There are many contraceptives. But which birth control is best?, Which ones are really safe? And which contraceptive methods meet our needs? We have made ourselves smart and present you all contraceptives at a glance.
Which birth control is best?
The surest way to avoid getting pregnant is not to have sex in the first place. But honestly: The safest way is not necessarily the best in this case! A good contraceptive ensures that we can have sex without worrying about an unwanted pregnancy.
But which birth control is best and how safe are they? For example, do you know the Knaus-Ogino method? If not, that’s not a problem, because this contraceptive method is not recommended, as you can read below.
What is birth control?
Birth control encompasses any activity, medication, or instrument used to prevent pregnancy. There are many types of birth control methods for those women who do not want to get pregnant. The decision about which method is most appropriate should be made together with the couple and the health care provider.
Birth control methods work in different ways to prevent pregnancy, including the following:
- Create a barrier that prevents sperm from reaching the egg.
- Kill sperm.
- Stop the ovaries from releasing eggs.
- Alter the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from advancing to the uterus.
- Altering the tissue lining the uterus so that the fertilized egg cannot implant.
What are the different types of birth control?
Methods that do not require a prescription include the following:
• Abstinence. Not having sex.
• Spermicides. Foams or creams that are applied to the vagina to kill sperm. They also provide some protection against sexually transmitted diseases. This is especially possible if they are used together with a latex condom.
• Male condom. Thin tube of latex or some natural material that is placed covering the penis. The sperm is deposited at the end of the condom. Latex condoms provide some protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
• Female condoms. Lining of latex or some natural material that is placed inside the vagina. Latex condoms provide some protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
• Natural family planning. Intercourse on days when the woman is less fertile, which are identified using different methods to measure body temperature. It also involves observing changes in the cervical mucosa and using instruments to predict the date of ovulation. Natural planning, also called the “rhythm” method, has a high level of pregnancy risk.
Methods that require prior medical examination and prescription include the following:
• Oral contraceptives (birth control pills). Medications taken daily that prevent ovulation by controlling the hormone secretion of the pituitary gland. In general, oral contraceptives contain the hormones estrogen and progestin.
In addition to preventing pregnancy, oral contraceptives have several health benefits, such as regulating menstrual cycles and decreasing the number and duration of menstrual periods. This can help increase iron stores in women with iron deficiency associated with excessive bleeding. Another significant benefit of using oral contraceptives is the prevention of certain ovarian and endometrial cancers. Some research has shown that there are benign (noncancerous) breast conditions that occur less frequently among women who use oral contraceptives. These breast diseases include fibroadenoma and cystic changes.
• Minipill. Unlike the traditional birth control pill, the mini-pill contains only one hormone, progestin. If taken daily, the minipill thickens the cervical mucus and prevents sperm from reaching the egg. The minipill also decreases period flow and protects against pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian and endometrial cancer.
• Implant. A capsule containing the synthetic hormone etonogestrel is implanted under the skin in the woman’s upper arm. It continuously prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs for up to three years. To insert and remove the capsule it is necessary to administer anesthesia.
• Injection. A progesterone-like drug is given by injection to prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation. The effect lasts about three months, and then a new injection must be given to continue effective birth control.
• Patch. Skin patch worn on the body that releases the hormones estrogen and progestin into the bloodstream. It is most effective in women who weigh less than 198 pounds.
• Diaphragm. A convex-shaped rubber cup with a flexible rim that is inserted through the vagina and covers the cervix. This birth control device must be inserted before sexual intercourse.
• Hormonal vaginal contraceptive ring. Ring that is placed inside the vagina, around the cervix. The ring releases the hormones estrogen and progestin.
• Intrauterine device (IUD). A device that is placed into the uterus through the cervix. It must be placed by a health care provider. The IUD’s job is to thicken the cervical mucus to make it harder for sperm to enter the cervix. Or prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the wall of the uterus. Hormone-containing IUDs are also called “intrauterine systems,” and must be replaced every five years, while copper-bearing IUDs can last up to 10 years.
Surgeries that make it impossible to get pregnant include the following:
• Hysterectomy. Removal of the uterus and usually the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This is a form of permanent birth control.
• Tubal ligation or tubal occlusion (“tubal tie”). Surgery to cut, cauterize, or tie the fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from reaching the uterus. Tubal ligation was designed as the definitive method of birth control. Although it is possible to reverse some types of ligations, the procedure may not be successful.
