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Birth Control

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Definition of Birth Control

MVSAT 2024

The involvement of certain devices, drugs, or surgical procedures in males and females to prevent conception is known as Birth Control.

Birth control measures are taken by various devices and procedures that help in preventing conception. Among the several methods, only a few are reliable, and the effectiveness depends upon the usage of the methods and their reliability.

Birth Control Methods

Birth control techniques are opted for when someone has an unexpected pregnancy or any other issue which makes them delay the pregnancy.

Some of the most used methods for birth control are as follows. 

  • Natural Birth Control: This method includes total and continuous abstinence and the rhythm method. This method follows no intercourse or protected intercourse when the fertility rate of women is high. Every woman has 9 days in a month where the fertility rate is high, and the chances of conceiving are also high. This period can be determined as 5 days before ovulation and continues for 3 days after ovulation.

  • Barrier Method: In this method, the barrier is placed between the male and female sex cells. This prevents the sperm from reaching the ovary which results in no fertilization. Both men and women can use this method to prevent fertilization leading to pregnancy. Products like a Contraceptive sponge, Diaphragm, Cervical shield, or Cervical cap are used by women in this method. Men use condoms as a barrier to prevent sperm from reaching the ovary.

  • Hormonal Method: In this method, the hormonal balance in a woman’s body is used to prevent fertilization. Contraceptive pills, estrogen, and progestin-releasing patches or vaginal rings are followed here.

  • Intrauterine Devices (IUD): These are small T-shaped devices that are planted in the uterus. There are two types of IUDs:

  1. Copper IUD– A small amount of copper is released in the uterus which prevents sperms from reaching the ovary.

  2. Hormonal IUD– Progestin is released into the body which prevents the formulation of the egg.

  • Surgical Methods: Surgical operation is performed to prevent fertilization. In women, the process is known as Tubal Ligation and for men, it is called Vasectomy.

In tube ligation, A fallopian tube is cut or sealed to prevent the eggs from reaching the uterus. In Vasectomy, cutting and sealing of vas deferens is performed to prevent sperms from entering the ejaculation stream.

Devices for Birth Control

  • Male Condom: Condom is made of Polyurethane or Latex. This creates a barrier for the sperm and avoids it entering into the ovary. This is placed over the penis before sexual intercourse. This should be mainly used to avoid any Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

It is proven to be 82% effective and studies show that women get pregnant despite men using condoms.

  • Female Condom: This is also made of Polyurethane and is also called Femidom. It has a flexible ring at each end. One ring is used to place the condom in the right position and the other remains outside the body. This is not available widely like male condoms.

  • Sponge: A contraceptive sponge is placed in the female genitals and the depression present on the sponge enables it to hold in place over the cervix. Foam is placed in the genitals, which is a spermicide that cleans male sperm, and the sponge acts as a barrier to stop sperm from reaching the egg.

  • Diaphragm: A dome-shaped device which is of rubber material that is inserted into the female genitals and is placed over the cervix. This fits into a woman’s pubic bone and has a firm but flexible ring which helps to press against the vaginal walls.

  • Cervical cap: A thimble-shaped, latex rubber barrier device that fits over the cervix and blocks sperm from entering the uterus. 

  • Injections: A contraceptive Injection, or “the shot” is a progestin-only, long-acting, reversible, birth control drug which is known as Depo-Povera or the Depo shot or DMPA. This is injected every 3 months by a doctor, and it prevents pregnancy by stopping the woman from releasing an egg.

  • Pharmaceutical Devices: These are the pills that can be used to prevent pregnancy.

  1. Contraceptive Pill: A pill is taken daily which contains two hormones, estrogen, and Progestin. These stop the release of egg or ovulation and also make the uterus lining thinner.

  1. Contraceptive Patch: This is a transdermal patch applied to the skin which releases synthetic estrogen and progestin hormones. This patch is worn every week for 3 weeks continuously. It is placed on the lower abdomen or Buttocks. It is later removed for the menstrual period.

  1. Vaginal Ring: This is a flexible, plastic ring that releases a low dose of progestin and estrogen over 3 weeks. This prevents ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus which hinders the movement of sperm. This is inserted into the woman for 3 weeks and removed later for the menstrual period.

  1. The Implant: It is a rod with a core of progestin, and it releases slowly. This is inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm.

  1. Emergency “Morning-after” Contraception: These are pills that prevent pregnancy after intercourse as it prevents ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of an embryo.

Myths About Birth Control

Myths regarding birth control have persisted throughout history, but science has corrected some of the most widespread fallacies.

  • You can not get pregnant while on your period: It is not true that a woman can not get pregnant while on her period. Although she may be less fertile during the first few days of menstruation, pregnancy is still possible because sperm can live inside the female body for several days.

