Birth control methods are used to prevent pregnancy. There are many forms of birth control that are used in different ways, to achieve varying degrees of protection.
: The Facts
- When used properly, the condom (or rubber) can prevent up to 85% of unwanted pregnancies.
- A condom is made from thin but strong latex and is put on an erect penis before penetration.
- It provides a direct physical barrier to sperm.
- Some condoms are also lubricated with a spermicide called Nonoxynol-9 which is a chemical that kills sperm.
- If extra lubrication is needed when using a condom, make sure to use ONLY a water-based lubricant like KY Jelly or water.
- Never use petroleum jelly or anything else containing oils as these can weaken the condom and cause it to break during intercourse.
- Condoms are sold at most drug stores and can normally be obtained free of charge at local public health centres.
The Female Condom: The Facts
- The newest kind of birth control.
- It works like the male condom by physically preventing the entrance of sperm into the uterus but is inserted instead into the vagina.
- It can be purchased at your local drug store.
Spermicides: The Facts Often used in combination with a condom. Spermicides kill sperm before they have a chance to fertilise the female egg. There are three major forms of spermicides:
NOTE: The Film and Suppositories must be inserted within 15 minutes of intercourse and are active for about an hour. Though spermicides are helpful, they should never be used as the only form of birth control. They should be used WITH a condom for extra protection.
- Comes with an applicator into which the foam is squirted from a bottle
- The applicator is then used to insert the foam into the vagina
- Foam is active as soon as it is inserted into the vagina.
- The suppository is the size of a large pill and is manually pushed into the vagina, where the heat of the body melts it to form a protective layer of gel over the interior of the vagina where it will work for up to an hour.
- The film works in much the same way as a suppository, but comes in a 2 x 2 inch sheet which is then folded and inserted into the vagina, where, like the suppository it melts to form a protective layer.
Sponge: The Facts It is inserted far into the vagina near the cervical opening It acts as both a physical and chemical barrier to sperm. Though useful, it is most effective at preventing pregnancy when used in combination with a spermicide and condom. The sponge can also be found at drug stores or can be obtained from your doctor.
Diaphragm: The Facts
- Is another popular form of birth control.
- It is made of strong, flexible latex rubber and is inserted into the vagina at the cervical opening.
- The diaphragm must be prescribed and fitted by your doctor.
- It can be worn up to 24 hours allowing for the spontaneity many couples desire.
- Though it provides only a physical barrier to sperm, it is very effective when used correctly and may be used in combination with spermicide to maximise its effectiveness.
Birth Control Pills: The Facts
- Most reliable form of birth control.
- Contain a mixture of synthetic hormones, usually desogetrel and ethinyl estrodiol. The pills work by preventing the monthly release of the egg from the ovary.
- If the egg is not released, it can not fuse with the sperm during intercourse and pregnancy becomes impossible.
- The birth control pill is generally taken for 21 days in a row and then a sugar pill is taken for 7 days during which time menstruation occurs.
- Though, it has been proven very effective, it must be used correctly without missed days for optimal reliability. The birth control pill must be prescribed by your doctor.
Summary and Contacts
All of these forms of birth control can be obtained from your doctor. If you do not have or can not afford a doctor or birth control, many health care centres will provide help for birth control, as well as a gynaecological examination for little or no fee.