• Essure or tubal obstruction method. This method of permanent birth control can be done as an outpatient procedure without a surgical incision. During the procedure, a thin tube is used to insert a small spring-like instrument through the vagina and uterus into each fallopian tube. The instrument has a material that causes scar tissue to develop. This tissue permanently blocks the tubes after about three months. During that time, other forms of birth control can be used. An x-ray or ultrasound should be done to confirm that the tubes are blocked.
• Vasectomy. Cutting or clamping of the tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm from the testicles. The testicles continue to produce sperm, but the sperm die and are absorbed by the body. This is a definitive method of birth control for men.
Methods that have been suggested as preventive but have a high risk of pregnancy include the following:
- Withdraw the penis from the vagina before ejaculation.
- Have sex during menstruation.
- Get up right away after having sex.
- Douching after having sex.
If you also want to know which birth control is best so our answer is condoms or pills are better, although the condom has the convincing advantage of being a double-protection contraceptive. Properly used, it prevents pregnancy and at the same time the transmission of STDs.
The most popular form of contraception among women is the pill because it offers reliable protection and is easy to use. In recent years, a number of other hormone-based contraceptives such as the stick or the patch have come onto the market, which are also very safe.
The so-called Pearl Index reveals how safe a contraceptive is. The lower it is, the safer the contraceptive. Assuming it is used correctly.
Here is an overview of all contraceptives:
The condom: How safe it is depends a lot on the right use! In addition to unwanted pregnancy, it also protects against sexually transmitted diseases. By the way: There are also condoms in different sizes.
Conclusion: safe when used correctly (Pearl Index: 2 – 12)
1. Birth control pills
If taken regularly, the birth control pill is very safe. It suppresses ovulation with the help of hormones.
Conclusion: very safe (Pearl Index: 0.1 – 0.9)
2. Mini pill
The mini pill: Low-dose progestin affects the mucus in the cervix so that no sperm get into the uterus.
Conclusion: safe (Pearl Index: 0.5 – 3)
3. Depot syringe
For women who often forget to take the pill, the depot injection injected every three months (three-month injection) can be an alternative.
Conclusion: very safe (Pearl Index: 0.3 – 0.88)
4. Contraceptive ring
Contraceptive ring: The flexible vaginal ring releases hormones and you can change it yourself once a month.
Conclusion: very safe (Pearl Index: 0.4 to 0.65)
5. Hormone implant
If you have a hormone implant in your upper arm, you don’t have to worry about pregnancy for the next three years.
Conclusion: very safe (Pearl Index: 0 – 0.08)
6. Contraceptive Patch
The hormone-containing contraceptive patch works for a week, after which it is changed. Because it is very thin, it can also be worn under tight clothing.
Conclusion: very safe (Pearl Index: 0.72 – 0.9) .
7. Copper IUD
The IUD usually consists of a small T-shaped plastic body, partially wrapped in copper, and remains in the uterus for 3 to 5 years.
Conclusion: safe (pearl index: 0.3 – 0.8, depending on copper content and correct size)
8. Copper bead ball
Similar to the copper chain or the copper spiral, the copper bead ball sits in the uterus. There it continuously releases copper ions, which slow down the mobility of the man’s sperm and reduce their survival time.
Conclusion: safe (pearl index similar to that of the pill)
9. Copper chain
The copper chain is a newer generation intrauterine device (IUD). It is thus a variant of the copper spiral. The copper chain is more flexible due to its shape and should therefore have fewer side effects.
Conclusion: safe (Pearl Index is between 0.1 and 0.5)
10. Hormonal IUD
The effect of the hormone IUD is based on hormones, more precisely the progestin levonogestrel.
The Pearl Index depends on the hormone content of the spiral used. There is a smaller IUS that is used for 3 years, with a Pearl Index of 0.33. And there is a slightly larger IUS that is used for up to five years that releases more levonorgestrel and therefore has a Pearl Index of 0.16.
Conclusion: very safe (Pearl Index: 0.16 – 0.33, depending on the hormone content)
11. Temperature method
Temperature method: The time of ovulation is determined by measuring the cyclic fluctuations in the basal body temperature. Good complement to the Knaus-Ogino or the Billings method, but requires accuracy and discipline.
Conclusion: only recommended in combination (Pearl Index: 0.8 – 3)
12. Billings method
With the Billings method, the woman examines the cervical mucus daily to determine ovulation. Suitable to supplement other methods of natural contraception (e.g. temperature method).
