Whether you're married or not, an unwanted pregnancy will almost always set back your plans. It can wreak emotional havoc, and if you're not financially stable enough to start a family, a baby can wreak havoc with your bank balance. Very inconvenient, to say the least. With a little bit of care and caution you can save yourself a lot of grief and heartache. No one is denying that babies are wonderful, but if you've got a choice to have one now or later, you should exercise that choice. Wisely.
Here are some contraceptives currently available in the market. Take a good look!
The Combined Oral Contraceptive
What: The Pill
How to use it: The pill has to be taken at approximately the same time every day, with a gap of around 5 to 7 days every month, during which time you get your period.
Reliability: 99%, as long as it is taken regularly, and at the same time.
More info: The pill has its share of advantages and disadvantages. It reduces the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer, helps clear acne and reduces cramps and migraines. Side effects include spotting between periods, weight gain, nausea. If nausea persists, you should speak to your gynaec about switching to another method of contraception.
What: An injection
How to use it: Your gynaec or doctor will give you a jab of the needle every three months.
More info: You needn't bother with any other method of birth control once you've taken a shot. Of course, this doesn't protect you against STD's, so it's always best to pair any method of birth control with a condom.
Progestogen Only Pill
What: The Mini Pill
How to use it: It has to be taken everyday at roughly the same time, just as a regular pill. However, while you take a break for around 7 days with the pill, the mini pill has to be taken continuously.
More info: This has similar side effects as the pill, but the benefits far outweigh any disadvantages.
The Male Condom
What: A condom is a thin rubber sheath
How to use it: The condom is inserted over the penis just before intercourse.
Reliability: 97%. There is also a risk that the condom may break but this rarely happens.
More info: The condom is the only method of birth control that also protects you against STD's.
The Female Condom
What: A thin polyurethane sheath with two flexible rings at either end. One ring lies at the closed end of the sheath and serves as an insertion mechanism and an anchor against the cervix. The other ring remains outside the vagina.
How to use it: The sheath is inserted into the vagina just before intercourse.
More info: The female condom also helps protect against certain types of STD's, but a male condom is more reliable in this matter.
What: A rubber disk which the woman places into her vagina so that it covers the opening to her uterus. The diaphragm kills the sperm and thus prevents pregnancy.
How to use it: You first need to get fitted by your doctor. Add the spermicide and insert it into the vagina. The diaphragm can be inserted several hours before intercourse.
Reliability: 94%. However, the diaphragm is less reliable initially, when you are still getting used to the proper method of insertion. Also, it may move during sex.
More info: Once you have a baby, an abortion or a miscarriage, or if you gain a lot of weight, you need to be refitted for a new diaphragm.
What: Intra Uterine Device
How to use it: This T-shaped device is inserted into the womb by a gynaecologist or nurse.
More info: Once inserted, the IUD is effective for up to 5 years.
What if you've already gone and done it without using contraception? Here are your options:
What: The Morning-After Pill
How to use it: Just take it the morning after you've had sex, to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. It can be taken up to 3 days afterwards.
More info: This pill is very strong and has quite a few side effects, which include nausea, throwing up and incredibly harsh cramps. Some people swear it's easier to get aborted!
What: A type of Progestogen Only Pill, a later version of PC4
How to use it: This can be had the same way as the PC4, and can also be taken up to 3 days after you've had sex.
More info: This is an equally reliable method, and has fewer side effects than the PC4.
What if you can't get hold of any of these contraceptive pills within three days? Another option of emergency contraception is to get an IUD inserted into the womb. However, this must be done within seven days of having had sex.
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- The Indiaparenting Team