Know Your Family Planning Options

Nowadays, there are so many birth control methods available for couples to avail. The more common and reliable family planning approaches are the artificial ones. They are readily accessible in the market at a very reasonable price. These options may have various effects – some will just have temporary effects while others can cause irreversible sterility already.

Natural family planning can present in many forms. It basically involves taking note of the woman’s ovulation cycle and menstrual periods to determine the days when she is fertile thus doing abstinence from sexual intercourse. Generally, this method is applicable for females who have regular menstrual cycles to ensure its effectiveness. Success rate of this approach ranges from 78 to 88 percent.

Some would want to use contraceptives that can be administered orally or topically. These types of birth control usually involve hormone regulation. Oral contraceptive pills are a combination of two female hormones estrogen and progesterone. The formulation will actually prevent pregnancy if used correctly and accurately. However, there are side effects that may be experienced such as nausea, headache, weight gain, irregularities in the menstrual cycle and even mood changes. There are other special considerations to remember like when the mother is breastfeeding. There are also few drug interactions that may occur if the pills are taken concurrently with other medications. The success rate of oral contraceptive pills is 92 percent. In cases when the couple would want to conceive a child, the woman will only stop taking the pills and the contraceptive effect will wear off already.

Other than that, hormone-containing patches can be applied over the skin as another form of birth control. For the contraceptive patch, it changes the hormonal balance which prevents monthly ovulation. It also makes the mucus secretion thicker, thus forming a mucus plug that blocks the entrance of the cervix. The lining of the uterus also becomes thinner, making it difficult for the egg to be implanted. If the woman wants to become pregnant, she only has to remove the patch. This kind of birth control does not interfere with the sexual activities of the couple. On the contrary, some women who are using patches may experience a number of side effects such as headaches, mood lability, menstrual irregularities and even breast tenderness. Like the oral contraceptive pills, contraceptive patches have 92 percent success rates.

Contraceptives can also be injected. Depo-provera is an injectable form of birth control that is given every 3 months. It acts by suppressing the egg cell production and makes the cervical mucus thicker to prevent the sperm from fertilizing the ovum. Women who are using this kind of birth control option would like to avoid the hassles of taking a daily pill and the need for estrogen supplements. There is also no interruption during sexual activities like when using a latex condom for instance. This is also safe for breastfeeding women since it does not affect the milk production activity of the body. However, this form is not advised if the woman has histories of unexplained vaginal bleeding, clotting problems and even factors that may contribute to osteoporosis. The physician must also be notified if there are pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension for special considerations and precautions.

Sterilization may be the last resort contraceptive for both men and women. Tubal ligation is the surgical procedure performed to females where the fallopian tubes are cut, thus the tube that connects the ovaries and the uterus can no longer carry the fertilized ovum for implantation. For men, the procedure is called vasectomy. The vas deferens of the male reproductive organ is severed so the sperm cannot anymore be released during ejaculation.

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