The reasons why some people may choose to not procreate or to delay it are inexhaustible; and over the years, many ways and procedures have been sought to achieve the feat. In modern times, more and more people are taking control of their reproductive health, mostly to configure it to other aspects of their lives such as career, education or a plethora of other life’s undertakings; so that child bearing isn’t a hindrance but an occurrence that happens in the best possible period.

Contraception is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy. Birth control has been in effect for the past so many centuries, but the most effective methods of birth control were developed in times after the twentieth century. The collective use of these methods to take charge of when conception takes place have been described in an all-encompassing term known as family planning which became an important part of the healthcare system. Family planning and health are inseparable, many hospitals have a department to attend to people who need these services.

There are people for whom family planning is vital due to the grave impact the carrying a child could have on them, physically or psychologically i.e. when they have specific medical conditions or after tragedies such as rape. The World Health Organization provides guidance on safety of many of the methods of contraception.

Proponents for family planning or Planned Parenthood advance many reasons for the programs, these may include sustainable economic growth when dependents are manageable in number, the greater risk of poor outcome with teenage pregnancies among other reasons. Sex education among school going children to enable them make more informed decisions about their health has been a growing field, though the results are mixed.

The methods of contraception are many; the most effective methods are sterilization by vasectomy in males and tubal ligation in females, intrauterine devices and implantable birth control. The hormonal methods include pills, patches, vaginal rings and injections. Physical barrier methods include condoms (male and female) and diaphragms. There has also been use of methods hinged on awareness of fertility cycle to avoid unprotected sex in times of high fertility.

The least effective methods are withdrawal by male before ejaculation and use of spermicidal products. 

Most recently, non-compliance and the decline in use of condoms has seen it replaced with hormonal methods, emergency contraception after intercourse becoming popular.

Emergency contraception, usually taken within 72 hour period after unprotected intercourse is intended to disrupt or delay ovulation or fertilization which is necessary for pregnancy.

It is important that a couple seeks advice on the choice of a duly qualified health practitioner on the type of contraceptive to use. It is from such a visit that the practitioner communicates the risks involved and what to do to delay conception or when to regain fertility when a couple is ready to conceive.


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