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Family planning / Contraception
There are many types of contraception available. Every method has its advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately there is no perfect method. The choice you make depends on what best suits your needs.
The more common types are as follows:
This is also known as the ‘safe period’. The fertile period is estimated and sexual intercourse is avoided during this time. This method is generally not very reliable.
The most popular method of contraception, the condom is a latex sheath worn over the erect penis. It acts as a physical barrier, preventing sperms from entering the vagina.
Oral contraceptive pills
Often known as the birth control pill, the oral contraceptive pill is a combination of 2 hormones, an estrogen and a progestogen. The oral contraceptive pill acts by preventing ovulation. One pill needs to be taken orally at the same time every day for 21 consecutive days. Apart from birth control, the pills help to regulate the menstrual cycle.
Contraceptive skin patch
This is a skin patch that delivers hormones through the skin into your body over 7 days. It prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation. You put a new patch on once a week for 3 consecutive weeks each month. During the 4th week, you go ‘patch-free’ for the menses to flow.
An injection is given every 3 months. This injection contains a hormone which is slowly released into the body. Irregular bleeding and some weight gain are common side effects.
A small hormone-containing implant is inserted in the skin of the upper arm. The hormone is slowly released into the body, providing pregnancy protection for 3 years. Menses tend to be irregular.
Intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD)
This is a small birth control device placed inside the womb. There are 2 main types: those that contain copper and those that release a hormone.
Both types of IUCD prevent the fertilised egg from attaching to the wall of the womb.
Women with a copper IUCD often have heavier menses. Contraception is effective for 3-5 years.
Women with a hormone-releasing IUCD have reduced menses. Contraception is effective for 5 years.
Tubal ligation or female sterilization is a permanent form of birth control, performed in women who do not want any more children.
During this procedure, the fallopian tubes are severed or clamped.