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What types of birth control are there?

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Birth control involves the use of various instruments, medications, agents, sexual activities, or surgical procedures to avoid pregnancy or childbirth.

It helps people to opt to have a baby when they want.

There are a number of tools and therapies available for both men and women which can help prevent pregnancy.

Some approaches are truer than others. How well a method always work depends on how carefully it is employed.

For example, the contraceptive pill used correctly is successful over 99 percent. And, when people make mistakes, as many as nine women get pregnant each year when they are using it.

This article looks at a number of ways to avoid pregnancy. This provides the real effectiveness level, taking into account the probability of human error.

Fast facts about birth control

  • Birth control can help people decide when they want to have children.
  • There are many types to choose from, including different types of barrier, medications, and traditional methods that need no additional resources.
  • Effectiveness varies and often depends on how carefully the method is applied.
  • Only a male condom offers any protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Natural methods

Traditional birth control does not involve any type of device or medication.

Birth control pills
Various methods of birth control are available.

Abstinence: Celibacy, or abstinence from reproduction means preventing sexual intercourse.

Withdrawal: Also known as coitus interruptus, this is When the man removes the penis from the vagina so that there is an ejaculation outside the vagina. In principle, this prevents the depositing of sperm into the vagina.

According to the Office for Population Affairs of the United States Health and Human Services (HHS), for every 100 women who use this form, 20 may become pregnant each year.

In other words, withdrawal is successful at about 80 percent, but this depends on how carefully and regularly it is used.

For pregnancy, the penis does not need to enter the vagina. It may occur, for example, when sperm reaches the vagina during foreplay.


Barrier devices prevent the sperm from meeting the egg. They may be combined with spermicide, which kills the sperm.

Male condom

Male condoms create a barrier and prevent pregnancy by preventing the entry of sperm into the vagina. Once sexual intercourse starts, it is positioned over the penis. A preservative is made of polyurethane or latex.

This can also help to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from spreading.

It is successful at about 82 percent. About 18 women out of every 100, if their partner uses a condom, will conceive.

Condoms can be sold in drugstores, supermarkets, and several other outlets. These are often provided by health care providers, often for free. You can buy them online, as well.

Female condom

The female condom is made of polyurethane, or femidome. Each end has a flexible rim. Another fixes to keep the condom in place behind the pubic bone, while the other ring remains outside the vagina.

Before intercourse, spermicides can be inserted inside the vagina. A spermicide is chemical destruction of the sperm. The drug can be used alone or with a physical barrier.

The female condom is affective at 79 percent. With this process, about 21 women get pregnant each year.

The femidom is less easy to find than the male condom. Only the FDA-approved FC2 is available in the United States. Health providers may supply them, or you can get them from a drugstore on prescription. You can also buy them online from Amazon or from the FC2 website.


A tube is inserted into the vagina for contraception. This has a depression around the cervix to keep it in place. Using an applicator the foam is put in the vagina. The foam is a spermicide which destroys the male sperm and the sponge acts as a barrier preventing the sperm from reaching the egg.

Between 12 and 24 women out of every 100 who use the sponge may become pregnant.

It is less likely to work if a woman has already had a baby.

The diaphragm

A diaphragm is a plastic, dome-shaped tube that is positioned over the cervix and inserted into the vagina.

This fits in behind the pubic bone of the woman and has a strong yet flexible ring which helps to press against the vaginal walls.

Used with spermicide, it is successful at 88 percent. Used alone, it is effective between 77 and 83 percent.

Cervical cap

A cervical cap is a silicone rubber covering, thimble-shaped brace that fits over the cervix and prevents sperm from reaching the uterus. Until injection, the cap should be about one-third filled with spermicide. Using suction it remains in place.

When used with spermicide, it is about 88 percent effective, and 77 to 83 percent effective without it.


Contraceptive injection, or “the arrow,” is a long-acting, progestin-only, reversible, birth-control drug. The drug’s name is Depo-Provera, also known as the shot from Depo, or DMPA.

The shot is injected into a doctor’s clinic every 3 months. By preventing the woman from releasing an egg it prevents pregnancy.

It is successful at 94 percent, and as the shot wears off, the risk of pregnancy increases. It is important to note, after 3 months, to book another shot to ensure its effectiveness.

It does not defend itself from STIs.

Pharmaceutical types

This vary from pills which you can take to tools which a doctor implants. To get any of those forms of birth control, you need to see a health care provider.

The intrauterine device (IUD)

The intrauterine device (IUD), or coil, is a small, flexible T-shaped device which a physician places on the uterus.

A copper IUD releases toxins that kill the sperm.
A copper IUD releases toxins that kill the sperm.

