Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 11th 2013 Contents August 11 , 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Pregnancy can be a beautiful experience, especially if it
is planned. However, not many women in today's world
choose to take on the responsibility of having a child
either because of their career or plans to seek further
education. If you're one of those women who have de-
cided to wait a while before getting pregnant and if
you are sexually active, you may want to consider con-
traception or birth control methods. So what type of
contraception is out there? We have listed the choices
for you but you should note that a visit to your doctor
to discuss contraception is always encouraged.
Prior to choosing any form of birth control you should con-
sider your overall health, the number of persons you engage in
sexual intercourse with, how often you have sex, if you plan
on having children in the future, side effects, how effective the
method is and how comfortable you are with the method. It is
important to note too that birth control methods can fail.
So down to what type of contraception is out there for you.
First of all there is always the method your mother would ad-
vise -- ABSTINENCE! Staying away from sex is surely a good
way to not get pregnant. However, if you simply can't resist
that burning desire then you have several options:
• the pill
• condoms (male and female)
• the coil
• the withdrawal method
• the rhythm method
• the contraceptive injection
• the patch
• the cap or diaphragm
• the vaginal ring
• surgical sterilization
Hormonal methods such as the pill, the patch, the injection
and the vaginal ring, prevent pregnancy by interfering with im-
plantation of the fertilised egg, ovulation or fertilisation.
THE PILL contains the hormones estrogen and progestin
and is taken daily to prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg
and also prevents the sperm from joining the egg by changing
the lining of the uterus. There are many types of pills out
there and most of them present many side effects so you
should speak to your doctor before choosing one.
THE PATCH is worn on the skin and releases the hormones
progestin and estrogen into the bloodstream. Like the pill it
stops the ovaries from releasing eggs and keeps the sperm
from joining the egg. A new patch is worn once a week for
three weeks and on the fourth week one is not worn resulting
in a period.
THE CONTRACEPTIVE INJECTION contains progestin and
is administered every three months. This method also stops
the ovaries from releasing an egg and prevents the sperm
from joining with the egg as a result of changes in the cervix.
Since the injection can cause loss of bone (density which is
temporary) it should not be used more than two years in a
THE VAGINAL RING also releases the hormones progestin
and estrogen. It is a thin, flexible ring which stops the ovaries
from releasing eggs and thickens the cervical mucus keeping
the sperm from joining the egg. The vaginal ring, like the
patch, is worn for three weeks and removed for the fourth
week when the period is due. This ring is squeezed between
the thumb and index finger and inserted in the vagina. After
the week of the period, a new ring is inserted.
THE DIAPHRAGM OR CAP, block the sperm from entering
the cervix and reaching the egg. The diaphragm is a shallow
latex cup while the cap is a thimble-shaped latex cup. Both de-
vices come in different sizes and must be inserted by a doctor.
Before one has sex, spermicide should be added to the de-
vices. These methods must be left in place for six to eight
hours after having sex to prevent pregnancy. The diaphragm
should be removed within 24 hours while the cap should be
removed within 48 hours.
THE COIL is a small plastic device, not much longer than a
match, which is placed inside the womb to prevent pregnancy.
The coil prevents sperm from joining the egg and creates
changes in the lining of the uterus making it less likely to ac-
cept an egg. The coil should be replaced every five to 10 years.
CONDOMS are quite popular. The female condom is worn
inside the woman's vagina and can be inserted up to eight
hours before sexual intercourse. It is thin, flexible and lubri-
cated. This type of condom should not be used at the same
time with the male condom which is also thin and made out
of latex, polyurethane, or natural/lambskin. It is important to
note that the natural kind does not protect against sexually
transmitted infections. The male condom is placed on an erect
penis and a new one should be used every time sexual inter-
course takes place.
THE RHYTHM METHOD is simply staying away from sex
or using a barrier method on the days when you know you are
most likely to become pregnant. In order for this method to be
safe and successful a woman must know her cycle. Speak to
your doctor or do some research and take note of your cycle.
THE WITHDRAWAL METHOD is simply the withdrawing
of the penis from the vagina before ejaculation. This prevents
sperm from entering the vagina but it is not a safe and effec-
tive form of birth control.
SURGICAL STERILIZATION stops the eggs from going
down to the uterus where they can be fertilised. The fallopian
tubes are cut, tied, or sealed.
There are many options for you out there but you should do
your research and carefully look into each method and speak
to your doctor before making your decision.
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