For many women, preventing pregnancy is critical. There are many reasons why women don’t wish to have children during a certain period in her life and thankfully, there are several forms of birth control available to the modern woman. Unfortunately, some of us are not always able to take hormonal forms of birth control (such as the pill) because our bodies react poorly to the extra hormones. This article will briefly look through some of the many non-hormonal types of birth control.
Non-Hormonal Types of Birth Control
Abstinence. Abstinence prevents pregnancy 100% of the time; however it is generally not the first choice for every woman. While not having sex, period – is indeed the most effective form of birth control, for most of us – it’s completely unrealistic.
Fertility Awareness. Fertility awareness can be known by many names such as “natural family planning” or “periodic abstinence.” When a woman chooses this method, the woman must track her body’s temperature every day. Based on her period, this method will help her establish when her body ovulates – indicated by an increase in body temperature. Using this method, the woman cannot have sex during the 7 days prior to ovulation and the 3 days after ovulation – so another form of birth control (such as a condom) must be used during those days.
Spermicides. Spermicides are exactly what they sound like: a chemical that is made to kill sperm. They are inserted into the vagina at least 10 minutes prior to sex and can last up to one hour. Available in a jelly, foam, tablet or suppository – it must be reapplied each and every time prior to sex, even if sex is reoccurring within the first hour. You cannot clean out the vagina until at least 6 hours after sex has occurred.
Male Condom. The male condom is perhaps one of the easiest forms of birth control to get a hold of. The male condom is a thin piece of latex or rubber that expands over the penis, preventing sperm from entering the vagina. While it is generally 95% to 99% effective, there is always the chance of the condom breaking or falling off, or a small hole in the condom that is invisible to the naked eye.
Female Condom. The female condom is a long polyurethane pouch that is inserted into the vagina before sex. Most women do not prefer this method, as it is slightly time-consuming and does not allow for more spontaneous moments. However, the female condom will cover the area around the vagina, the cervix and the canal to help prevent pregnancy from occurring. Unfortunately, the male condom is more effective in helping prevent pregnancy.
Diaphragm. The diaphragm is placed over the cervix in the vagina prior to sex. It must be used in addition to spermicide, as wearing just the diaphragm alone is not fool proof method. You need a prescription to get a diaphragm, as they come in many shapes and sizes and your doctor will need to fit you with one. However, spermicide is available at your local drug store, no prescription necessary. The diaphragm must stay inserted for at least 6 hours after intercourse. Also, you must add additional spermicide each time you have sex.
Cervical Cap. The cervical cap is a rubber cup that is inserted into the vagina, covering the cervix – much like the diaphragm. The cervical cap must be fitted by your doctor and is available by prescription only. However, just like the diaphragm, it must be used with spermicides.
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Food and Drug Administration; “What Kind of Birth Control Is Best for You?”
American Pregnancy Association; “Overview: Types of Birth Control”