Contraception is another term for the birth control and it comes in different forms. Opting for birth control is a matter of personal choice but if a woman decides she needs contraception, she should know what her options are.
Contraception can be a medication, a device or a method which prevents pregnancy and childbirth. Generally, there are three forms of contraception. the first group aims to prevent the formation or fertilization of the egg, and without and egg there cannot be conception. The second is used after unprotected sex and it prevents the development of blastocyst, and the third is known as abortion.
Barrier methods of contraception include physical obstacles to the sperm movement. If the sperm cannot penetrate the vagina and fertilize the egg, there cannot be any conception. Most widely used form of this method is a condom. The sperm gets collected inside it after ejaculation so it does not reach the vagina at all. There are also female condoms, diaphragm and cervical caps.
Hormonal methods aim to prevent the formation of the egg by disabling the ovulation. They are based on synthetic estrogens and progestins and the most common forms are combination oral contraceptive pill, popularly called “The Pill”, and the patch. Other options include contraceptive vaginal ring, like NuvaRing, and hormone injections, which are currently not available in the United States. There are also progesterone-only pills and vaginal implants. All these provide hormones which prevent the formation of the egg, thus preventing conception.
Emergency pills were primarily designed for rape victims, but many women use them today to prevent unwanted pregnancy after unprotected sex. They work by preventing pregnancy even after the sperm has already reached the egg. They are also called the “morning after” pills, because they are usually supposed to be taken within 48 hours after unprotected sex. One of the most used emergency pills is ellaOne, which has 98 percent efficiency and can be taken up to 5 days after the unprotected sex.
Sterilization is one form of birth control too. It is done surgically, and the procedure for women is called tubal ligation, while for men the procedure is called vasectomy. In some cases, though not always, sterilization can be reversed.
There are also intrauterine devices that are placed inside the vagina, fertility awareness, in which a woman monitors and charts her body functions in order to find out her fertility phases, coitus interruptus, in which the penis is withdrawn from the vagina before ejaculation, and of course, sexual abstinence or celibacy.