Birth control is the broad spectrum term which encompasses the various techniques or processes that deliberately helps to reduce or prevent the chances of pregnancy.
From times immemorial, in fact from 1900 B.C. people have been adopting various birth control practices to thwart pregnancy. Today, one can choose from simple OTC birth control pills to complex IUD or intra uterine devices as birth control options.
Types of Birth Control
There are numerous methods to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Depending on individuals needs, people can choose from a variety of birth control devices. Through this article, we will familiarize ourselves with some common types of birth control.
The diaphragm is a dome shaped birth control device made from silicone or soft latex. The diaphragm acts as a cervical barrier and prevents sperm from fertilizing the egg. The diaphragm is never used alone but instead is used in conjunction with a spermicide. Since diaphragms come is various sizes, women should consult their gynecologist to decide on the ideal diaphragm size. To provide maximum protection, the diaphragm should remain in the vagina for at least eight hours after the last ejaculation.
Birth Control Pills
One of the best ways a woman can protect herself from unwanted pregnancies is through the usage of birth control pills. Birth control pills are also referred to as the ‘pill’ or ‘oral contraception’.
Oral contraception is prepared from a cocktail of hormones including progestin and estrogen which stops a woman’s body from releasing an egg for fertilization. The birth control pills also aid in preventing unwanted pregnancies by thickening the cervical mucus.
Intra Uterine Devices
The intra uterine devices are surgically implanted inside a woman’s uterus and can provide complete protection from unwanted pregnancies for up to a year. There are basically two types of IUD’s. The traditional intra uterine device is made from copper. A newer hormone releasing IUD device has also been invented.
The copper IUD’s typically function by impairing the mobility of the sperm and thus preventing the sperm from fertilizing the egg. The hormone releasing intra uterine system works by releasing small quantities of the hormone progestogen.
A barrier device, the condom not only helps to reduce the chances of unwanted pregnancies, but it also provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases. There are special condoms for men and women.
While the female condom is inserted inside a woman’s vagina, the male condom is placed over the erect penis. Male condoms typically provide more protection against pregnancy and STD’s as compared to female condoms.
An extremely simple birth control technique specially designed for women that offer protection from unwanted pregnancies is the patch. This is a form of hormonal contraception. The birth control patch is made from thin plastic. The self adhesive patch can be placed on a woman’s buttocks, her arms or abdomen. The birth control patch has to be changed every week.
The birth control patch works by delivering high doses of estrogen into the blood stream. Women should avoid long term usage of birth control patches as there is a heightened risk of suffering blood clots.
Another effective long term birth control option for women is implants. Implants are slender sticks which are approximately the size of a regular matchstick. These sticks are implanted under the upper arm skin. Implants are a wonderful birth control option for overweight women.