Indians love big families. Happy households with everyone living under one roof in blissful harmony have adorned our screens ever since we got televisions. But no matter how rosy the picture, we cannot overlook the fact that our country has a population crisis. Till just two generations back, every family had at least 3-4 young ones running around the household. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did not see pregnancy as a personal choice. To them, bearing and raising children was a woman’s duty. Despite the medical challenges.
But you, dear woman, do have a choice. And this choice is called Contraception.
Let’s have a look at some of the most common contraceptive methods available for women today:
The Pill is one of the most popular methods of contraception. It first hit the markets in 1960 and has a glowing success rate of 95%. Sometimes, this number comes close to 99%, if the woman strictly takes one pill every day. Ideally, the pill must be taken at the same time every day (plus minus 2-3 hours). It is advisable to consult a Gynecologist to determine which pill suits you the best.
Not only does it prevent you from unwanted pregnancy, it also helps regulate your period cycle. The pill introduces synthetic hormones to a woman’s system. These artificial hormones suppress the pituitary glands in order to inhibit ovulation and prevent the uterus lining from forming. You can also opt for non-hormonal alternatives after consulting your doctor.
However, a pill cannot prevent you from STDs. It can even have some effects on your body such as nausea, breast tenderness, headache, weight gain, mood changes and vaginal discharge.
Thinking about breaking up with the pill?
Whether you’re planning a pregnancy, or simply want to get off the pill, here are some things you might want to keep a lookout for:
- You cannot immediately get pregnant once you get off the pill. It will take at least a month for you to conceive after breaking up with the pill
- Your periods can be slightly wonky for a month or two
- Expect mood swings
Not too happy with the pill? Not to worry. Let’s explore some more alternatives.
If someone asks what is the most widely-used method of contraception, the answer would definitely be – the Condom.
And why not!
- It is affordable
- Easy to use
- Best protection against Sexually Transmitted Infections
Yup. Ladies, you can wear a condom too. Unlike the male condom, the female condom has two rings on either end and has to be inserted in the vagina, much like a deflated balloon. Squat or raise your leg up, take a deep breath and shove it in like a tampon, pushing the inner ring up your cervix and adjusting it with your finger. Pull out your finger and let the outer ring hang about an inch from your vagina. It’s safe to use as long as it does not shift. Plus, you can insert it up to 8 hours before sex so you have no interruptions ;) Of course, they are not re-usable.
The diaphragm gained popularity in the US in early 90’s. It’s a saucer shaped silicone object that’s inserted inside the vagina to cover the cervix. It is about 88% effective in preventing pregnancy. But, it does not protect you from STDs. If you want to try a Diaphragm, make sure you ask your doctor exactly how to use it. And, you must use it EVERY TIME you have sex for optimal benefit.
Intrauterine device, commonly known as IUD, is a small T-shaped device that’s planted in the uterus. It is long-lasting, reversible and has proven to be the most durable form of birth control. However, it is advisable to wear a condom while having sex as it does not prevent STDs.
If you are not on a regular contraceptive or the condom broke, the morning-after pill is your best option. Take the pill within 24 hours to avoid any uncertainties.
The options are aplenty. And raising a big family or not raising one at all is your personal choice. But remember, unprotected sex can lead to much more than just an unplanned pregnancy. Stay safe from STDs and other sexually transmitted infections. Your body deserves the best care. Treat it with respect.