Birth control is the use of various devices, drugs, agents, sexual practices, or surgical procedures to prevent conception or pregnancy.
It enables people to choose when they want to have a baby.
A range of devices and treatments are available for both men and women that can help prevent pregnancy.
Some methods are more reliable than others. How well a method work often depends on how carefully it is used.
The contraceptive pill, for example, used correctly, is over 99 percent effective. However, because people make mistakes, as many as 9 women each year will become pregnant while using it.
Different types of Contraception
Barrier devices prevent the sperm from meeting the egg. They may be combined with spermicide, which kills the sperm.
The male condom forms a barrier and prevents pregnancy by stopping sperm from entering the vagina. It is placed over the penis before sexual intercourse begins. A condom is made of polyurethane or latex.
A cervical cap is a thimble-shaped, latex rubber barrier device that fits over the cervix and blocks sperm from entering the uterus. The cap should be about one-third filled with spermicide before inserting. It stays in place by suction.
The contraceptive injection, or “the shot,” is a progestin-only, long-acting, reversible, birth-control drug.
The shot is injected every 3 months at a doctor’s office. It prevents pregnancy by stopping the woman from releasing an egg.
The intrauterine device (IUD)
The intrauterine device (IUD), or coil, is a small, flexible T-shaped device that is placed in the uterus by a physician.
The combined contraceptive pill is taken daily. It contains two hormones, estrogen and progestin. The hormones stop the release of the egg, or ovulation. They also make the lining of the uterus thinner.
The contraceptive vaginal ring is a flexible, plastic ring that releases a low dose of progestin and estrogen over 3 week. It prevents ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus, so that sperm cannot move easily.
Emergency “morning after” contraception
Emergency contraceptive pills, or the “morning-after pill,” may prevent pregnancy after intercourse. It prevents ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of an embryo
Tubal ligation: This is a form of female sterilization. The surgeon will cut, block, or burn the fallopian tubes, or a combination of these methods, to seal them and prevent future fertilization.
Tubal implant: A coil is placed in the female’s fallopian tubes. Tissue grows around it, blocking the tubes. It can take 3 months to work.
Vasectomy: This is surgery to make a man sterile. The tubes through which sperm pass into the ejaculate are cut or blocked
Contraception is a powerful tool both for preventing unwanted pregnancy. Some methods, such as the male condom, can also reduce the risk of an STI. However, it must be used correctly to do so.
No method of birth control is 100 percent effective