Many women decide to use a contraceptive to avoid becoming pregnant or to regulate the menstrual cycle. When you make the decision to use one of the many available, from the pill to natural family planning (NFP), you need to discuss with a gynaecologist to define which one is best suited for your health and lifestyle. Once you’ve chosen the right method for you, there are several ways that allow you to start using it correctly.
Choose the Right Contraceptive Method
1) Consider if you want to have children and analyze your lifestyle.
When you decide to use a contraceptive, there are several factors to evaluate. Do you want some children? When? Do you prefer to take a pill or do not worry about taking medicines every day? What is your lifestyle? For example, do you travel frequently? Answering these questions can help you determine which solution is best for you.
.) Examine honestly yourself, your partner and your relationship. If you do not have a monogamous relationship, this can also affect your decision. For example, if you have a stable relationship and want to wait a few more years before conceiving, you can opt for a long-term contraceptive method, such as an intrauterine device (IUD). If you have more than one partner, you can opt for the contraceptive pill and condom, to protect yourself from both an unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
.) If you have a stable relationship, involve your partner in the decision, so that you choose an acceptable method for both and for your lifestyles.
.) Consider questions such as “Do I want to plan every sexual relationship?”, “Do I want to remember to take the pill every day?” or “Do I want to definitively renounce my fertility?“.
.) You must also think about your health. For example, if you suffer from migraines, the contraceptive pill may not be good for you.
2) Consider the different types of contraception.
There are many contraceptive methods that you could use. Informing you about the various types can help you choose the one best suited for you.
.) For example, you can choose a barrier method. There are fixed devices or devices that can be inserted just before having sex, such as the male or female condom, the diaphragm, the cervical cap and the spermicide.
.) If used correctly, these methods can prevent pregnancy, but you can combine them with another contraceptive to ensure even greater protection. For example, if you use a condom, which has a 2-18% failure rate, you can add a spermicide.
.) Hormonal contraceptive methods, which have a failure rate of less than 9%, are ideal if you want to avoid becoming pregnant and have a long-standing partner. They include the pill, the patch and the vaginal ring. The pill also has the advantage of helping regulate the menstrual cycle.
.) If you still do not want to have children, you can choose a long-acting reversible contraceptive method (LARC), such as the spiral, hormone injections or a contraceptive implant. After using one, it may take time to recover fertility, but it will not affect the possibilities of long-term conceiving.
.) Sterilization is a contraceptive method advisable for those who are sure they do not want children at all. Vasectomy and tubal ligation are irreversible procedures and should be considered seriously before finally taking the decision to implement them.
.) Natural family planning, or NFP, excludes medicines, but also the easiest methods to use, such as a condom. If you can not or do not want to use any contraceptive method, it may be the best choice for you. However, it has a high failure rate and should not be used if you absolutely exclude a pregnancy. You can try the rhythm method, the control of the cervical mucus and the basal temperature or the interrupted coitus. All this requires great planning and discipline but has the advantage of not costing you a penny and does not involve side effects.
3) You must be aware of the possible risks involved in the different contraceptive methods.
Each of them carries potential dangers, including an unwanted pregnancy. Knowing the various eventualities and the side effects can help you choose the method that suits you best.
.) Hormonal contraception (pills, patches and vaginal rings) increases the risk of having deep vein thrombosis (DVT) but decreases the chances of contracting ovarian cancer.
.) Barrier methods, such as condoms, spermicides and caps, can cause allergic reactions and increase the risk of getting urinary infections or sexually transmitted diseases.
.) Methods of long-lasting reversible contraception (LARC) involve risks including uterine perforation, increased risk of contracting a pelvic inflammatory disease or having an ectopic pregnancy, pain and menstruation abundant.
.) While family planning does not involve any particular health risks, the likelihood of having an unwanted pregnancy increases, as this method is not as effective as others.
4) Choose the right contraceptive method.
Once you have been able to inform yourself about the different options, make a conscious decision and choose the right solution. Not only should you talk to your partner, you should also consult a gynaecologist, who may prescribe methods such as the contraceptive pill, LARC or sterilization.
Use Barrier Methods
5) Buy male and female condoms, to be applied just before having sex.
Condoms are thin sheaths of latex (male condom) or plastic (female) that go into the penis or vagina immediately before sexual intercourse. You do not need to consult a doctor to use this method and you can use it right away.
.) You can buy male and female condoms in pharmacies and in some supermarkets.
.) You need to make sure that you and your partner are using the condom correctly. This ensures you do not get pregnant or cause the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
.) Condoms are the only contraceptive method that has the benefit of helping to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, provided it is used correctly.
6) Insert and let the spermicide or contraceptive sponge act before and after sexual intercourse.
They are mechanical contraceptives that must be inserted into the vagina up to 30 minutes before sex and left inside for 6-8 hours after intercourse.
As with condoms, you do not need to see a doctor to use them, so you can start using them right away.
.) You can buy them in pharmacies and they are not very expensive.
.) Spermicides are sold in different forms, such as foams, creams, gels, thin films and suppositories that melt when inserted into the vagina.
.) Sponges are doughnut-shaped devices coated with spermicide. They are easy to insert and cover the cervix.
7) If you want to use the diaphragm or cervical cap, you should contact your gynaecologist:
he will show you the correct size and will explain how to use it. They are mechanical methods in latex, silicone or plastic to be used in combination with a spermicide. You should not try to use them without first discussing it with your gynaecologist.
.) The diaphragms are small devices in the shape of a hemisphere that is inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix. They are made of latex or silicone and should be used with a spermicide.
.) Cervical caps are also small bell-shaped devices that adhere well to the cervix and cover it with a suction mechanism. They are made of plastic and should be used with a spermicide.
.) If you decide to use a diaphragm or a cervical cap, you must make an appointment with your gynaecologist. It will show you the correct measurements and will explain how to put it.
.) There is no need for a prescription to start using this method. Insert the diaphragm or cervical cap 2-6 hours before sexual intercourse and reapply the spermicide every time you have seen.