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Birth control is any number of methods that work to prevent human sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg inside of the vulva. The basic goal is to prevent pregnancy. There are a number of different types of birth control and each varies in effectiveness, expense, and method.
There are a number of reasons why a person, or couple, may wish to prevent pregnancy. These reasons can range from financial to health to simply not being ready to be a parent. Some people feel that sex should only happen when a couple is trying to conceive but sex can be had for pleasure and fun. Many people enjoy sex for this reason. If you are interested in sex for the pleasure and not because you're trying to have a child, birth control is definitely something you should explore.
Birth Control Types
There are a whole range of contraceptives that are available. Some of the options include:
- The Patch
- Vaginal Ring
- Birth Control Pills
- Shot (Depo-Provera)
- Internal Condom
- Cervical Cap
- Pull-Out Method
- External Condom
- Tubal Ligation (sterilization)
- Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FAMs)
If there is a concern about any of these methods failing, there is also the option of the Morning-After Pill. This should never be the first choice for a contraceptive. It can be quite harsh on the body and an unpleasant experience. It is an option available if things go wrong but should not be a default option.
How Should You Choose a Contraceptive?
How you go about finding the right type of birth control will depend on the answers to a few questions.
Do you and your partner plan on trying to have children in the near future? Certain types of birth control have longer lasting effects. It can either take more time for the effectiveness to decrease, in the case of the shot, or they may be designed for longer use, such as IUDs. If you and your partner are planning on trying to conceive within 1-2 years, your choice in contraceptives should reflect those goals. It would be better to choose methods such as condoms and fertility awareness.
Is there concern over protection from STIs? Most options only protect you and your partner from unwanted pregnancies. If there is a concern about the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, you and your partner need to consider other safer sex methods to address these risks. Choosing to use barriers will definitely help and there's no rule that says you can't use condoms with another form of birth control. You may also wish to consider discussing fluid bonding with your partner or set a schedule for getting tested. No matter what you and your partner decide, a conversation about the potential for STIs is just as important as a discussion about unwanted pregnancies.
How much effort do you want to put in? Some methods, such as the pill, require a person to remember to take the medication on a daily basis. For best results, it's important they take it at the same time every day as well. If this seems like it could be an issue with scheduling or remembering, another option may be a better choice.
How much does the contraceptive cost? We all wish the cost of things didn't factor into our thinking but it does. This may be a consideration for you and your partner. Thankfully there are a number of options that are lower in price.
Once you and your partner can answer these, it will help narrow down the focus of what kinds of contraceptives may be a good fit. Finding the right method can take a little bit of research and perhaps some trial and error. If you or your partner don't like a particular kind of birth control, another option can be explored. Just be sure to put in your research!
Health Issues That Impact Contraceptive Choice
When you and your partner are exploring options, it may be best to consult your doctor. Some forms of birth control may not be safe for you to take or use. Health issues that can limit choices include any serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, migraines, diabetes, or heart disease.
Your doctor will also need to know if you are a smoker, have a current sexually transmitted infection, ever had breast cancer, or have any blood clots (or family history of clots) in the legs or lungs. All of these things can impact which option may be the best one for you and your partner.
How Can You Get Birth Control?
So you've done your research, consulted your doctor, talked it over with your partner, and you're ready to get your choice! So how do we do that? Well if the choice is a non-prescription option, such as condoms or spermicides, you can simply purchase those at any drugstore. Once again there are a variety of brands available. You and your partner may have to experiment with a few different brands before finding the one that works best for you.
If you are looking at a prescription option, this will have to happen in a consultation with your doctor. If you don't have a family doctor, you may wish to consider visiting a sexual health clinic to discuss and receive help from a physician.
Birth Control Takes Out the Anxiety of Unwanted Pregnancy
Getting pregnant can be a wonderful thing but not if you and your partner are not ready for it. Birth control is the step that takes out the anxiety and concern of unwanted pregnancy. When it's properly executed, contraceptives should give you and your partner peace of mind to enjoy your time together. There is plenty of time to start thinking of having a family. This is part of the reason why contraceptives can be thought of as family planning.
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