Birth control options work in different ways. Some of the ways wherein birth control options work include the barrier method, most popular of which are condoms. They are called barrier methods because they keep the sperm and the egg from coming into contact with one another, thus preventing fertilization. Another method is called the hormonal method—otherwise known as “pills”— wherein the woman’s hormones production is controlled, preventing her from producing an egg. There are also devices that can be placed inside a woman to prevent her from getting pregnant like the uterine diaphragm. There is also the option of abstinence or not having sex altogether, as well as natural family planning methods like using the calendar method, basal body temperature and cervical mucus to gauge a woman’s fertile period.
Below are some of the most popular birth control options that work in different ways:
Barrier method—includes the condom, the female condom, cervical cap, diaphragm, spermicide and contraceptive sponge
Hormonal method—estrogen-progesterone pills, estrogen only pills, progesterone only pills, mini pill (low dose pill), vaginal ring, injection method, and hormonal patches.
Intrauterine devices—copper IUD and hormonal IUD
Sterilization method—tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men
There are some questions that a woman or a couple may need to address before settling on a contraceptive method. They may ask the following questions:
How effective is the method? There are varying degrees of effectiveness for each method. The important thing is to take the method as prescribed and regularly in order to maximize its effectiveness.
Is it reversible? Some couples are only postponing having a child but they intend to have it sometime in the future. For these couples, it is important that the method is reversible. Most birth control methods are reversible except for some sterilization methods like a permanent vasectomy or ligation.
Can I afford it? Some birth control methods won’t cost very much at all while others can be very costly. Some like the pill would have to be taken regularly even on days when you’re not having sex, but others like condoms would only be needed during intercourse.
Will there be side effects? Some especially the hormonal method will carry with it some side effects and it is important to consult with your doctor about the option that is best for you. Also carefully read the instructions and warnings that come with your preferred birth control option.
Will it protect me from sexually transmitted diseases? Most birth control options do not protect against STDs. The male latex condom is the best choice to prevent STDs because it prevents body fluid transmission between partners.