How can you prevent a future unwanted pregnancy?
About 85% of sexually active women who do not use contraceptives become pregnant within a year. A woman can become pregnant while breastfeeding, from about 10 days after childbirth, and even during her menstruation. Withdrawal of the penis prior to ejaculation and periodic abstinence does not prevent pregnancy or spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Here you can read more about several forms of contraceptives.
You can prevent an unwanted pregnancy with:
- Total Abstinence
- Use of contraceptives
If you are sexually active and do not want to get pregnant, always use contraception.
Methods of Contraception:
No method of contraception gives 100% protection.
The male latex condom is the only contraceptive method considered highly effective in reducing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). Birth control pills, Implant and IUDs do not protect against STD infection.
For the Woman
- DIAPHRAGM is a rubber disk with a flexible rim that covers the cervix and must be used together with spermicide. It is available by prescription only and must be fitted for size by a health professional. The diaphragm protects for six hours and should be left in place for at least six hours after intercourse but not for longer than a total of 24 hours.
- ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES protect against pregnancy by the combined actions of the hormones estrogens and progestin. The hormones prevent ovulation. The pills have to be taken every day as directed and do not work after vomiting or diarrhoea. Side effects of the pill can be nausea, headache, breast tenderness, weight gain, irregular bleeding, and depression.
- DEPO-PROVERA is a hormonal contraceptive injected into a muscle on the arm or buttock every three months. The injection must be repeated every 3 months. The menstruation can become irregular and sometimes even absent.
- IMPLANTS (such as Norplant or implanon) are made up of small rubber rods, which are surgically implanted under the skin of the upper arm, where they release the contraceptive steroid levonorgestrel. Their protection lasts from 3 to 5 years. Side effects include menstrual cycle changes, weight gain, breast tenderness and loss of bone mass.
- IUD is a T-shaped device inserted into the uterus by a health-care professional. The IUD can remain in place for 5- 10 years. IUD’s have one of the lowest failure rates of contraceptive method. Sometimes the IUD can be expelled and a woman has to check each month after her period with her finger if she can still feel the threads of the IUD. Other side effects can include abnormal bleeding and cramps, but this usually only occurs during and immediately after insertion.
- FEMALE STERILIZATION is done surgically. The tubes are ligated, preventing the egg-cells from encountering the sperm cells and preventing any future pregnancies. It is a permanent form of contraception.
- EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex in order to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. A woman must take 1 Norlevo and a second pill 12 to 24 hours later. Beside Norlevo, most combination (estrogens and progesterone) birth control pills can also be used. Take within 72 hours of unprotected sex. One dose 100 µg ethinylestradiol + 500 µg levonorgestrel (2-4 birth control pills), 12 hours later a second dose.
- MORNING-AFTER IUD must be inserted within 5 days of unprotected intercourse. The IUD can stay for 5 to 10 years.
You can check which contraceptive method is the most appropriate for you here.
For the Man
- CONDOMS are usually made from latex rubber and can be used only once. Some have spermicide added to kill sperm. They act as a mechanical barrier, preventing direct vaginal contact with semen, infectious genital discharges, and genital lesions. Condoms are the most effective method for reducing the risk of infection from the viruses that cause AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). It is important to put a condom on properly before intercourse
- MALE STERILIZATION also known as vasectomy, is a quick operation performed under local anaesthesia with possible minor postsurgical complications, such as bleeding or infection. The ability to get an erection and an ejaculation does not disappear. The sperm cells are just a very small part (1%) of the fluid and a man will not notice any difference in ejaculation. The body will absorb the sperm cells.
Rates of Effectiveness of Different Contraceptives:
|Male Latex Condom||86%|
|Diaphragm with Spermicide||80%|
|Oral Contraceptives||Over 95%|
|Injection (Depo-Provera)||Over 99%|
|Implant (Norplant, Implanon)||Over 99%|
|IUD (Intrauterine Device)||98-99%|
|Surgical Sterilisation||Over 99%|