It’s a long-acting and reversible method of contraception. The IUD can stay in place for 3 to 10 years, depending on the type.
Some IUDs contain hormones that are gradually released to prevent pregnancy. The IUD is also an effective emergency contraceptive if your doctor inserts it within five days (120 hours) of your having unprotected sex.
IUDs containing coppers are 99% effective and the ones containing hormones are 99.8% effective. So you’re about as protected as you possibly can be by a contraceptive method.
Cons: You’ll have irregular bleeding and spotting in the first six months of use; you’ll need a trained healthcare provider for insertion and removal; it does not protect against STIs.
4. The Contraceptive Implant
With this method, doctors fix a small, flexible rod under the skin in your upper arm, releasing a form of the hormone progesterone. The hormone stops your ovary from releasing the egg. It also thickens the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to enter the womb. The implant requires a small procedure using a local anesthetic to fit and remove the rod. You’ll need to replace the implant after three years.
Pros: Highly effective; doesn’t interrupt sex; is a long-lasting, reversible contraceptive option.
Cons: Requires a trained healthcare provider for insertion and removal; sometimes there can be irregular bleeding initially; it does not protect against STIs.
5. Some other instruments for how to prevent pregnancy:
The Contraceptive Injection: The injection contains a synthetic version of the hormone progestogen. Doctors inject your buttock or upper arm, and over the next 12 weeks, the hormone flows into your bloodstream.
Emergency Contraception Pill (The ‘Morning After’ Pill): The Emergency Contraception Pill prevents pregnancy after unprotected sex, the condom broke during sex, or rape. Called the ‘Morning After’ pill, it is actually effective up to five days after you’ve had unprotected sex.
Contraceptive Ring: This method consists of a flexible plastic ring in your vagina, constantly releasing hormones. It stays in place for three weeks, and then you remove it, take a week off then pop another one in.
Diaphragm: A diaphragm is a small, soft silicone dome. You place it in your vagina to stop sperm from entering the uterus. It forms a physical barrier between the sperm and your egg, like a condom.
This article was first published on AfricaParent.com
Editor’s note: This picture was used for illustrative purposes
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