Let’s face it: avoiding sex can be impossible. If you open the TV to watch the news, or get your daily dose of current events through the Internet, you will often be bombarded by teenage pregnancy news – from around the world.
The point is the “Abstain from Sex” campaign is not that realistic anymore, although there are still a number of women who prefer to preserve their virginity for the right man.
Realistically, the least you can do now is to protect yourself from both unplanned, unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
This is where contraception comes in. Apparently, contraception is more than just using a condom or taking birth control pills. Believe it or not, there is more to it than that, some good, some bad. Here are 10 things you should know about contraception.
1. Condoms Are Effective
Aside from being the most convenient and readily available form of contraception, did you know that condoms, particularly the latex ones, are highly effective?
By effective, this means 98 percent guaranteed to stop you from getting knocked up. This, of course, when used correctly and consistently, condoms can prevent transmission of STDs and HIV and prevent pregnancies.
The operative word is correctly and consistently. Make sure to check the label since condoms have expiration dates, too. Avoid storing condoms in hot areas and if you are keeping one in your wallet, make sure to replace them regularly. More importantly, wear condoms prior to any genital contact to prevent transmission of unwanted diseases.
2. There Is A Birth Control Method Known As The “Patch.”
From the name itself, you can say that this is something you stick on your body. However, this type of patch is different.
Yes, it is placed on the upper arm, lower abdomen or butt, but contains a combination of estrogen and progestin. It is changed once every three weeks, followed by going patch-less for one week.
When used properly, patches can protect you against pregnancy and at the same time, make your period more regular and reduce cramps during red days.
You can even get it for free if you have insurance. The problem with patches is that they can’t protect you against the possible transmission of STD. Also, you might experience side effects such as headaches, breast discomfort, nausea or skin reactions.
3. Cervical Cap To Block The Sperm
You have to admire people for being creative and constantly coming up with different techniques to prevent pregnancy. An example of this is a cervical cap.
Unlike the patch, a cervical cap is a silicone-made, sailor hat-shaped device inserted into the back of your vagina to cover the cervix. As a result, sperm swimming inside are blocked, thereby preventing pregnancy.
A cervical cap is also effective, although not as effective as condoms. All you need to do is to put the cap in your vagina six hours before sexy time, and you can be sure that you won’t get pregnant. The good thing is it can stay inside for up to 48 hours, unlike other form of contraceptives.
Unfortunately, cervical caps cannot effectively protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. Plus, you are at higher risk of getting urinary tract infection and toxic shock syndrome. Oh, and it only comes in four sizes, too, which means this method is not for everyone.
4. Pop The Pills
Aside from condoms, birth control pills are also the most used method because of easier access and availability.
Plus, most ob-gyn doctors will require you to take pills, which are a combination of estrogen and progestin, when you don’t want to get pregnant. Sadly, all things come with side effects, including birth control pills.
First, pills must be taken on a regular basis to prevent unintended pregnancies. When taken precisely as directed, only one in every 100 women can get pregnant.
Here comes the tricky part: the side effects. You have to monitor this closely since it includes nausea, headache, lower libido, and worse, blood clots and increased blood pressure, among others.
Although effective, be careful when taking birth control pills. Believe it or not, the World Health Organization listed birth control pills as carcinogenic to humans.
5. IUD: An Effective Protection Against Pregnancy
It may look like a funny instrument but so far, the IUD provides an effective protection against pregnancy, which can last a long time.
In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine reported IUD as 20 times better in preventing pregnancies compared to other methods.
IUD is a small T-shaped device inserted in a woman’s uterus. It contains either copper or progestin hormone, giving you protection for years.
Apparently, it doesn’t offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. At the same time, some women reportedly experienced spotting during periods, increased cramping and heavier periods.
IUD can be pretty expensive compared to other birth control methods. The good news is, you can get this birth control method with no out-of-pocket costs. However, you may need to pay for the insertion and removal of the device since labor is not always part of the insurance coverage.
6. Implant Underneath Your Arm
Okay, birth control methods are getting weirder each day. If you haven’t recovered from caps inserted in your vagina, then read this.
There is method known as implant and less than one in 1,000 women can get pregnant when using this method.
Implant is a small rod inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It is designed to release the hormone progestin, which is effective in preventing pregnancies.
The good news is that it offers protection for up to three years and reduces menstrual cramps. Unfortunately, it can’t protect you against STDs. Other side effects include weight gain, headaches and nausea. Worse, you can get skin infection on the area where the rod was inserted.
7. Pills On Your Vagina
You had a big taco for lunch to reward yourself for a job well done in an earlier meeting. It turns out that the sauce used was expired already so yes, you got food poisoned.
Since you are on pills, you are worried that the effects of the pill are compromised. After all, you can’t stop vomiting and no matter how hard you try, you can’t keep everything down.
In this case, your vagina can help. Instead of taking it orally, try inserting two pills into your vagina everyday to protect you against unwanted pregnancy.
Make sure to use two pills, since absorption by your vagina is not as good as the digestive tract. Surprisingly, pills will dissolve down there and absorbed by the bloodstream. Just follow your regular scheduled intake to maintain contraceptive protection.
Apparently, not all good things can last. This method is for short-term use only. Once your stomach has settled in, go back to taking the pill. It is still more effective than two pills inside your vagina.
8. Pills Are Not Responsible For Your Weight Gain
Admit it. One of the reasons why you don’t want to use birth control pills is because of the possibility of gaining weight.
The early generations of birth control pills contained higher doses of hormones, causing women to gain weight.
The good news is modern pills learned to strike a balance among hormones and prevent you from gaining weight, unless you take progestin-only pills.
In fact, numerous studies show that there is no link between weight gain and pills. The reason why there is connection between the two is because most girls start using pills at an early age and eventually gain weight as they age.
Also, most women who take pills are in a relationship and as funny as it may sound, women who are in a relationship tend to gain weight.
9. Want To Get Pregnant? Then Stop Immediately
This is a common misconception among people. If you are trying to conceive, you don’t have to wait for three to six months before you can pregnant.
As soon as you stopped taking the pill, your body comes back to normal right away. At the same time, stopping the pill won’t make you more prone to miscarriage.
Of course, you may experience a condition called post-pill amenorrhea. This is when you don’t get your menstrual period within several months after stopping with birth control pills. If that is the case, talk to a health care provider right away.
10. You Can Get Contraception For Free
That is the beauty of being an American citizen. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you don’t need to spend anything to get access to contraception, or at least spend only little from your hard-earned money.
Based on the said law, private health insurance plans must cover birth control for free. Yes, you don’t need to pay for anything in case you simply love sex but don’t want to get pregnant. Of course, there are exemptions.
Religious employers are exempted from the Obamacare. Also, although FDA-approved prescription contraceptives are covered, the law does not require that all brands be covered. This means you might shell out a bit if your want branded contraceptives or switch to generic ones to get them for free.
So, Any Questions?