Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 7th 2013 Contents 10
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt July 7, 2013
1. What are different types of birth control?
They are:- The contraceptive pill/ The hormonal Injection /
The Patch/ The Vaginal Ring/ The Copper & Hormonal Intra
Uterine Devices/ Implants/The Male & Female Condom/The
Diaphragm / The Cervical Cap/ Female & Male Sterilization/
the Fertility Awareness Methods/ the Lactational Amenor-
rhea Method / Withdrawal/ Spermicides eg. The Foam,
Foaming tablets, Spermicidal jelly/ Emergency contracep-
2. Is all birth control the same?
No, contraceptives work in different ways. Hormonal contra-
ceptives affect Ovulation in the woman. The Copper IUD
prevents pregnancy by a chemical reaction that occurs pre-
venting sperm from meeting the female egg (ova) Spermi-
cides kill the sperm while Condoms, Diaphragms and the
cervical cap act as barriers to sperm entering the vagina and
3. Does birth control cause irregular bleeding?
If the contraceptive pill is taken irregularly, break through
bleeding can occur. Irregular bleeding can also occur with
the contraceptive injection eg. spotting. Use of the Hor-
monal IUD may cause irregular bleeding in some women.
4. Is it okay to miss birth control pills?
No as the woman would not be protected from becoming
pregnant. The pill must be taken regularly and correctly to
prevent pregnancy regardless of when sexual intercourse
occurs. Missing the pill will result in break through bleeding.
5. Is the withdrawal an effective method of
No. Sperm is secreted from the man's penis even before
ejaculation and only one sperm is needed to fertilize a
woman's egg although millions are discharged at ejacula-
tion. A lot of self control is also needed by the man to with-
draw from the woman's vagina at the time of ejaculation.
6. Is all birth control 100 per cent effective? If
not which are most effective type?
All birth control is not 100 percent effective as its use de-
pends on the user. The most effective ones are the male &
female sterilization, the IUD and Implants. The Hormonal in-
jection, the contraceptive pill, the patch, the vaginal ring and
the Lactational Amenorrhea method follow. Male and fe-
male condoms, the diaphragm and the Fertility Awareness
Method are next. The least effective is withdrawal and
7. What are the pros and cons of using differ-
ent birth control methods?
The woman should receive information on all the methods
of contraception so that she can make an informed decision.
A Doctor or family planning provider should be consulted as
a health check is necessary before hormonal contraceptives
are prescribed. Hormonal contraceptives cannot be given to
persons who suffer with heart problems or have high blood
pressure. Persons who suffer with seizures or have had a
stroke , liver or kidney disease, breast cancer or persons
who have been diabetics for over twenty years. The Intra
Uterine Device (IUD) is not suitable for a woman who suf-
fers with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) or has frequent
vaginal infections. If the woman suffers with severe cramps
with her periods or heavy bleeding the IUD may increase
this. If she suffers with unexplained vaginal bleeding, en-
dometrial or ovarian cancer the IUD would not be suitable.
Persons exposed to gonorrhoea, chlamydia or AIDS should
not use the IUD. Persons allergic to Latex of which the male
condom is made could use the female condom instead. All
Condoms when used correctly prevent sexually transmitted
infections including HIV.
8. What are some things to look for if your
body does not agree with the method?
When you are given a contraceptive method to use from a
family planning provider you are usually advised to return if
anything unusual occurs. For example: vaginal bleeding. a
rash occurring, headaches, dizziness, nausea, burning on
passing urine, vaginal itching or discharge or anything that
the woman may not have experienced before.
9. Is it safe to take birth control pills with an-
Antibiotics may inhibit the potency of contraceptive pills so
the woman should be advised to use an additional form of
contraception while she is taking the medication eg. con-
10. There is a rumour that states, a female
must rest from any birth control method
once she has been on it for more than five
years consecutively... is this true?
It is not necessary to rest of a birth control method like the
pill, Injection or IUD if she has been using the method for
five years consecutively. If the woman is not having any
problems or side effects using the method, is having regular
check --ups and annual Pap Smears, she should continue the
method. The Hormonal IUD must be changed in five years
while the Copper IUD can remain in place for ten years.
Once the woman is being supervised by a family planning
provider she will be guided accordingly.
11. Is it true that women can have hair loss
after using certain types of birth control
especially the injection Depo-Provera?
Hair loss is not a side effect of using the injection. If a
woman suffers hair loss there may be some underlying
medical condition that she may be suffering from.
12. What should I look for when choosing
birth control methods... how would I know
which one is the best for my body?
The woman must receive information from a family plan-
ning provider on all the methods of contraception. She
should choose the method herself. If she has contra-indica-
tions to a particular method she would be advised against
its use. Only when she has tried a method for some time
would she know if it agrees with her. She should avoid buy-
ing contraceptive pills over the counter as she would not
have been counselled or had a health check done.
13. Can a person choose it themselves or is it
wiser to seek professional assistance?
Professional assistance should always be sought before
deciding on contraception.
14. What is the recommended birth control
method for a first timer?
It depends on the person's age, number of pregnancies, how
frequent intercourse occurs, their health status, their prefer-
ence etc. The method is usually recommended once the per-
son has received information and NOT recommended
unless there is a contra-indication to its use.
15. I just had a child, what is the safest
method to use?
If you are breast feeding, the breast feeding pill or hormonal
injection may be suitable as they only consist of proges-
terone which does not inhibit breast milk. If you prefer an
IUD that would also be recommended.
16. What are some of the misconceptions of
That the pills stay inside your body and makes you sick long
after using them. That the injection causes blood to build
up inside the woman when she does not see her period. .
That the IUD can travel to different parts of the body. That
the condom cannot prevent the spread of sexually transmit-
ted infections or pregnancy. That contraceptives make you
infertile. The pills and injections make you gain weight. The
injection hampers the sex drive. These are all misconcep-
tions that hamper women from using them.
17. In your view what method is most popular
in today's society?
The Pill and Injection are popular and the condom is widely
used today because of HIV.
All responses courtesy: Anna Maynard
Co-ordinator Training & Quality of Care: Family
Planning Association of Trinidad & Tobago
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