Empowering Women to Choose Methods and Forms of Birth Control

It was not long ago that it was considered illegal to either purchase or sell birth control or contraceptive products. When the birth control pill was first offered to the Canadian market, it was sold as a product for regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle. The ban was finally lifted in 1969 when the federal government allowed the use of birth control products. This included condoms that come out from under drugstore counters, where they are being sold only to those who specifically asked for them. For men who have not undergone vasectomy, the condom proved to be the most effective option to avoid pregnancy. However, it is more often marketed as the best protection against the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Today, a lot of options are being offered especially for women who want more control over their choice and use of different forms of birth control. Different forms of birth control are now readily available after major research and investments have been made by the giant pharmaceutical companies into the birth control product business.

Birth control pills have two types: the combination pills that contain estrogen and progestin; and the progestin only variant. Combination pills prevent ovulation or the release of eggs by a woman’s ovaries. Progestin pills usually work by thickening cervical mucus, which prevents sperm from joining with an egg.

Another common form of birth control would be the contraceptive patch. It delivers a combination of estrogen and progestin hormones when a patch is attached to skin. Like a bandage, it is applied to either the abdomen, buttocks, upper arm, or upper torso. The patch, however, has received a number of criticism for its alleged serious side effects.

Forms of birth control can even come as devices that fit just inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Also known as intrauterine devices, or IUDs, this T-shaped device is inserted by a doctor into the uterus where it can remain for at least five years. Made of copper or plastic, this device prevents the sperm from fertilizing an egg. This form of birth control has several advantages over other methods. They can stay in place for years, they do not release hormones into the body, they can easily be removed if pregnancy is desired, and they cost cheaper.

There are also contraceptive injections for birth control. Depo-Provera which can last for 12 weeks, and Noristerat, which can last for 8 weeks. Each delivers the hormone progestin to stop ovulation. The shot is considered 99 percent effective. However, if you go longer than the 12 or eight weeks between injections, your risk of becoming pregnant increases dramatically.

Another common form of birth control would be the use of a diaphragm. It is a thin rubber dome that is inserted by a woman into her vagina before sex. It fits over the cervix and is held in place by vaginal muscles. On its own, it won’t offer much protection against pregnancy. But combined with a spermicide, it is considered 86 to 94 per cent effective.

Ultimately, it is up to a woman to decide what specific form of birth control she wants to use. Men should likewise take responsibility for birth control. Still, getting medical advice from qualified health professionals should be part of the making decisions about birth control methods.

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