Providing everyone with access to their chosen birth control methods advances a number of human rights, including the right to life and liberty, freedom of speech, and the right to employment and education, as well as providing major health and other advantages. 

Birth control reduces pregnancy-related health risks for women, particularly adolescent girls, and when births are separated by less than 2 years, infant mortality is about 45% higher than when births are separated by 2-3 years and 60% higher than when births are separated by 4 or more years.

 It has a number of non-health advantages, including increased educational opportunities and women’s empowerment, as well as sustainable population growth and economic development for countries.

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The best birth control is the one that prevents conception the most efficiently while also fitting into your lifestyle. The most efficient strategy to prevent pregnancy is to use a male condom in conjunction with another kind of birth control.

What is considered “best” birth control methods varies by individual. What works for you might not work for everyone. And your requirements may shift over time.

Consider the following factors before selecting a birth control method:

  • How effective do you require your birth control to be?
  • How important is the price?
  • How important is privacy to you?
  • Do you have a regular partner with whom you are concerned?
  • Are you concerned about sexually transmitted infections (STDs)?
  • How much effort do you want to put in to avoid becoming pregnant?
  • Does it matter whether your menstruation is affected if you’re a woman?
  • Will you ever wish to have a child.

Dual protection from the danger of HIV and other STDs should be taken into account while choosing a form of contraception. Although hormonal contraceptives and IUDs are very successful in preventing conception, they do not provide protection against STDs such as HIV. HIV infection and other STDs, such as chlamydial infection, gonococcal infection, and trichomoniasis, are reduced when the male latex condom is used correctly and consistently.
An important guiding concept is voluntary informed choice of birth control methods, and contraceptive counseling, when available, may be a major contributor to successful contraceptive usage.

Types Of Birth Control Options 

  1. Reversible Methods and 
  2. Irreversible Methods 

Reversible Birth Control Methods – Could be  

  • Natural Birth Control
  • Mechanical barriers
  • Hormonal Contraceptives
  • Intrauterine devices
  • Other Birth Control Methods –

Irreversible Methods

  • Vasectomy
  • Hysterectomy or removal of the fallopian tubes

Reversible Birth Control Methods

Natural Birth Control

We have discussed extensively on natural birth control. Please check it out here.

Mechanical barriers:

Male Condom:

The condom is made up of a thin covering that is put over the glans and the shaft of the penis before any vaginal penetration. One of the most often used mechanical barriers. The condom, out of all the barrier measures, is the most effective in protecting the genital tract from STDs. Because of the fear of contracting HIV and other STDs, its use has risen from 13.2 to 18.9% among all women of reproductive age. It inhibits conception by obstructing the entry of sperm into the vaginal canal. 

Advantages of Condom Use 

  • Condoms are widely accessible and typically affordable. 
  • The male partner is involved in the contraceptive decision in this method. 
  • Condoms can protect you from both pregnancy and STDs.

Disadvantages of Condom Use

  • Condoms may reduce the pleasure of intercourse. 
  • Some people may be allergic to latex. 
  • Breakage and slippage of condoms reduce their efficacy. 
  • Lubricants based on oil may harm the condom. 

Competency of this birth control method: 

Condom failure rates are believed to be around 3% – 14% in couples that use them.

Female Condom:

The female condom, when worn by the woman, helps prevent sperm from entering her body. It comes bundled with lubricant and is sold at pharmacies. Up to eight hours before sexual activity, it can be injected.

It is not advised to wear a female and male condom at the same time because they could stick to one another, which could cause either device to slide or move.

Advantages

  • During sexual contact, the female condom offers some protection to the labia and the base of the penis. 
  • A lubricant made of silicone is applied inside the sheath. 
  • With oil-based lubricants, it does not get spoil. 
  • It can be left in the vagina for up to eight hours before sexual activity.
  • It may also help prevent STDs.

Disadvantages

  • It is challenging to get it attached to the vagina. 
  • The inner ring could make one uncomfortable. 
  • The female condom is stressful to some users. 
  • If the female condom is kept in the vagina for a long time, it may result in a urinary tract infection.

Competency of this birth control method: 

The average usage failure rate is 15-21%

Diaphragm or Cervical Cap

To prevent sperm from entering the cervix, the diaphragm inserted within the vagina. The diaphragm has a shallow cup-like shape. The cervical cap resembles a cupped thimble. You inject any of them with spermicide to prevent or destroy sperm before sexual contact. Due to the fact that diaphragms and cervical caps come in various sizes, you may have to see your doctor to have an appropriate fitting.

The diaphragm offers reliable contraception for six hours once it is in place. When a longer period has passed without the diaphragm being removed, new spermicide is administered using an applicator. The diaphragm must remain in place for at least 6 hours after sexual intercourse.

Advantages 

  • There is no hormonal involvement when using the diaphragm or cervical cap.
  • The woman has control over contraception use
  • The woman may fix the diaphragm before sex.
  • Regardless of the number of sexual intercourse, the Cervical Cap offers continuous contraceptive protection for the period of its usage. 
  • Repeated sexual intercourse does not require more spermicide to be added when using the cervical cap unlike when using the diaphragm.

Disadvantages

  • The risk of urinary tract infections may rise with prolonged usage during several acts of sex.
  • Because there may be a chance of developing toxic shock syndrome, using for longer than 24 hours is not advised (TSS).
  • Professional fitting is required for the diaphragm.
  • Vaginal erosions may result from improperly fitting diaphragms. Diaphragms and Cervical caps have a high failure rate.
  • A brief, formal training session is needed to use a cervical cap and diaphragm. 
  • If the diaphragm is not thoroughly cleaned, an odor may develop.

Competency of this birth control method: 

The diaphragm’s typical use failure rate is 17 percent, while the cervical cap has 9-20% failure rate.

Spermicides:

These products destroy sperm and come in a variety of forms, including foam, gel, cream, film, suppository, and pill. They are available in drug shops.

They are only inserted in the vagina one hour before intercourse. You must leave them in place for at least six to eight hours following intercourse. In addition to a male condom, diaphragm, or cervical cap, you can use a spermicide.  

Advantages:

  • Spermicides’ lubrication may increase pleasure in both couples. 
  • Another benefit is the convenience of use. 
  • Because spermicide is freely accessible, over-the-counter, and affordable, any partner can purchase and administer it. 
  • Patient education is minimal while using spermicide. 
  • It improves the cervical cap and diaphragm’s contraceptive efficiency. 
  • Spermicides have no negative systemic effects. one hour

Disadvantages:

  • Spermicides have been linked to an increase in the likelihood of STI transmission. Insertion may be unsettling for some couples.
  • It is possible to have vaginal discomfort, and spermicides may trigger an allergic response. 
  • Spermicides are only effective for around an hour.

Competency of this birth control method: 

The typical failure rate during usage is 21%.

Hormonal Contraceptives: What You Should Know in 2022

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.htm

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/258507-overview#a4