The dictionary defines birth control as “a regimen of one or more actions, devices, or medications followed in order to deliberately prevent or reduce the likelihood of a woman becoming pregnant.” Birth control has become imperative in today’s world, due to the global rise in population, need for family planning and also to safeguard oneself from unwanted pregnancy.
There are various methods of birth control that one can adopt, including the withdrawal method, or coitus interruptus; barrier methods like condom, diaphragm, cervical cap or contraceptive sponge; chemical methods like contraceptive pills, contraceptive patch, or the progesterone-only pill (POP); intrauterine methods; fertility awareness methods and more. Other than the preventive methods, one can also adopt abortion methods like surgical abortions, chemical abortions and herbal abortifacients to end unwanted pregnancies. Some permanent birth control solutions are surgical sterilization, which includes tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men.
Although there are many alternate methods of birth control available in the market, the most commonly used methods are contraceptive pills and condoms. Contraceptive pills or oral contraceptives consist of a pill with doses of synthetic hormones like progestin or estrogen, taken orally by a woman to prevent pregnancy. The contraceptive pills are considered to be a reliable mode of preventing pregnancy, but can sometimes also result in certain side effects like obesity, headaches or depression in some women. Condoms were traditionally manufactured for men but now are available for female users. Condoms serve a dual function, as they not only help in avoiding pregnancy but also prevent sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.
In Canada and the US, contraceptive patches are also fast gaining popularity. A woman applies contraceptive patches on her skin for a week, and they release synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy. They act in the same manner as contraceptive pills. Contraceptive patches in Canada and US are sold under the brand name Ortho Evra, and are sold only by prescription.
With the advances in science and technology, we might witness new innovations in birth control methods; however, in order to choose the right mode of birth control one must consult one’s doctor.