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Being pregnant is a gift that is much coveted by most women at some point of their life or another. Nevertheless, pregnancy is also a huge step and should not be treated lightly. The good news is that pregnancy is something that’s within your control and be avoided if you feel that you are not ready for it.
Protective measures while having sex and common contraceptive methods are quite commonly used by responsible couples. Let’s take a holistic approach toward avoiding pregnancy for both men and women.
Methods of Contraception for Women and Men
Getting pregnant is a possibility for not only couples who are indulging in some intimacy but also a possibility for new mothers. Women who are on their period are equally open to being pregnant as women who are new mothers.
Several options can instead be adopted to not get pregnant. Some of these options have been listed below.
Birth Control Options for Women
Let’s explore some of the safest options for birth control for women;
- Intrauterine device or coil is a good option for birth control for women. For one, this can be fitted by your medical practitioner within five days of having unprotected sex. This is a safe method can be left into your system for the next decade even, and it will continue to protect you from pregnancy.
- The morning after pill is another method that can be used to keep pregnancy at bay. This can be used within 72 hours, giving you time enough to use.
- Depo-Provera is becoming quite popular these days. It’s a hormone-based contraceptive that has to be injected every three months in your muscle. Usually, the muscles in the arms or buttocks are used, but more importantly, this has to be repeated every three months without fail.
- Sterilisation is another common method that has to be done through a surgical procedure. This is permanent, and therefore much contemplation is recommended before opting for it.
- Diaphragm together with spermicide is another device that has to be fitted by a medical professional. This device covers the cervix and helps curtail pregnancy for at least 6 hours. It’s advised not to keep it in place for 24 hours.
- Oral contraceptives are another excellent option for protection. The trick is to make sure that you do not miss your pill. There might be some side effects.
- Apart from tablets to avoid pregnancy, Implanon or Norplant is another option for ladies. These implants go into the upper arm in the form of rubber rods.
- Tubectomy is more of a permanent solution to getting pregnant. Also known as tubal sterilisation, this is a surgical procedure whereby the fallopian tubes of a woman are cut and sealed off. This is a fairly safe method and is known to be quite effective for couples who already have kids.
Birth Control Options for Men
Read on to find out the methods to avoid pregnancy in the form of birth control options for men.
- Condoms are perhaps one of the easiest and best methods to be used by men as protection during sex.
- Vasectomy is a more permanent form of male contraceptive. This has to be done surgically and does not stall either erection or ejaculation.
- A more manual form of birth control for men is pulling out just before ejaculation. This is not recommended as the chances of success are quite low, and this is not a reliable method.
Rate of Effectiveness of Contraceptives
While all the options listed above are sound choices that can be used to stall pregnancy, it is, of course, understood that some methods are more effective than others. The below data should help throw some light.
|Method of Contraception||Accurate Effectiveness in %|
|Condoms for men||85-87%|
|Condoms for females||77-80%|
|Diaphragm teamed with spermicide||78-81%|
|Contraceptives took orally||95% and above|
|Depo-Provera||99% and above|
|Norplant/ Implanon||99% and above|
|Intrauterine Device||Around 99%|
|Sterilisation through surgery/ permanent sterilization||99% and above|
|Morning after Pill/ Emergency Birth Control||74-76%|
Following are the Precautions to Avoid Pregnancy
Since prevention is by default better than cure, some of the best steps to avoid pregnancy have been shared below. Also, note that this might as well be a summary of what has already been discussed. Nevertheless, let’s explore fresh options that can provide you with the best way to prevent pregnancy.
- Never indulge in sexual intercourse without protection.
- Make a wise choice of a contraceptive method for both females and males.
- Sex during your menstrual cycle without protection must be avoided.
- Take proper initiatives to keep pregnancy at bay and curb practices such as pulling out before ejaculation as there is no guarantee that sperm hasn’t already reached your egg.
- Having sex without protection during the “safe period” can also prove to be a misnomer. Any missed calculations can, of course, get you pregnant.
- Refrain from bringing exposed genitals in close contact with sex without protection as there is a high chance that some sperm may end up fertilising your egg.
- If you are already taking birth control pills, it is advised that you do not make a habit of taking them irregularly.
