Everything You Need To Know About Birth Control

As your wedding day dawns closer, take time out to acquaint yourself with this key aspect of your sexual life.

As a newlywed bride you are bound to have several things on your mind—post-wedding functions, guest visits, settling in with your new family, the list is endless. In the midst of all this, you may not have time to think about what is a critical part of your relationship with your partner—making birth control a part of your life. This is where we step in, and assist you with choices available and their pros and cons.

What is Birth Control?

“Birth control, also known as contraception and fertility control, is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy,” says Dr Roopa Vernekar consultant at obstetrics and gynaecology Malathi Manipal Hospitals, Bengaluru. Effective birth control will help you plan your family according to your needs and more importantly, proper contraception reduces the need for abortion, especially unsafe ones.

Types of Birth Control

The methods for a young bride fall into two categories: Hormonal and non-hormonal. Hormonal methods include the use of oral contraceptive and emergency contraceptive pills (taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex), while non-hormonal involves the use of barrier methods (condoms, diaphragm), intrauterine devices like copper T, and natural methods like avoiding sex during the fertile part of a woman’s menstrual cycle, and withdrawal. So how do you determine which option will work best for you? For starters, visit a gynaecologist and discuss your needs according to your sexual preferences. Dr Vernekar explains, “Important factors for an individual to select any contraception method are relative safety, effectiveness, side effects, and willingness to use the method correctly and consistently”.

Birth Control Pills 

Oral contraceptive pills contain the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, and work by stopping ovulation. “They need to be taken on a cyclical basis usually three weeks on and one week off—starting on the first or second day of the menstrual cycle. They are almost 99.99 percent effective if taken as prescribed at the same time and without skipping a pill,” says Dr. Vimal Grover, director, obstetrics and gynaecology, Fortis LaFemme, Delhi. The best part about them is that they help in regularising menstrual cycles, as well as reducing period blood loss and pain. “It is an easily reversible contraception,” says Dr Grover. “But the efficacy goes down if a pill is missed”. However, you could expect side effects such as mild weight gain, acne, mood swings, nausea, and abdominal cramping.

Non-Hormonal Methods

Condoms are a cheaper birth control option as compared to contraceptive pills, have minimal side effects and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases when used every time you have sex. The only risk involved with condoms are that they can burst during the act, increasing the chances of an unwanted pregnancy. “Some couples feel less sexual satisfaction with the use of condom, as lubrication suffers,” says Dr Grover. “Copper T is not recommended for a new bride as it is painful to insert and can also cause pelvic infection and heavy periods.”

 

Apps to help you plan

Natural Cycle- This helps people track their menstrual cycle. It uses tracking and daily body temperature readings based on which it predicts the days when the user might ovulate, so that this information can accordingly be used for pregnancy planning or contraception.

Dot- This app uses an algorithm, which determinesbased on your menstrual data entered— your chance of pregnancy for each day of your cycle.

Mypill- This app reminds you to take your birth control pill.

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