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Methods of contraception

There is no dearth of methods of contraception but not all contraceptive methods can be suitable for you. It is always better to consult your health care provider to determine which method of contraception will suit you best.
There are 15 different methods of contraception. Find out how they work.

Contraception is essential to prevent unplanned pregnancy. There are several methods of contraception available on the market, but all of them can be broadly divided into 5 categories - barrier methods, hormonal methods, emergency contraception, intrauterine methods and sterilization. Let’s discuss about each category in detail here.

Barrier Method

These methods keep sperms from entering the uterus. All the barrier methods are removable and are ideal for couples who don’t wish to use hormonal methods of contraception. Some of the common barrier methods of contraception are:

  • Male condom – Generally made of latex or polyurethane, prevents pregnancy as well as transmission of STIs
  • Female condom – Made of manmade rubber, needs to be kept inside vagina
  • Diaphragm and cervical cap – Come in various sizes and must be fitted inside women by doctor. To prevent pregnancy they must be kept in place for 6 to 8 hours after intercourse
  • Cervical shield – Made of silicon, this cup shaped device fit against the cervix. Should be taken out within 48 hours of intercourse
  • Contraceptive sponge – Made of polyurethane, this disk shaped device contains spermicide. Must be removed within 30 hours after being inserted

Hormonal methods

Prevent pregnancy by regulating hormones to stop ovulation. Common hormonal methods of contraception include:

  • Oral contraceptives – Available in two types: Combined oral contraceptives and Progestin-only pills
  • Patch – Just like quit smoking patch that needs to be stuck to the skin. One patch works for a week and need to be used for 3 weeks in a month
  • Shot/injection – hormone progestin is injected into women every 3 months. Should not be used for 2 years continuously
  • Vaginal ring – Flexible ring needs to be placed in vagina. Needs to be replaced after 3 weeks

Emergency contraception

Also known as morning after pill, this method should only be used if primary method of contraception fails. It comes in form of a single dose treatment that should be taken within 72 hours after having unprotected sex.

Intrauterine methods

It is a long-term birth control process that involves insertion of a T-shaped device into the uterus for prevention of pregnancy. There are mainly two types of intrauterine devices available – Copper IUD and Hormonal IUD. In Copper IUD a T-shaped copper device is placed inside the uterus to cause inflammatory response to prevent fertilization. Hormonal IUD releases a progestin hormone into the uterus that prevents ovulation.


It is a permanent form of birth control that involves surgery. In the surgery performed on women, fallopian tubes are sealed that prevent a woman from getting pregnant as eggs don’t reach the uterus. Vasectomy is a surgery in which vas deferens is closed to prevent a man from releasing sperm.

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