Not everyone is prepared for surprise pregnancies and if you do not want to get pregnant, there are things you can do. When it comes to how not to get pregnant, you have options and many of these are relatively simple. It is all about educating yourself and having a few methods ready to go so that when you and your partner engage in intercourse, you can enjoy each other’s company without worrying about the potential for conception.
Combination Birth Control Pill
This type of birth control pill has an effectiveness of approximately 99 percent when taken as prescribed. In addition to preventing pregnancy, it can also help to regulate your menstrual period. The following are commonly prescribed combination birth control pills:
- Estrostep Fe
- Ortho-Novum 7/7/7
- LoEstrin 1/20
- Ortho Tri-Cyclin Lo
You must get this pill from a doctor. It is not available over the counter.
This type of prescription birth control pill has no estrogen in it. It is often referred to as the mini pill and it is a better option for women who smoke, women with heart disease, women with diabetes and women with a risk for blood clots. If you are currently breastfeeding, this type of pill will not affect your milk supply.
This prescription birth control reduces your menstrual period to four times a year and it prevents pregnancy. There is one option called Lybrel that will eliminate your period as long as you take it daily. This is commonly used for women with very heavy menstrual periods who also want to prevent pregnancy.
When it comes to how not to get pregnant, a vaginal ring is another option. This ring delivers both progestin and estrogen and it is comprised of a flexible plastic. You wear the ring for three weeks in your vagina and then remove it for one week. During the week it is removed, you will have your menstrual period. This is ideal for women who forget to take pills daily.
The diaphragm is a more old school birth control option. It is shaped like a dome and made of rubber. You place it in your vagina before sex and remove it after intercourse. It covers your cervix and works to prevent sperm from getting through so that an egg cannot be fertilized. It is important to know that you absolutely have to use spermicide with this birth control option.
You have to see your doctor for this device because it has to be fitted. If you lose or gain weight, you have to see your doctor to be re-fitted. If this does not fit properly, sperm can get through and fertilize the egg, leading to pregnancy.
Also referred to as an intrauterine device, this method of birth control is surgically implanted. Mirena is the most popular option and it releases hormones to prevent pregnancy. There are also hormone-free options that are made of copper. One of the benefits of this type of birth control is that is lasts for as long as 10 years and you do not have to take pills every day for it to be effective.
This is not an option you hear a lot about and the male condom is more effective. Female condoms look similar to male condoms and they are made of soft plastic or polyurethane. They cover the cervix and are inserted into the vagina. This can be put in place eight hours prior to sexual intercourse. Once done, you simply remove it and discard it.
This is the most common condom option and it offers protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. It catches the sperm so that it is not able to get into the uterus. It is best to use a polyurethane condom because these are the strongest. It is important to note that condoms that are made of lambskin will not protect you from STDs.
Birth Control Patch
The birth control patch, also known as Ortho Evra, is another prescription option. The patch is placed on your buttock, arm or abdomen and each patch stays in place for seven days. This is ideal for women who have a hard time remembering to take pills each day.
Birth Control Implant
There are implants that are approximately the size of a match. These go in the upper arm right below your skin. Each implant will last you up to three years, but you can have it removed sooner if you want to. If you have trouble remembering to take pills on a daily basis and you do not want to wear a patch, this is an option for you. It is important to note that this might not be a good option for women who are overweight.
This is a more extreme option and it is typically reserved for women who already have children. A tubal ligation blocks your fallopian tubes so that they are no longer able to carry eggs. This means that there are no eggs for sperm to fertilize. Men can also be sterilized with a vasectomy. This provides cuts the tubes responsible for carrying sperm.
Emergency Birth Control
If you have sexual intercourse and do not use birth control, you can opt to use emergency contraception. The directions state that this should be used within 72 hours of intercourse. You can get this over-the-counter from the pharmacy.
As you surely know, abstinence is the only guaranteed way for how not to get pregnant. However, when you use the methods above properly, you are reducing your risk of pregnancy by at least 98 percent. Using at least two of the methods, such as oral birth control and a male condom, will help to protect you even more. If you have further questions about avoiding pregnancy at this time, talk to your healthcare professional. He or she can provide you with further information and help you to make the right birth control choices.