  • If you have intercourse in a hot tub, you cannot become pregnant: Sexual activity in a hot tub or pool does not prevent pregnancy. In addition, there is no sexual position that prevents pregnancy.

  • Urinating or douching after sex prevents Pregnancy: Douching with any substance after sexual intercourse does not prevent pregnancy.

  • Non-medical Approaches: Putting toothpaste or seeds in the vagina does not prevent pregnancy and should never be used as a method of contraception.

  • It is safe to have sex without penetration, ejaculation, or orgasm: The woman can become pregnant even if the father does not ejaculate. Pregnancy is possible when the penis or the sperm enters the vagina. Whether or not a woman experiences orgasm or is in love with the man, she can become pregnant.

  • Breastfeeding Protects against Pregnancy: While breastfeeding, a woman can become pregnant, though the chances are slim.

  • Using two condoms provides more Protection: Using two condoms or a tight condom provides no more protection than one. Because they can shear and break, using a male and female condom together may increase the risk of conception.

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FAQs on Birth Control

1. Which Contraception Has the Least Side Effects?

Any form of contraception has its own side effects. Among the contraceptive methods available to avoid unplanned pregnancy, the Intrauterine Device (IUD) has the least noticeable side effects. Hence, this is highly used by women of all ages. This is a tiny device that is inserted into the uterus by a doctor and is meant as a long-term form of birth control that can be removed out at any time.

2. Does a Birth Control Pill Kill a Fertilized Egg?

The birth control pill prevents the pregnancy in three ways: (a) The pill thickens the cervical mucus to make a difficult pathway for the sperm to reach the egg; (b) This suppresses the ovulation by mimicking the pregnancy-level hormones in the body and prevents the release of eggs from the ovaries; (c) The pill makes the lining of uterus inhospitable for any fertilized egg reaching it.

3.  How do birth control pills function?

When an egg discharged from your ovary is fertilized by sperm, you become pregnant. The fertilized egg attaches to the uterus, where it develops into a baby. Your body's hormones control the release of the egg from the ovary, known as ovulation, and prepare your body to receive the fertilized egg.

All hormonal contraceptives contain estrogen and progestin hormones synthesized by humans. Such hormones work by interfering with your body's natural hormones in a variety of ways to prevent conception. Typically, hormonal contraception prevents the body from ovulating. They also alter the cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to pass through the cervix and discover an egg. 

4. Are condoms a reliable method of birth control?

According to studies, around one in every 50 women who use condoms correctly for a complete year of sex will become pregnant. Even when you account for people who use condoms in the wrong way, they are still very effective, with 15 pregnancies happening out of every 100 women who have intercourse in a year. When used appropriately, a condom is an extremely efficient form of birth control—as well as protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

5. What is the permanent contraception method for men?

Vasectomy is used to give men long-term contraception. It entails severing and closing the vasa deferentia (the tubes that carry sperm from the testes). A vasectomy performed in the office by a urologist takes about 20 minutes and requires only topical anesthesia. A piece of each vas deferens is excised and the open ends of the tubes are sealed off through a minor incision on each side of the scrotum.

A backup form of contraception should be utilized after a vasectomy until sterility is proven. Because numerous sperm are deposited in the seminal vesicles, men usually do not become infertile until they have had about 20 ejaculations following the operation. 

6. What is the permanent contraception method for women?

Laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, and mini-laparotomy are all methods of permanent contraception used in women. These operations are used to cause damage to the fallopian tubes, which transport the egg from the ovaries to the uterus. Alternatively, the fallopian tubes may be removed. Pregnancy is impossible if the fallopian tubes are removed. During the first 10 years after a permanent contraception operation that does not entail the removal of the fallopian tubes, approximately 2% of women become pregnant. One-third of these pregnancies are mislocated (ectopic) pregnancies that form in the fallopian tubes.

Permanent contraception can be arranged ahead of time and performed as elective surgery, or it can be performed during a cesarean delivery or 1 to 2 days after a vaginal delivery.

Sterility is sometimes caused by surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy). This treatment is typically used to treat a disorder rather than as a method of contraception.

7. Where can I find notes and questions on Birth Control?

Vedantu provides students with notes and questions on Birth control. This includes topics such as what exactly is birth control, different methods, some myths about birth control, and many more. The content on Vedantu is created by teachers who are experts in their fields. Furthermore, the information is organized in such a way that students will be able to learn and remember the concepts more easily. Vedantu also offers study materials and a variety of competitive exams to students in grades 1 through 12. The material includes notes, important topics and questions, revision notes, and other material. All of these resources are free to use on Vedantu. To access any of these materials, students must first register on the Vedantu website. You can also join up using the Vedantu smartphone app.

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