No matter what age you are, it is very possible that you are interested in knowing the best ways to not get pregnant. Since there are many different methods of birth control on the market, it can be hard to know which one to choose. There are varying degrees of birth control, including some that are very temporary all the way to those that are permanent, and everything in between.
The only absolute guaranteed method of birth control is obviously abstinence. If you do not have sex, it is simply not possible to get pregnant. And, this is the only way that this is guaranteed. Even permanent birth control still has its slip-ups and it is possible to end up pregnant at a later date. The best way to prevent pregnancy is to use more that one method of contraception. For instance, one method of pregnancy prevention is the well-known condom. These can prevent a very high rate of pregnancies, approximately 97-99 percent, depending on what type and brand you use, etc. But, if you sincerely do not want to get pregnant, condoms may not be enough. The condom could break or tear, or possibly just not prevent all the sperm from getting through, and you could end up one of those people in that 1 to 3 percent whose condom use was pointless.
Spermicide is another per-use option, and is a cream that is placed in the woman that kills the sperm on contact, which will not allow them to be able to get to the egg. If you don’t mind using condoms or spermicide, it is best to use them both together. This combination has a much higher success rate, and leaves much less room for error. Basically you would be using the condom for the protection from pregnancy, and the spermicide as a backup. There are many other temporary protectors, and these are items that are placed inside the woman to create a barrier. These types include the diaphragm and the sponge. These tend to work a little better than condoms or spermicide, not because of their success or fail rate, because those are very similar, but because these are things that the woman can place inside herself before the sexual situation begins. This means no fumbling during the action, which helps maintain usage, since most people who don’t use condoms forego them simply because it “ruins the mood.”
You will have to go to your gynecologist to be fitted for a diaphragm. This is a very important step in the process, because if the diaphragm doesn’t fit properly, it isn’t possible for it to block the sperm properly.
Hormonal birth control pills are an excellent method of birth control, as well. These are pills that the woman can take daily, that prevent her from being able to get pregnant. This method, just like many others, is not foolproof, but works over 99 percent of the time. There are many side effects that can go along with taking birth control pills, though, and it is important to be aware of these before beginning them.
Another option is the patch. This is a small patch that a woman places on her body for a week. During this week, it distributes hormones into your system all week long. It works the same as birth control pills, the only big difference being that you do not have to remember it everyday. Instead, you only have to remember it once a week, which is much easier for many women.
All of the methods listed above are temporary prevention methods and can have excellent benefits, but they are not all guaranteed, so you should always combine two methods to be truly safe.
There are more long-term methods of birth control, and these include the IUD (intrauterine device) and the depo. The depo shot provides three month’s worth of protection against pregnancy and is the least invasive of the two. There are side effects of this method, including erratic periods and hormonal changes. Many women have reported periods either disappearing, or occurring more frequently than normal, and varying hormonal mood swings.
The IUD is a device that a gynecologist places inside the lining of the woman’s uterus and is supposed to prevent the sperm from reaching the woman’s egg. There is a very high success rate with IUD’s, but they have been known to slip out of place and result in pregnancy. Another downfall to the IUD is the act of having it placed in the uterus. It is reported to be a very painful experience, but it provides protection for up to five years.
There are also permanent sterilization options for both men and women. For men, there is a vasectomy, and for women there is tubal ligation. Both of these methods are permanent, but not completely foolproof. While it is not completely safe, it is definitely the most effective, and most permanent, of all pregnancy prevention methods. For a man, a vasectomy is often a scary thing to consider, but it is actually much less invasive than a tubal ligation is for a woman. A vasectomy is an in-office procedure and he can usually go back to work the next day. For a woman, it is surgery in a hospital, she must be put to sleep under anesthetic, and she can’t work for at least a few weeks afterward. For a man, the tubes that eject the semen are clipped, preventing ejaculation, which makes it impossible to get a woman pregnant. For a woman, it involves clipping or burning the tubes that allow the eggs to reach the uterus. If the eggs cannot enter the uterus, they most likely will not be fertilized. It is possible for the tubes to grow back together partially at a later time, which might allow sperm to get through and the egg to become fertilized while still in the tube. If this happens, a tubal pregnancy occurs, and almost always must be aborted.
A very important fact to remember when considering these permanent sterilizations is that, while they can be undone later, it is very expensive, and can not be guaranteed to allow a pregnancy to occur. It is also very expensive to have the procedure done, and often more expensive to have it undone. It is also something that many doctors are skeptical of doing to young patients. In many states, hospitals will not allow it to be performed and insurance will not pay for it, unless the patient is at least 25 or has at least 3 children.
There are also new methods of birth control on the market for after sex. What has recently been termed the “morning after pill” is a cycle of pills that provide emergency contraception. This cycle of hormones must begin within 5 days of the unprotected sex to produce better results. Another method of emergency contraception is the IUD as mentioned earlier. When inserted within 7 days of unprotected sex, it can have a high success rate of prevention.
What You Should Not Do
No matter what the statistics are on different types of protection, such as condoms and spermicides, etc, they are much better than the following:
The natural method: This is the method in which the woman watches her own body and when it is ovulating and tries to avoid sex during these times. This can fail for many reasons. Her body may switch one month and ovulate early or late, she may forget, or the mood may strike and there is just no backup contraception on hand, which leads to sex at the wrong time and possibly pregnancy.
Pulling out: This is when the man and woman use no protection, and instead the man tries to pull out before ejaculation. This method has a very high fail rate, for two main reasons. One, the man often will get so wrapped up in what he is doing that he pulls out slightly too late or not at all. The other reason is that some semen often is released prior to orgasm. So, just because the man does pull out in time doesn’t mean that it won’t end in pregnancy.
The absolute most important factor in being able to not get pregnant is to take responsibility for your own protection. Many women and men alike have ended up with a baby on the way due to expecting or believing the other partner to be responsible for prevention. After all, whether man or woman, it is your own responsibility to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and child, and with so many options, there is no reason not to. For more information on birth control methods, their success rates, and a location near you, visit Planned Parenthood.