There are two types:

A copper IUD releases copper, and this acts as a spermicide. It can last up to 10 years.

A hormonal IUD contains progestin. It prevents the sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg by thickening the cervical mucus and thinning the wall of the uterus.

It stays in place as long as pregnancy is not desired.

Depending on the type, it will last for 3, 5 or 10 years. It is over 99 percent effective.

Contraceptive pill

The birth control pill is taken everyday. It is composed of two hormones, estrogen and progestin. The hormones halt egg production, or ovulation. They make the uterus lining thinner too.

It is successful on average for women between 91 and 95 percent.

Contraceptive patch

This is a transdermal patch added to your face. It releases synthetic hormones such as estrogen and progestin.

The patch is worn for 3 consecutive weeks each week, usually on the lower abdomen or buttocks. In the fourth week no patch is worn to allow for menstrual time. The patches are ready to go.

It is estimated to be 91 percent effective.

Vaginal ring

The vaginal contraceptive ring is a lightweight, plastic ring releasing a low dose of progestin and estrogen over 3 weeks. It inhibits ovulation and densifies the mucus of the cervix, so sperm can not easily travel around.

The woman implants the ring into the vagina for 3 weeks, and then removes it for 1 week, after which she experiences a period of menstruation.

It’s also known as NuvaRing, the trade name for a synthetic hormonal vaginal contraceptive ring developed by Organon.

It is 99 percent effective, but the chance of human error reduces this to 91 percent.

The implant

An implant is a rod that has a progestin heart, which it slowly releases. It is placed under the upper arm of a woman’s head.

The implant is successful for up to 4 years, but can be removed at any time and pregnancy is possible afterwards.

It is successful in preventing pregnancy by 99 percent, but it won’t defend against a STI.

Emergency “morning after” contraception

Emergency contraceptive pills, or the “morning-after pill” following sex will prevent pregnancy. This stops an egg from being ovulated, fertilised, or implanted.

This is distinct from termination medical techniques, as these function after the egg is already implanted in the womb.

Up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, an emergency contraceptive can be used. It is successful at 95 percent for the first 24 hours, dropping by 72 hours to 60 per cent.

Emergency contraception can only be used if the primary methods do not function.

Some people see it as more of an abortion because the egg might have been fertilized already.

Permanent contraception

Sterilization is a permanent method of sterilization.

In females

Tubal ligation: This is a method of sterilization of females. To seal them and avoid potential fertilization, the surgeon must cut, block, or burn the Fallopian tubes, or a combination of those methods.

Tubal implant: A coil is implanted in the Fallopian tubes of the female. Tissue expands and blocks the tubes around it. It can take three months to get to work.

Female sterilization is over 99 percent effective.

In males

Vasectomy: It is surgery to sterilise a individual. We cut or block the tubes by which sperm moves through the ejaculate. It is successful at over 99 percent.

This is often reversible but with more abnormal sperm concentration, probably resulting in lower fertility or birth defects.

Myths about birth control

Birth control theories have proliferated throughout history but research has put some common assumptions correct.

You cannot get pregnant while you are on your period: It is not true that a woman cannot get pregnant during her menstrual period. She may be less fertile for the first few days of menstruation, but pregnancy is possible, as sperm can live inside the female body for several days.

You cannot get pregnant if you have sex in a hot tub: Sexual intercourse in a hot tub or swimming pool does not prevent pregnancy. There is also no sexual position that prevents pregnancy.

Urinating or douching after sex prevents pregnancy: Douching with any substance after sexual intercourse does not prevent pregnancy.

Non-medical spermicide: Putting toothpaste or seeds in the vagina does not prevent pregnancy and should never be used as a contraceptive.

Sex without penetration, ejaculation, or orgasm is safe: Even if the man does not ejaculate, the woman can become pregnant. Pregnancy is possible any time the penis—or even sperm during foreplay—enters the vagina. A woman can become pregnant whether or not she has an orgasm or is in love with the man.

Breastfeeding protects against pregnancy: A woman can become pregnant while breastfeeding, although the chance is lower.

Using two condoms offers extra protection: Using two condoms or using a tight condom does not offer better protection than one. Using a male and female condom together may increase the risk of pregnancy, as they can shear and tear.

Disease protection

Contraception is also a effective method for preventing unintended pregnancy. Many strategies can also reduce the risk of a STI, such as the male condom. Nonetheless, for this to happen, it must be done correctly.

No birth control system is successful at 100 per cent. For example, the combination of two approaches, the pill with a condom, offers additional protection and some protection against STIs.

It is necessary to be educated and wisely employ birth control.

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