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How To Prevent Unwanted Pregnancies: Know Your Options

How To Prevent Unwanted Pregnancies: Know Your Options

Ineh Olisah

Due to certain factors such as health problems, financial constraints, and the mere fact that one isn’t ready for or doesn’t want any more children, women worry on how to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

It is always advisable to consult and discuss with your Obstetrician and Gynecologist or your family planning agent to decide on the most suitable method for you.

Abstinence is considered the best form of birth control, but hey, that’s not an option if you are married. The question then is :how do you keep the action going, without having more children? The answer is understanding your body and discovering what method(s) works best for you.

Here are some options to check out…..

1. Natural family planning: This requires studying the woman’s ovulation and menstrual cycles to determine the safest time possible to have sex. Though it’s inexpensive, this method has a high risk of failure because it relies heavily on your ability to accurately calculate your safe and unsafe periods each month.

2. Condoms: Condoms are cheap and widely available. It is not only a barrier method for an unwanted pregnancy, but also for STDs in cases where there are multiple sexual partners. There are male and female condoms, though, male condoms are more efficient.

3. Oral contraceptives: Pills are taken everyday of the month and are mostly made up of estrogen and progestin hormones that prevent ovulation. However, it is not 100 percent effective and has some side effects like increased blood pressure, weight gain, nausea, headaches, acne and depression. It is also cheap and affordable.

4. Vaginal contraceptive ring: Another alternative for the pill is a contraceptive ring, also known by its brand name Nuva Ring. It is a thin, transparent, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina once a month. Like the pill, the ring also releases estrogen and progesterone into the blood stream and provides protection against unwanted pregnancies. This method of birth control is not suitable for every woman. Again, you are advised to consult your doctor.

5. Birth Control Patch: This is a thin, beige square patch that sticks to the skin. It releases hormones through the skin into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. Like the birth control pill, the combination of the hormones (progesterone and estrogen) in the patch prevents ovulation. Its advantages lie in the fact that it is easy to use, does not interfere with intercourse, decreases your risk of ovarian cancer, offers some protection against ectopic pregnancy, and you only need to think about it once a month. On the other hand, it does not protect from STDs, it increases the risk of stroke or heart attack, and can only be used with a doctor’s prescription.

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6. Hormone shots: If a woman finds taking oral contraceptives daily repulsive, there is now another option known as Depo­Provera Contraceptive Injection. Depo­Provera is a shot administered in the arm or buttocks every 90 days. It contains the synthetic hormone depot­medroxypro-gesterone acetate (DMPA). This hormone is absorbed into the bloodstream from the muscles. It provides protection from pregnancy within 2 weeks of the initial injection. Blood levels of DMPA remain high for about 4 weeks, then stabilizes at a lower level. Like all other methods, this method comes with its pros and cons. Consult your doctor for more information.

7. IUD (intra uterine device): This is made of a flexible plastic that is inserted into the woman’s uterus by her doctor. Some IUDs used in the past were related to serious health problems but they are safer today. The minor side effect now associated with it includes heavier bleeding and stronger cramps during periods. Many doctors prefer to use IUDs only in women who have already had one or more babies.


This article was first published in one of the printed issue of Motherhood In-Style Magazine.


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