A) What is birth control?
Birth control is what you to do prevent unwanted pregnancy. It is also called contraception.
B) What are the different choices available?
There are various options available in the contraceptive basket.It is important that you know about all of them so that you can choose the method that suits you the best. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. These have been discussed briefly below.
C) Is there any failure rate associated?
Every method has its own failure rate and no method provides 100% protection. The failure rate of methods that are user dependent (eg: birth control pills, condoms) also depends upon the way they are being used (eg: forgetting to take pills regularly increases their chances of failure). In the event of a contraceptive accident (eg: condom slippage/ rupture or forgotten pills), one can resort to emergency contraception.
D) Are there any side effects of using birth control?
Again, each method has its own side effects (briefed below). But unless a particular method is absolutely contraindicated, the advantages of using birth control definitely outweigh the disadvantages. It helps to space pregnancies, avoid unwanted pregnancies, and improve the overall reproductive health of a woman.
E) Does it prevent me from sexually transmitted infection?
Not all methods of birth control do but barrier methods(male/female condoms, diaphragms) prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections up to 80%
F) Are there any natural birth control methods?
- Lactational amenorrhoea (LAM)- if you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, you are not having your periods and your child is less than 6 months old, LAM is 98% effective as a contraceptive method.
- Withdrawal method
- Calendar method
G) What are permanent methods?
A permanent method is one where your tubes can be tied to a keyhole surgery. Your husband can also undergo this procedure. But be doubly sure before going through it as it is irreversible.
METHODS OF CONTRACEPTION
(note: this is not a comprehensive discussion and provides only a broad overview of commonly used methods. Discuss with your doctor for further details)
Birth control pills
- USAGE- One pill needs to be taken every day for 21 days. The new pack has to be started after a gap of 7 days. Newer low dose pills are very safe.
- SIDE EFFECTS- Can cause mild nausea, headache or heaviness in the breast.
- FAILURE RATE- If used correctly, v low failure rate of 1-2%.
- ADVANTAGES- Highly effective, Corrects anaemia, Reduces pain & bleeding in periods, Long-term use protects against cancer of ovary and uterus, Future fertility returns in the very next cycle of stopping the pills.
- DISADVANTAGES- User dependent- has to remember to take one pill every day, Combined pills cannot be taken in first 6 months of breastfeeding, Not suitable if you are v obese, a heavy smoker, have liver disease, high BP, migraine or heart disease.
Copper T (intrauterine device)
- USAGE- Inserted by doctor in clinic
- FAILURE RATE- <1%
- SIDE EFFECTS- Can cause heavy bleeding in periods for first 3-6 cycles after insertion, Some can have recurrent vaginal infection, Can rarely get expelled (<1% )
- ADVANTAGES- One-time insertion provides protection for 3-5 years, Highly effective, Can be put during breastfeeding, immediately after abortion also, Fertility returns immediately after removal
- DISADVANTAGES- Does not provide protection from infections
DMPA (Depo Provera)
- USAGE- One injection to be taken every 12 weeks
- FAILURE RATE- <1%
- ADVANTAGES- Non-user dependent, Highly effective, Excellent method for spacing the pregnancies, Can be used during breastfeeding.
- DISADVANTAGES- Irregular periods. Can cause cessation of periods also, Weight gain, Loss of bone density if used >2 years, Return of fertility can take up to 6 months after stopping the injections.
- USAGE- Use with every act of intercourse.
- FAILURE RATE- Failure rate can be up to 20% if not used correctly.
- ADVANTAGES- Easy to use, Easily available, No side effects, Prevents from sexually transmitted infections.
- DISADVANTAGES- High failure rate, To be used with every act of intercourse, Rare cases of latex allergy.