- Just before sex, there is usually some discharge from the penis – known as pre-cum – that betters the act of sex. Nevertheless, this discharge may very well contain a few sperms so make sure that your partner does not touch your vagina right after touching his penis to avoid getting pregnant.
- Similarly, touching the vagina after handling or touching the condom can risk you getting pregnant as any sperm attached to the condom can make their way to the egg in your uterus.
- Make sure that you don’t stay engaged for too long after ejaculating (even if you are wearing a condom. There have been cases where the contents of the condom spill into the vagina as the penis go flaccid after ejaculation.
- There are quite a few fruits and herbs which you can eat on a daily basis that will ensure that you will never get pregnant even if you have been careless with protection or birth control devices. Papaya is one such fruit.
- Unless you are planning to start a family, think early and get either one of the female contraceptive devices suggested above.
- The best and the easiest contraceptive to be used is a condom. Make sure either the female or the male uses one to keep from getting pregnant.
- In case of crises such as torn condoms or missed pills, ensure you take a morning after or emergency pill that will stop you from getting pregnant.
Steps to Avoid Pregnancy Naturally
In case you are not a big fan of surgical methods or medical methods to keep pregnancy at bay, there are few natural options by which you can still refrain from getting pregnant. The vital element of avoiding pregnancy naturally is to understand your body properly. Besides that, you should also be willing to refrain from having sex during the fertile period of the month, chart your reproductive cycle and be calculative while using natural birth control measures to get full results.
1. Assess Your Fertility
There are several measures to go while assessing your fertility. For starters, you should understand what it means to be fertile. Having sex without protection anywhere between five days before ovulation and until the day you start ovulating again can get you pregnant. Bottom line, you should not have sex without protecting during this period. Once you understand what fertility is, you should also learn about what ovulation means. In a nutshell, it means the ovary is releasing a fertile egg into your fallopian tube which when meets with a male sperm can get you pregnant. Lastly, you should understand how natural conception works. Once you have calculated all the necessary dates and the period when you can have sex without worry, natural contraception works wonders.
2. Monitor Your Basal Body Temperature
To adopt this method, the first thing to do is buy a basal thermometer. It’s important to chart your basal, or the lowest body temperature over a period of 24 hours, the temperature during the month for best results. During ovulation, your body tends to have slighter higher temperatures which should also be an indicator of your peak time of fertility. A few points to remember would be to take your body temperature first thing in the morning and stick to the same time every day. The accurate charting of your basal body temperature should give you proper results only after you have repeated the task for at least three months. The days when your body temperature seems higher than usual are the days when you should have sex only with protection.
3. Cervical Mucus Checking
This is a rather tricky manner of avoiding getting pregnant, but done properly can help you get the desired results. Cervical mucus is nothing but your usual vaginal discharge that changes several times during the month. You should stick a couple of your fingers inside your vagina and swipe. You can also use cotton wool for the same. You should start checking on this mucus only after your period is over. The colour, texture, consistency should be duly noted and changes properly charted to know when you are fertile.
4. Tracking your cycle on a Calendar
Probably the most commonly used method, it starts with knowing your menstrual cycle. If your cycle is anywhere between 28-30 days, calculate the number of days your cycle lasted for. It’s important that you chart at least 8-9 cycles with the correct number of days to get an idea about the pattern. Using this pattern can tell you your fertile days by subtracting 18 from the number of days in your shortest cycle or 11 from the number of days of your longest cycle. The date you find using either of the methods should be the day when your fertile period starts. Needless to say that having sex in that period without contraceptives could lead you to pregnancy.
5. Apply What You Find
Natural ways of contraception can never be the result of just one method. It’s best if you apply all the methods listed above together to get proper results. It must also be mentioned here that in case you get confused with the calculations, ensure that you use other methods of protection as a safety net, condoms for one. The whole idea of employing the above methods is to find the period of your fertility. Based on your calculations, ensure that you choose wisely as to which days you can have sex without protection and the period of fertility when you can choose to abstain or resort to home remedies to avoid pregnancy.
20 Home Remedies to Avoid Pregnancy
To those of you who do not court the idea of artificial or medical means of avoiding pregnancy, here are some natural pregnancy prevention methods that are not only effective but can be done right at home.
Read on to find out how to prevent unwanted future pregnancy effectively with herbs, spices, plants and such without side effects.
