When the question is about birth control, nobody is willing to take a risk. Hence, the most viable and safest option has to be chosen from a plethora of methods available, ranging from basic condoms to IUDs.
Not all methods suit everybody. Therefore, one must be careful to choose the best birth control for themselves by consulting with the doctor and coming to a conclusion by weighing the pros and cons of all the methods. Some of the important factors have to be considered to be sure of the birth control to be used.
It is a common observation that the method of birth control, which requires the least amount of work from your side is the most effective one.
For example, IUDs, sterilization methods, and implants are among the most efficient means. The reason is that you do not have to worry about contraception once you use it for an extended period of time.
On the other hand, one of the hardest things to avoid getting pregnant is restricting oneself from ejaculating inside the female partner’s vagina, which is quite risky. Hence, it is the least efficient method.
Fertility monitoring is another such risky method and requires a female to be attentive at all times, which is sometimes impractical. Menial methods such as using a condom and taking birth control pills need the least bit of effort from your side. The unreliability of these methods makes that less efficient.
2. Side Effects
Side effects of contraceptive methods need a thorough discussion with your doctor. Methods that involve hormones provide the maximum risk of having side effects.
Some of the side effects that are commonly experienced are weight gain, nausea, tenderness of breasts, cramps, hair loss, headaches, etc. Some of the methods might affect your periods causing heavy flow or cramps during the cycle. All these depend on your body type and health conditions.
3. Relationship Status
Yes, that is right. Your relationship status. It is an important factor that should be taken into consideration. Since having or not having a monogamous relationship affects your chances of contracting STDs and getting pregnant.
Having multiple partners raises your chances of catching an STD. In such cases, the correct and continued use of condoms is advised since it acts as a protection against STDs such as HIV.
Birth control methods that lack a protective barrier such as pills or IUDs are more suitable. Especially if you are in a monogamous relationship with someone who does not possess an STD. That way, you can be safe without worrying about getting pregnant at all.
The possibility of having children is something that is entirely your partner’s and your combined decision. The long-term goals that you have for yourself is an important factor in choosing the kind of birth control you want.
In case you are not sure that you do not wish to have children until a long period, selecting a method which will completely diminish your chances of getting pregnant will not be helpful for you — for example, sterilization.
If you wish to avoid getting pregnant in the near future and want to plan a family soon, then it is suggested that you opt for such birth control methods which are reversible such as using condoms or taking pills.
Some IUDs are also reversible. They can protect you from getting pregnant for only a few years so that you can have children when you and your partner are ready. Hence, reversibility is an important factor before selecting birth control.
5. Lifestyle & Personality
Your lifestyle and habits gravely affect the efficiency of the birth control you are using. In order to render the birth control effectively, it should be used exactly as per the directions provided for it.
Your habits if somehow do not match the prescribed manner of the usage of the birth control method, then it will not be of any use to you. For example, if you are under the habit of smoking cigarettes, then it is advised not to use contraceptives that involve hormones. It may prove to be harmful to your health as the combination of tobacco, and the hormones will increase your chances of heart disease and blood clots.
If you are a forgetful person and do not remember to take the contraceptive pills continuously as prescribed by the doctor, then taking the pills might prove to be futile.
Also, if your lifestyle and habits are such that applying a condom is a source of interruption for you during intercourse, then you can use birth control methods that do not require any kind of effort from your side.
Affordability is a practical factor that has to be necessarily kept in mind before opting for a birth control method. Keeping full knowledge of how much the birth control will cost you preliminarily and also, in the long run, is highly important. The cost of birth control methods vary from each other, and you must choose a method which is affordable for you.
A reasonable decision has to be arrived at after taking into consideration factors such as the cost of regular check-up appointments, medicines, etc.
For example, methods such as sterilization might cost you a large sum when you opt for it initially. But it does not need you to visit the doctor, take extra precautions or take other medication which saves you from a lot of the hassle and money too.
On the other hand, taking pills will need you to make regular visits to the doctor, hence, ultimately costing you a lot more than other methods. Based on your requirements and affordability of time and money, you can pick a suitable birth control method.
7. Health conditions
Your health conditions also play a key factor in determining the suitable birth control method. Depending on your body type, medical history, and current health, you can pick the most efficient contraceptive method which is safe for you. Women with heart diseases, headaches, the weak immune system should not opt for hormone-based contraceptives. They will hamper your health and may cause adverse side effects.
Obesity in women also reduces the effectiveness of hormone-based birth control methods. For women above the age of 35 or having blood pressure related issues, taking contraceptive pills can prove to be risky.
