Sex is a natural and enjoyable act but the important part here is to make sure it is safe so as to stay healthy. Unwanted pregnancy could be a deal breaker in an unexpected moment and this could have a huge influence on physical and mental health. Male Condoms are the most common form of contraceptives used and known in most parts of the world. While this is somewhere between 85 – 99 % effective, the slightest chance of pregnancy is still on the counter. Also, not everyone completely accepts condoms to be their preferred choice of contraceptive. For women, morning after pills and birth control pills are a common method widely used.
So here are a few alternative contraceptive methods for women you can look out for to explore and find out which fits you better.
1. The female condom: It is made of a soft plastic, polyurethane that lines up the vagina up to the cervix. While this carries the highest risk of breakage, it has been proven to be 99% effective when used properly and can also protect against STDs. These condoms can be inserted almost 8 hours prior to sex but are more expensive than male condoms.
2. IUD: IUD or Intrauterine device is a small structure that is inserted into the uterus. The structure is made of copper and plastic and needs replacement only every 5- 10 years.
3. Contraceptive Injection: These injections are a synthetic form of hormones named progestogen which thickness the cervical mucus thus stopping the sperm from entering the uterus. Although it is accepted as a reversible contraception, it is common for it to take about 1 year for the effects to wear off completely. A shot can last between 8 to 12 weeks and has similar effects to that of a pill. This is 99% effective and errors occur only when the shot is missed in the given interval.
4. Vaginal ring: This is a small transparent, plastic ring that is inserted into your vagina and can be kept for almost 3 weeks. This is a hormonal contraception and is thus not effective against STDs. The rings contain same hormones such as in case of the pill and have similar effects. The ring has to be removed during periods and replaced later. This can be inserted while at home like using tampons and requires to be maintained hygienically.
5. Contraceptive patch: The patch is a mixture of progestogen and estrogen and works similar to that of the injection. The patch needs to be replaced once every week and needs to be applied on outer arm, buttocks, back, and stomach. This is also 99% effective and safe to use.
6. Diaphragms: It is a dome-shaped silicone insert for your vagina that restricts the sperm from entering your vagina.
7. Cervical Cap and spermicide: Commonly known as FemCap, it is a silicon cup that can be inserted in your vagina before sex and rests on the cervix. These are smaller than common diaphragms and are known to be highly effective when used in combination with a spermicide.
Have a word with your doctor in exploring these options to figure out which of these will fit you best and be regular with it for effective results.
By Varshnee Raj