Birth control options are methods that help prevent pregnancy and certain types of sexually transmitted diseases. There are plenty of birth control options available, but every method does not suit everyone, so one should consult a doctor to pick a suitable one for them. Additionally, one must answer questions like “Will it provide protection against STDs?,” “What is the cost and how convenient is it to use?,” and “Does it have any critical side effects?.” Here are a few birth control methods that are safe to use and also effective:
- Spermicide: This comes in different forms like film, cream, foam, and jelly, and it can be applied in the vagina before sexual intercourse. It contains a chemical that kills sperms to prevent pregnancy. Some types of spermicide need to be applied 30 minutes before sex, but it can cause an irritable sensation in the vagina with frequent use, which can cause STDs and infections.
- Male condom: The most commonly-used birth control option, a male condom acts as a barrier and blocks the sperms from entering a woman’s body. Additionally, it protects against certain STDs. Only 15% of its users become pregnant in a year, and it is also affordable and widely available. The drawback to this birth control option is that it can be used only once, and there are chances of the condom slipping off during sex if not used correctly.
- Female condom: This is a thin pouch made of plastic that is applied lining the vagina. A woman can put it in place up to 8 hours before sex, but it is not as effective as the male condom. It is widely available and provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases to some extent, but it cannot be reused, and about 21% of users of this contraceptive get pregnant in a year.
- Diaphragm and cervical cap: This is a circular dome made of rubber that is placed over the cervix before sexual intercourse. It should be used with spermicide for the best results, but 16% of users typically get pregnant every year. The device costs $15 to $75 and is effective for an entire year, but it needs to be placed by a medical professional and provides no protection against STDs. Also, it cannot be used during the menstrual cycles.
- Birth control pill: These pills use the hormones progestin and estrogen to prevent ovulation. They are extremely effective when taken right, and only 8% of the users get pregnant. It also helps relieve painful menstrual cramping, but they are slightly expensive as compared to the other birth control options mentioned in this list. Besides, the pills provide no protection against STDs and may cause spotting, blood clots, breast tenderness, or high blood pressure. Women with hormonal imbalance issues should not take these pills.