A Study on Birth Control
Birth control, which is also known as contraceptive and fertility control is the method used to prevent pregnancy. It is considered as the safest method compared to abortion. The use of birth control method has been prevalent since the ancient times, but the safe and effective methods to do it was implemented only in the 20th century. The process of controlling the number of children by using these birth control measures is known as family planning.
September 26 is adopted as the World Contraceptive Day by a group of Governments and NGOs to show their support for this method. But there are also several other groups of people who claim this method to be religiously and morally undesirable.
The Necessity of Birth Control
- As per the various studies conducted in the U.S, the rate of teen pregnancies and abortions are found to be very high. The
- pregnancies in teenagers are riskier and hence, to decrease this rate, proper sex-education and access to the various birth control methods are necessary to be provided to them.
- There are women with serious health condition due to which falling pregnant can be dangerous to their lives. To prevent this risk, birth control methods are essential.
- Some of the birth control measures such as barrier methods provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The Birth Control Methods
Different types of birth control methods are available today. They are categorized into mainly, hormonal, barrier, intrauterine devices, sterilization, behavioral, emergency and dual protection methods.
Hormonal Method – Oral pills, vaginal ring, injections, patches, IUDs, implants under the skin, all come under this method. This method is available only for women and not for men. Oral contraceptive pills are of two types – combined oral pills and progestogen-only pills. Though both these pills are commonly used by women, the use of combined oral pills might cause blood clots in the arteries and veins.
Barrier Methods – Male condoms, female condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms and contraceptive sponges with spermicide, which are used to physically prevent the sperm from entering the uterus fall under this category. They also prevent the STDs of to a certain extent.
Intrauterine Devices – They are T-shaped devices which contain copper or levonorgestrel, inserted into the uterus. They are effective methods of birth control for both adults and teenagers. This device can be inserted into the uterus immediately after a delivery or abortion. Once removed, the fertility becomes normal again. While the copper IUD causes excessive bleeding and painful cramps during the menstrual cycle, the levonorgestrel IUD may reduce the bleeding or even stop the menstruation cycle.
Surgical Sterilization – In this method, tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men are done as a part of the birth control. This is considered to be a permanent process. But in some cases, people undergo tubal or vasectomy reversal when they wish to have children again. But the pregnancy after this process comes with a lot of complications. These procedures also do not provide any protection against the STDs.
Behavioral Methods – This method involves mainly the fertility awareness. This is done by regulating the timing or method of intercourse so as to prevent the sperm from entering into the female reproductive tract. Sexual abstinence is also a part of this method, carried out by not involving in any type of sexual activity.
Emergency Methods – These are the medications or devices used immediately after an unprotected sexual intercourse to prevent any unwanted pregnancy. They include high dose birth control pills, levonorgestrel, mifepristone, ulipristal, and IUDs. An IUD or ulipristal is more effective in people who are obese or overweight.
Dual Protection – This is done to prevent both the sexually transmitted diseases and also unwanted pregnancy. This method consists of either the usage of condoms alone or condoms along with any other birth control method or also by avoiding penetrative sex.
Common Side Effects of Birth Control Methods
- Irregular periods
- Heavy bleeding
- Vaginal infection or discharge
- Breast tenderness
- Weight changes
- Stomach Bloating
Birth control methods are adopted by millions of people across the globe to avoid unwanted pregnancies and abortions. There are risks involved in undergoing a treatment for abortion, which can even cause the death of the patient. This risk is higher in the case of teenage pregnancies. Various STDs like AIDS can also be prevented to a certain extent with the help of these methods. Hence, it is better to adopt these measures for a better sexual and reproductive health.