1 Hormonal Contraceptives – These include over the counter oral contraceptive pills which women take in order to not conceive. The phrase often used in pop culture you hear women saying “I am on the pill” means this particular type of contraception. The pill is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. You must, however, talk to your gynaecologist on how to go on them or get off them. You don’t need to use condoms if you are on the pill. There broadly exist two types of pills namely a) combined oral contraceptive pills and progesterone only contraceptive pills. These pills will also regulate your periodic cycle and you may experience a shift in your menstrual cycle after starting the pill.
2 Condoms (both male and female) – This is the least invasive, sanitary, cheap and readily available contraceptive measure. There is no side effect to using a condom intact it saves one from potential STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). Protected sex is made possible through condoms. This barrier method stops the sperm through semen to enter a woman’s vagina. Condoms are predominantly a form of male contraception but we also hear of female condoms these days which we will talk about in the next paragraph. Viruses such as the HIV cannot pass through an unbroken condom. You have to make sure that a condom is rolled over correctly on to your partner’s member for it to function correctly.
Let us now try and understand a bit more about female condoms or internal condoms. This particular contraceptive works just like a male condom except it slips inside the female’s vaginal cavity. The internal condom is inserted deep into the vagina just before sex. The ring at the closed end holds the pouch in the vagina and the ring at the open end stays outside the vaginal opening during intercourse.
Both these methods are extremely good for keeping yourself safe from STIs or STDs. Practising safe sex through this contraceptive measure can be both safe and delightful.
3 Long-acting reversible contraceptives or LARC – LARC is a contraceptive that lasts for a long time. The most popular one is an IUD or Intra-Uterine Device. LARCs are the most effective form of contraceptives and the rate of success in avoiding pregnancy through them is 99%. They have to be fitted in by a medical professional and are slightly invasive but they are also popularly known as “Fit and Forget” method of birth control. Your partner can pass his semen into your vagina without getting you pregnant. However, it only provides you with contraception and does not provide you with protection against STIs or STDs. If you have sex with multiple partners then a condom would be your best contraceptive option. LARCs can be taken out easily by a medical professional so when you do want to get pregnant you can rid yourself of the IUD.
4 Emergency Contraceptives or the morning after pills – This method is used predominantly if all the above methods fail, say your condom bursts or your partner accidentally passes on his semen into your vagina during intercourse. This pill should be taken as soon as possible but no later than 72 hours. It is most effective if taken within 12 hours of sexual intercourse and then the chances of avoiding pregnancy decrease with each passing hour afterwards. Taking this contraceptive pill after intercourse might change the date of your periodic cycle but that is not something to get alarmed about as that is a normal physiological occurrence. These pills should not be used as a regular contraceptive measure and should be used only if your partner has accidentally passed on his semen.
5 Permanent Contraceptives – This type of contraception is mostly used by men and women who have already gone through single or multiple pregnancies and don’t want to have more kids. This method is almost irreversible. It’s also called sterilisation. In males, it is called a vasectomy and in females, it is called tubal litigation or tubectomy. In males, this procedure is safer and less invasive to perform as opposed to performing it in women.