All these factors need to be combined with the process of evaluating the pros and cons of each birth control method.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Some of The Birth Control Methods
Here is a detailed guide on a few of the advantages and disadvantages of a few of the birth control methods:
With a proven efficiency rate of 82%, condoms are one of the most commonly used methods of birth control. They are very cheap and are also easy to use. The best part about condoms is that it protects the user from sexually transmitted diseases, unlike most other methods.
Another proven advantage is that it helps in spicing up your sex life since condoms are available in a variety of textures, colors, and flavors.
However, some of the disadvantages posed by condoms are that they can be used only once at one time, and the method of applying the condom requires a bit of effort before having intercourse.
Another very common method of hormonal contraception is birth control pills. With an efficiency rate of 91%, these pills have to be taken daily without fail.
The pills contain a combination of hormones- estrogen and progestin. Even though this method has a high-efficiency rate, yet their usage can cause certain side effects.
The best part about this method is that it requires no interruption between the intercourse. Also, consuming pills on a daily basis can help in reducing cramps during your periods and may also lead to lighter flow during that time. The costs of these pills are average and therefore are affordable, especially if it is covered by health insurance
Disadvantage: The common side effects of using birth control pills are nausea, bleeding between periods and tenderness of the breasts. They also pose certain health hazards such as the increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, blood clots, liver tumors, etc. Thus, pills should not be taken without the consultation of a good doctor. However, a disadvantage of using such pills is that they do not protect you against STDs.
Intrauterine Device (IUDs)
IUDs are T-shaped birth control devices which are also quite popular among women these days. Since they have an efficiency rate of 99% and last longer than most of the other devices, even though they are a bit expensive, they require no additional costs in the following years once the device is inside your vagina.
Some of the IUDs even last as long as 10 years without having you to worry about getting pregnant. The advantages of using IUDs include that some of the devices are reversible and reduce menstrual flow and cause fewer cramps during your periods. But, certain complications do arise while using these devices.
Disadvantage: There may be mild pain when the device is being inserted into your vagina, and there is a risk that the device might slip out during the first few months till it completely fits into your vagina. There also may be spotting during the first few months.
However, IUDs remain one of the safest methods of birth control and the fact that there is a possibility of you getting pregnant after the removal of the device is a major reason why this device must be used. Knowing about the similarities and differences between different types of IUDs can also help you choose the right type of birth control for yourself.
The latex dome is another method of birth control which is not very common among women due to the complexity in its use. Diaphragms are immediately effective as soon as it is fitted inside your vagina and the device is reusable. In spite of looking like a very uncomfortable method, the diaphragm is usually not felt by any of the partners while having sex. However, the process of insertion can be a bit difficult.
There are quite a few advantages to using diaphragms. These are available at a relatively low cost, and it can be used during breastfeeding, unlike other hormone-induced methods.
Disadvantage: Even though it is 88% effective, it can prove quite disadvantageous. It requires fitting diaphragms with the help of the doctor every time before you are about to have sexual intercourse. Also, you cannot use it during menstruation.
One of the easiest methods to use, these patches contain certain hormones that prevent pregnancy by restricting the eggs inside the female’s ovaries. This is not a common method of contraception.
Patches tend to be expensive and require the expertise of a doctor frequently. The patch has to be applied only once a week. After the application, you are safe to have sex without having to worry about pregnancy.
The hormones-inducing method, nonetheless, does not protect against STDs. Hence, women who are in monogamous relationships are safe to use it. The easy-to-use patch is stuck to your skin for around three weeks. It is placed around your buttocks, stomach, etc.where there is no chance of applying any oil or make-up.
Disadvantage: The method even though 91% effective, poses several threats to the health of the user, such as the increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, gallstones, stroke, blood clots, etc.
Lasting up to 4 years, the implant uses the hormone Progestin to stop the eggs from getting out of the ovaries in a female body. The proven efficiency rate of the implant is 99.95%. Therefore, it is one of the safest ways of birth control to avoid getting pregnant.
The best part about using implants is that it does pose any threats to the health of the user. The implants can be quite expensive if the method is not covered by health insurance.
Disadvantages: The implants may cause irregular bleeding during the first few months of implantation, and it may cause periods to last for a longer time than usual and heavier flow during periods.
After looking into all the necessary factors, the best and most comfortable methods of birth control have to be chosen from the various options available. The birth control must not affect your health in such a manner that it may prove to be fatal.
Knowing your choices and options is like a decision process. A genuine assessment of you and your relationships is important while deciding the suitable contraceptive method for you.
Take into consideration your health, lifestyle, short as well as long-term reproductive purposes, and finally the financial means. Once you decide on all these factors, meet your doctor and discuss your options. Together you can pick the right birth control method for you.