Conclusion: only recommended in combination (Pearl Index: 5)
13. Contraceptive computer
Contraceptive computers are not a contraceptive method, but can determine the fertile days, for example by measuring the temperature or determining hormones in the urine.
Conclusion: Security depends on the methods supported by the computer (Pearl Index: 2 – 5)
14. Female condoms
Female condoms offer protection against pregnancy and STDs. However, they are very insecure.
Conclusion: safe when used correctly (Pearl Index: 5 – 25)
Diaphragm: Once the doctor has determined the appropriate size of the latex or silicone diaphragm, you can get it in the pharmacy.
Conclusion: safe when used correctly (Pearl Index: 1 – 20), spermicides increase safety!
16. Knaus-Ogino method
Knaus-Ogino method: In order to determine ovulation, the woman writes down the days of her cycle in a menstrual calendar. Possible cycle fluctuations make this method very unsafe.
Conclusion: not recommended (Pearl Index: 9)
17. Vaginal douches
Forget douching : almost a third of every 100 women will get pregnant within a year using this method! But if that’s what you’re after, then go for it…
Conclusion: not recommended (Pearl Index: 31)
Spermicides kill sperm, preventing it from entering or impeding its mobility. As a sole method, however, they are very insecure.
Conclusion: only recommended in combination (Pearl Index: 3 – 21)
19. Female sterilization
Women who have completed family planning can consider sterilization.
Conclusion: very safe (Pearl Index: 0.2 – 0.3)
How do birth control pills work?
Birth control pills inhibit ovulation, preventing fertilization. In addition to this, it prevents the dilation of the cervix, reducing the entry of sperm, and preventing the uterus from having conditions for the development of the baby.
How are birth control pills taken?
To use contraceptives correctly, it should be taken into consideration that there are 2 types of pills:
• Normal pill: You should take 1 pill per day, always at the same time, every day until the box is finished, and then take a break of 4, 5 or 7 days, depending on the pill, and then start again another box. It is important to consult the information leaflet of the contraceptive to be used because the rest periods vary.
• Continuous use pill: You must take 1 pill per day, always at the same time, every day, without pause between one box and another.
Common questions about birth control pills
The most common questions about birth control pills are answered below:
Do birth control pills make you fat?
Some birth control pills have increased fluid retention and slight weight gain as a side effect, however, this is more common with continuous use pills and subcutaneous implants.
Are birth control pills abortive?
The contraceptive pill is not an abortion pill, but when taken during pregnancy it can harm the baby, so if you are pregnant you should stop taking them immediately.
How to take birth control pills for the first time?
To take the pill for the first time, the first tablet must be taken on the first day of menstruation.
Can I have intercourse during the pause period between blister packs?
Yes, there is no risk of pregnancy during this period if the pill was taken correctly during the month.
Is it necessary to stop taking contraceptives every so often to “rest”?
There’s no need.
Can men take birth control pills?
No, contraceptives are indicated only for women, they have no contraceptive effect on men.
Is taking birth control pills bad for your health?
Like any other medicine, contraceptives can harm some people, so their contraindications must be respected.
Do birth control pills change the body?
No, but at the beginning of adolescence, girls have a more developed body, presenting wider breasts and hips, and this is not due to contraceptives, nor to the beginning of sexual relations.
Can birth control pills fail?
Yes, birth control pills fail when a woman forgets to take it every day, does not keep to the schedule, or when she vomits or has diarrhea up to 2 hours after taking the contraceptive. Some medications can also cut off the effect of the pill.
When do birth control pills start to work and when can you have unprotected sex?
Contraceptives begin to take effect on the first day of taking them, however, it is better to wait until the end of a blister to have intercourse, that is, 1 month.
Do I always have to take the contraceptive pill at the same time?
Yes, preferably it should always be taken at the same time, but there may be a small tolerance in the schedule, up to 12 hours, but this should not become a routine. If there is difficulty in always taking at the same time, it may be safer to opt for another contraceptive method.
Do birth control pills protect against diseases?
There are some studies that indicate that it can reduce the risk of some types of cancer, however, it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, so in addition to taking contraceptives, a condom should be used in all sexual relations.
What to do if you forget to take the contraceptive pill?
Those who take contraceptive pills for continuous use have up to 3 hours after the usual time to take the pill they forgot, but those who take any other type of contraceptive pill have up to 12 hours to take the forgotten tablet, without having to worry.