Overview & Description
Birth control refers to a conscious decision that sexually active couples make to prevent unwanted pregnancy. The decision may result from personal situations or medical conditions.
What is the information for this topic?
Some forms of birth controlkeep the sperm from fertilizing an egg. Other forms keep the fertilized egg from being implanted. The couple may consider these factors when choosing birth control:
Natural family planning methods
Many couples choose a natural method because of religious or personal beliefs. Some natural family planning methods are as follows:
Traditional barrier methods
Barrier methods use physical or chemical blocks to keep sperm fromfertilizing the woman’s egg. These methods include the following:
Combinations of female hormones can be used to prevent pregnancy. Thesecombinations include:
Intrauterinedevices, or IUDs, areplaced in the uterus. They keep the fertilized egg from being implanted. IUDshave been linked with an increased risk of sexually transmitted disease. They can also increase the risk for pregnancy outside theuterus, or ectopic pregnancy.
Surgery can be performed on a man or woman to prevent pregnancy. A vasectomy in a maleinvolves cutting andtying off the tubes that carry sperm. A tuballigation in a woman involves cutting and tying off the fallopian tubes.Surgical removal of the uterus, or hysterectomy, also causes sterilization.
Emergency contraception means birth control that is given after unprotected intercoursehas taken place. Hormones can be given over a 24-hourperiod,within 72 hours of the unprotected sex. Another method uses anintrauterine device,orIUD. This is placed into thewoman’s uterus within 5 days after unprotected sex.
Abstinence, or the avoidance of sexual intercourse, is the only fullyeffective way to prevent pregnancy.
Article type: xmedgeneral