Avoiding unplanned pregnancy
Are you sexually active, of childbearing age, and do not want to get pregnant? Clearly, you need some form of birth control. That's obvious, isn't it? Maybe not as obvious as you think, since 50 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are still unplanned. Similar figures apply to most other developed countries. Out of those women who experienced an unintended pregnancy, 11 percent reported not using any contraception at all.
The remaining women either used contraception inconsistently, or got pregnant despite using birth control correctly. Those women who want to avoid joining the ranks of people who got pregnant without planning to should take a careful look at their contraceptive method. If you are not using contraception at all, it's time to start. If you are using your contraceptive method inconsistently or are using a method with a high failure rate, you may like to look at other options that will work better for you. Where do you begin choosing? We've got some tips in the second second, covering all the different factors you will want to keep in mind when deciding.
Believe it or not, female sterilization aka tubal ligation and male vasectomy are the most frequently used contraceptives! These methods are wonderful for couples who know for sure that they never want another child, but do you feel comfortable making that decision? Though we're not currently planning to have any more children, I would never want to take permanent action to prevent pregnancy. Intrauterine devices the coil is the second most common contraceptive worldwide, followed by the pill. Perhaps you will choose from one of these methods, or maybe you will end up with one of the many other methods out there. They include depo Provera, Nexplanon, condoms, natural family planning and barrier methods. Whether you want to protect yourself from pregnancy during only one act of intercourse, or are looking for a long-term or permanent method, there is something out there that will meet your needs.
Contraceptive decision making
A 2006 survey from the United States showed that over a quarter of women using some type of contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy were unhappy with their chosen method. Sticking to your contraceptive method is easier if you are happy with your method, and it pays off to investigate the different options you have. In today's world, there are many! What should you consider during the decision making process?
First, it is a good idea to consider possible side effects of the contraceptive methods you are looking into. Generally speaking, the contraceptive methods that are currently on the market are very safe. But that does not make them safe for every user. Your doctor is your most valuable partner in deciding which birth control method will work best for you. Women suffering from certain medical conditions may be better off using non-hormonal methods, for instance. Remember that there is no need to have your choice all figured out when you make your appointment you can go to your doctor, tell her that you would like contraception, and ask for suggestions.
How effective is your method?
How effective will the birth control method you end up choosing eventually be? Most methods can be rather effective, but that depends completely on how they are used. Ask your doctor about failure rates with typical use compared to perfect use. A woman who consistently uses condoms is less likely to get pregnant than one who is on the pill, but forgets it sometimes, to name an example. Women who have dynamic lives in which they are likely to not use their contraceptive method perfectly may benefit from using methods like depo Provera or the Mirena coil which they don't need to remember every day.
Protection from STDs
It is clear than only condoms protect from sexually transmitted diseases. If this is an issue for you, then condoms are the obvious choice. Male condoms are much more widely available, and have a lower failure rate, compared to female condoms.
The same survey I mentioned earlier shows that women who use the vaginal ring (see: What is a NuvaRing?)have the highest satisfaction rates. You may be one of them. Before you choose a method, you will have to look into which methods most appeal to you personally. Some things to consider include how effective the method is, for how long it works, and how easily you can come off the method if you decide to try to conceive. Then, you can look at ease of use.