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Pregnancy prevention: Pros and cons of 12 family planning methods

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Unplanned pregnancies can alter the course of your life. Be ready, don’t be caught unawares.

Although abstinence is 100 percent, married couples must be concerned about ways of reducing unwanted pregnancy. Until you’re ready to have kids, it’s in your best interest to use contraceptives.

Let’s go through the advantages and disadvantages of 12 common family planning methods.

The male condom – A sheath usually made of latex that covers the male genital and blocks sperm from reaching the vagina.

It is 85 – 95 percent effective. Some people are allergic to latex which is the only known side effect.

Female condom – not as commonly available as the male condom explained above but it’s cheap. It is put into the vagina and blocks sperm from reaching the uterus.

Like the male condom, some women are allergic to latex. It is 79 percent effective. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to use it and others haven’t seen it.

Cervical cap: A cap-like device that covers the cervix, can also be filled with spermicides (substances that kill sperms.

The issue is that it has to be in for some hours after intercourse and some people can develop very serious reactions to the spermicide. 80 percent effective.

Implants: As big as a match stick, it is implanted under the skin – usually in the upper arm. It affects the cervical mucus and ovulation.

Can last for 5 years and is 99 percent effective. Side effects include weight gain, breasts tenderness, acne and irregular periods.

Copper IUD: This is placed inside the womb and prevents the fertilized egg from joining the womb.

Can be used for up to 10 years and remains 99 percent effective. Some side effects are cramps and spotting.

Furthermore, sometimes it can go missing in the womb.

Hormonal IUD: Same as Copper IUD, the only difference is this one has a hormone that also blocks ovulation and makes cervical mucus thick.

Over 99 percent effective, the side effects are cramps, spotting and irregular periods.

Combined oral contraceptive pills – it is taken on a daily basis. It helps in blocking the cervix by increasing mucus production and blocking ovulation. However, it lessens the menstrual symptoms. 91 percent effective.

Hormonal injection – it is injected into the muscle and released slowly. Working like the implant the injection is used every 3 months.

It is 98 percent effective while the side effects include irregular periods, nausea and breast tenderness. There are options like the Sayana Press that can be self-Injected.

Bilateral tubal ligation and hysterectomy – They remove the womb or tie the tubes that bring the egg to the womb.

Over 99 percent effective, this pregnancy prevention method brings about mood changes, depression and could lead to ectopic pregnancy.

Vasectomy –  The tubes that bring sperm into the male genital are cut which means there will be no sperm coming down.

It is over 99 percent effective and one can only start having unprotected intercourse after three months after they have verified that there is no sperm in your ejaculation.

Natural methods – The couple keeps track of the fertile days of the woman, avoids intercourse on those days and about 5 days leading to those days.

She can also measure her basal body temperature method as well as the thickness of the cervical mucus. This method can be difficult to use correctly.

Withdrawal – Here the man removes his genitals just before ejaculation: This method can be quite unreliable as it has a failure rate of as high as 27 percent.

Some men have been shown to have sperm cells in their pre-ejaculation or pre-cum as some call it. It is not an easy one.