4 Ways To Prevent Unplanned Pregnancies

Birth control through contraception is crucial for family planning and avoiding unwanted pregnancy. It can be achieved through physical and chemical methods. Unlike permanent contraception like sterilization, most of these common birth control methods are inexpensive and have different levels of effectiveness. Here are some types of birth control methods and options that can be used for avoiding unwanted pregnancy.

Male condom
It is one of the most common types of birth control methods and options. Male condoms are a thin covering made from latex. It is used for covering the penis for protection against unwanted pregnancy and STDs (Sexually Transmitted Disease). Although male condoms are an inexpensive yet effective way for birth control, women are still recommended to use emergency contraceptive pills to avoid unwanted pregnancy in case the condom breaks.

Emergency contraceptive pills
Also referred to as “morning after” pills, emergency contraceptive pills are a type of chemical birth control that can be used by women. Doctors recommend taking emergency contraceptive pills within 72 to 120 hours of sexual intercourse to temporarily block the process of ovulation. Levonorgestrel and Ulipristal pills are two types of emergency contraceptive pills that are prescription-based or available over the counter. Doctors suggest that emergency contraceptive pills are about 90 percent effective. However, they might not work if the woman has already ovulated. Apart from emergency contraceptive pills, there are other birth control options that can help avoid unwanted pregnancy for a longer duration.

Intrauterine device or IUD is a small, flexible, T- shaped female contraceptive device that is placed inside the womb (uterus). Copper IUDs block the sperm from fertilizing the egg, thereby preventing fertilization, and can be kept inside the womb for almost ten years. Progestin IUDs work by thickening the mucus so that the sperms cannot reach the egg for fertilization. Unlike copper IUDs, these are effective for about five years. Progestin IUDs reduce the lining of the uterus resulting in lighter menstrual bleeding. While copper IUDs may cause painful and heavy periods in some women, progestin IUDs usually cause irregular bleeding. However, the side effects of using progestin IUDs last for not more than six to twelve months. Both the IUDs can be removed using a simple procedure once the couple is ready to have a baby.

Another effective common type of birth control method, minipill or progestin-only pill does not contain estrogen hormone. Similar to progestin IUDs, it works by thickening the cervical mucus, thereby blocking the sperm from fertilizing the eggs. Minipill has the same side effect as that of progestin IUDs as these also reduce uterus lining, resulting in lighter menstrual bleeding. However, minipill is a good alternative for estrogen-powered pills for women who are breastfeeding. These are both prescription-based and can be obtained directly from a pharmacist. Doctors suggest that minipill is more than 90 percent effective in avoiding unwanted pregnancy.

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