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6 benefits of using contraception for you – and the country



If you’re not ready to be a parent, contraceptives plays a vital role in your sexual relationship.

If you are regularly having sex, but you’re not ready to have a baby, taking some form of contraception to prevent an unwanted pregnancy is very important.

What is contraception?

Contraception, commonly known as birth control, includes various methods and practices aimed at avoiding unplanned pregnancies.

It enables individuals and couples to make informed decisions regarding their reproductive futures, assisting in family planning and maintaining personal health goals.

Types of contraception methods available and possible side effects

Oral Contraceptives (Birth Control Pills)

These prescribed medications have hormones that prevent you from falling pregnant. There are combination pills, which have both estrogen and progestin, and progestin-only pills.

Possible side effects of oral contraceptives 

  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Irregular bleeding or spotting
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Weight changes
  • Decreased libido (sexual desire)
  • Changes in menstrual flow
  • Injectable Contraceptives

    Injectable contraceptives typically include the hormone progestogen, which prevents the release of eggs and thickens cervical mucus.

    These are administered every two or three months, depending on the chosen injectable.

    Possible side effects of Contraceptive Injection 

    • Irregular menstrual bleeding or spotting
    • Weight gain
    • Mood changes
    • Decreased bone density with long-term use (reversible after discontinuation)
    • These are tiny, T-shaped devices placed into the uterus. There are hormonal and non-hormonal (copper) IUDs to choose from.

      Possible side effects of IUDs

      • Cramping or pain during insertion
      • Irregular menstrual bleeding or spotting (may decrease over time)
      • Expulsion (rare)
      • Infection (rare)
      • Perforation of the uterus (extremely rare)


    • An implant with hormones placed under the skin of the arm offers contraceptive protection for a duration of three years.

      Possible side effects of Implants

      • Pain or bruising at the insertion site
      • Irregular menstrual bleeding or spotting
      • Headaches
      • Mood changes
      • Weight gain
      • Changes in libido
      • Emergency Contraception (Morning-After Pill)

        Emergency contraception, accessible without a prescription, can be used to avoid pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive mishaps.

        Possible side effects of Emergency Contraception

        • Nausea
        • Vomiting
        • Breast tenderness
        • Fatigue
        • Changes in menstrual cycle
        • Sterilisation

          Permanent contraceptive methods through surgical sterilization are accessible for both men (vasectomy) and women (tubal ligation).

          Possible side effects of Surgical Sterilisation

          • Risk of surgical complications (infection, bleeding).
          • Potential regret if future fertility is desired (reversal is not always possible or successful).
          • Barrier Methods 
            • Condoms act as a physical barrier between sexual partners, preventing the exchange of bodily fluids, including semen and vaginal secretions, which can carry sperm and infectious microorganisms. A diaphragm is a barrier contraceptive inserted into the vagina before intercourse. Similar to a diaphragm, the cervical cap is a small silicone device that covers the cervix. The contraceptive vaginal ring is a hormonal method inserted into the vagina and replaced monthly.

            Possible side effects of Barrier Methods 

            • Allergic reactions to latex or spermicides (in some cases)
            • Discomfort during sex
            • Reduced spontaneity
            • Natural family planning

              This method, also known as fertility awareness-based methods, involves tracking a woman’s menstrual cycle to identify fertile and infertile days.

              Possible Deterrents of Natural Family Planning

            • Contraceptive Patches

              These patches are worn on the skin and release hormones to prevent pregnancy. They are typically changed weekly.

              Possible side effects of contraceptive patches may include:

              • Skin irritation at the patch site
              • Nausea
              • Breast tenderness
              • Headaches
              • Mood changes
              • Changes in menstrual flow
              • Spermicides

                These are chemical substances that are used to kill or immobilise sperm. However, their effectiveness can vary, and they are generally considered to be less reliable compared to other contraceptive methods.

                The typical-use effectiveness rate for spermicides is around 72% to 82%. This means that with typical use, 18 to 28 out of 100 women using spermicides for a year may become pregnant.

                Possible side effects of Spermicides

                • Irritation and Allergic Reactions
                • Increased Risk of Urinary Tract Infections
                • Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health, says selecting the appropriate contraceptive method is a personal choice influenced by various factors.

                  “Choosing the right contraceptive method is a personal decision that depends on various factors, including your health, lifestyle, preferences, and relationship status.

                  “Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all contraceptive method, and what works best for one person may not be suitable for another.

                  “Be proactive in discussing your options with a healthcare provider, and don’t hesitate to ask questions until you feel confident in your choice,” said Hewlett.

                • The importance of Contraception

                  Birth control, in its diverse forms, brings about extensive advantages, such as:

                  Empowering Individuals and Couples: Contraception gives individuals and couples the power to decide when, how, and if they want to start or expand their families. This autonomy allows for greater control over life goals, career aspirations, and personal well-being.

                  Promoting Women’s Health: Contraception can help regulate menstrual cycles, alleviate symptoms of conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and reduce the risk of certain reproductive cancers.

                • Enhancing Maternal and Child Health: Family planning through contraception enables women to space their pregnancies and have healthier pregnancies and childbirth experiences. Spacing pregnancies at optimal intervals reduces the risk of maternal and infant mortality and supports the well-being of both mother and child.

                  Preventing Unsafe Abortions: In regions with limited access to contraception, unsafe abortions are more common. Widespread use of contraception can help reduce the need for dangerous procedures, protecting the lives and health of individuals.

                • Supporting Sustainable Population Growth: Contraception is crucial in managing population growth, particularly in regions with high birth rates.

                  Stopping the Spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Some forms of contraception, such as condoms, offer dual protection by preventing both unintended pregnancies and the transmission of STIs.

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