This super herb probably features in every other aspect of life, be it for skin or pregnancy. Neem is in fact counted as a remedy that reduces the chance of fertilisation by reducing the motility of sperms. Neem can be used in several forms to curb pregnancy. In men, taking neem tablets causes sterility thereby curbing pregnancy. Consumption of neem leaves is effective as is using extracts or oils as a home remedy for pregnancy.
This super fruit is another versatile natural remedy that can help curb pregnancy. Consuming papaya in any form, whole fruits, juices or even pulps for at least 4-5 days will ensure that you do not get pregnant.
3. Dried Apricots
Consumption of dried apricots right after sex can give excellent results in curtailing pregnancy. Dried apricots are best taken in a concoction with honey and water. This pleasantly flavoured beverage should be consumed for at least a week for best results.
The very element that makes pasta such a wonderful form of carbohydrate to eat also helps keep pregnancy at bay. Rutin present in buckwheat protects from pregnancy by evading fertilisation if consumed properly with water. Make sure that you consume at least 500 grams of buckwheat with warm water every day to get best results.
5. Dried Fig
The herbs that promoted blood circulation, should be taken every day from the time of intercourse until you get your period.
6. Vitamin C
The element that works wonders for your skin can also help keep pregnancy at bay. Take around 1500 grams of Vitamin C in the form of a capsule to ensure that you don’t get pregnant.
7. Black Cohosh
Taken with pennyroyal, this herb works as a perfect choice for inducing abortion in case you have not taken any effective pregnancy precautions.
This spice not only helps to add flavour to your food but also acts as a wonderful home remedy to curtail pregnancy. Cinnamon water stimulates the uterus and is therefore advised to be taken after sex. It’s recommended that you soak cinnamon sticks overnight in water. Before drinking, ensure to take the sticks out.
9. Weed Leaves
These small wonders are available everywhere to be used. These leaves contain elements such as quercetin, rutin and gallic acid which help regulate menstrual cycles. Add the leaves in boiling water, strain and drink for maximum effect.
There are a few sex precautions to avoid pregnancy that can also be counted as home remedies. For starts, you can time your ejaculation and pull out just before the act. Stop having sex without protection during your menstrual cycle thinking that you cannot get pregnant. Refrain from bringing exposed genitals in close contact.
Warm some of this extraordinary herb in water and bring to a boil. The water can be drunk on its own or add a bit of sugar to add some flavour.
This is also known as Dong Quai. Consume this for at least a fortnight to expand your uterus and stimulate the contractions.
13. Carrot Seeds
A rather old-school method to refrain from getting pregnant, it’s advised that you grind the seeds, mix with water and drink. A tip to get best results is increasing the intake of water for the next few days.
14. Cotton Root Bark
Dry this very effective root and mix it with hot tea or warm water and drink. It’s advised to take this concoction for at least seven days for best results.
The elements found in this home remedy comprise of rutin and pilocarpine. The best way to take it is through tea or water. Don’t forget to strain the same to consume without a hitch.
Another good choice to refrain from getting pregnant, it’s best to be taken in its dried form. Don’t forget to gulp a glass of water while munching on the dried leaves. Avoid taking the leaves in excess as a renal infection is possible. For those with kidney problems, consumption should be limited as well.
17. Ginger Root
Drinking two cups of warm water which has been boiled with grated ginger root can help avoid pregnancy.
Used as a remedy by Quinault Indians, thistles are believed to be a contraceptive. Just boil thistles in water until the bitter taste is infused and drink it.
19. Jack in the Pulpit Root
Also known as Indian turnip or wild turnip, this is a medicinal plant whose root can be used to control pregnancy. Dried powder of the root should be mixed in ½ cup warm water and stored. Drinking it twice gives the desired results
20. Queen Anne’s Lace
Also called wild carrots, these plants produce seeds which can be consumed in the form of tea, or even whole for contraception. However, they are best avoided if you have a kidney ailment or gallstones, or if you are breastfeeding.
In a nutshell, using protection while having sex, or good birth control measures can successfully help you avoid pregnancy. Nevertheless, remember that no medical item that is used for protection gives a 100% result. Sometimes, it might be best to combine both home remedies and the usual methods of protection to ensure that pregnancy is kept at bay.
Also Read: A Guide to Intrauterine Device