Birth control is the process by which pregnancy could be avoided even after having sexual intercourse. Not everyone who indulges in intercourse wants to have a baby and using birth control methods helps in that direction. It has been around for ages but it is since the 20th century only that safe and relatively effective birth control methods have been available on a larger scale.
It could be done in a variety of ways depending upon the preference and overall health of the people involved. It must, however, be remembered that no method of birth control is an absolutely sure way of preventing pregnancy apart from total abstinence and surgical sterilization.
Types of Birth Control
Birth control could be achieved in the following ways-
Natural Birth Control
Natural birth control methods include total and continuous abstinence and the rhythm method. The rhythm method involves having no intercourse or protected intercourse during the time when the woman is fertile. A woman is fertile for 9 days every month during which she is most likely to get pregnant. The fertile period starts 5 days before ovulation and continues for 3 days after ovulation.
This method involves putting up a barrier between the male and the female sex cells (sperms and ova). It blocks the sperms from reaching the ovary, thus preventing fertilization. The barrier method can be used by both men and women.
Women could use items like the contraceptive sponge, diaphragm, female condom, cervical shield or cervical cap to prevent the sperm reaching the egg.
Male Birth Control through the barrier method involves the use of male condoms.
The hormonal method of birth control interferes with the hormonal balance in a woman’s body in order to hamper fertilization, ovulation or fertilized egg implantation. It could be done with the help of contraceptive pills, estrogen and progestin-releasing patches or vaginal rings. Birth control injections are also available nowadays.
Intrauterine Devices (IUD)
Intrauterine devices or IUDs are small T-shaped devices that are planted in the uterus. There are two types of IUDs.
- Copper IUD– Releases small amounts of copper in the uterus which prevents sperms from reaching the ovary.
- Hormonal IUD– Releases progestin in the body which prevents the formulation of eggs.
Both men and women could be surgically operated to become infertile. For women, the process is called Tubal ligation and for men, it is called Vasectomy. In tubal ligation, the fallopian tube is either cut or sealed so that eggs do not reach the uterus at all. Vasectomy involves the cutting and sealing of the Vas deferens so that sperms do not enter the ejaculation stream.
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