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Methods Of Birth Control - Are You Protected?

By: jane carrasco

In America, there are 38 million women using some form of birth control. There are many brands on the market today, but basically, there are three types: barrier, hormonal and permanent. Your doctor will help you decide which will be the best option for you.

Barrier Contraceptives- These contraceptives work to prevent conception by physically blocking the sperm from getting into the uterus to the egg. With the exception of the male condom, these methods offer very little protection against communicable diseases and chances of getting pregnant while using them are greater than if you take 'the pill'. These barrier methods must be used every time you have sex to be effective. Barrier methods of contraception include the male condom, the female condom, diaphragms with spermicide, sponges with spermicide , the cervical cap with spermicide and spermicide alone.

Hormone Methods- This method includes birth control pills, shots (Depo-Provera), the skin patch, implants, the vaginal ring and the morning after pill. The IUD is also considered a hormonal method of birth control. Birth controls that use hormones are very good at preventing pregnancy while providing no protection from HIV/AIDS or other STD's.

The morning-after pill, which stops you from becoming pregnant if contraception failed or wasn't used, is now widely used by women who have had unprotected sex. When taken, it prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg and alters the lining of the womb so the fertilized egg cannot embed itself in the uterus. This pill works for up to 72 hours (three days) after sex, making the name, 'the morning after pill,' a bit deceiving. But, it does work best if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex. In particular, it has proved of value to:

-rape victims, who should insist they are given it
-couples who have a condom break during sex
-women who have been lured into having sex while under the influence of drink or drugs

Permanent Methods- These birth control methods include tubal implants, tubal ligation and the males vasectomy.

There are questions you have to ask yourself when considering the various types of birth control on the market and which method will work best for you.

Is your main goal for taking birth control just to prevent pregnancy?

Do you fear catching an STD?
How often do you have sex?
What are the side effects?
Do you want to have children in the future?
Do you smoke?
Has anyone in your family ever had blood clots?
Can you remember to take a pill at exactly the same time every day?
How many sexual partners do you have?
Is your main goal for taking birth control just to prevent pregnancy?
Do you fear catching an STD?

The main thing is that you find a birth control that will work when you need it to.

Talk to your doctor about the risks associated with your health and lifestyle combined with birth control. Taking birth control hormones could adversely affect the blood system (clotting, blood pressure), and therefore blood tests (or at least consulting with a physician who knows one's health problems) are required before taking them.

There are advantages and side effects associated with birth control and is is important to know the facts. Keep in mind, the best option for protecting yourself from sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS is still abstinence, which is not practical, or by using male Condom's.

Information about the Author:

Jane Carrasco has created a site where you can learn more about birth control and other women's health issues. This article was originally posted at

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