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Birth Control

Common Methods of Birth Control

Birth control is an important part of life for many Americans as it allows couples and women to prevent unwanted pregnancies and plan for pregnancies. The most common types of birth control are abstinence, barriers, pills and intrauterine devices.

Abstinence is a form of birth control when one does not have any sort of sexual interactions with a partner. Sexual interactions include intercourse and foreplay. Abstinence prevents pregnancy by eliminating the chances of sperm entering the vagina. If abstinence is practiced properly, it is completely effective at preventing pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Barriers include forms of birth control such as condoms and diaphragms. Barrier methods work by blocking semen and sperm from entering the vagina. Barriers are used when couples are engaged in sexual intercourse. The effectiveness of barrier methods depends on correct usage. When used correctly, only about two percent of women will become pregnant. However, when barriers are not always used correctly, about 18 percent of women will become pregnant. Condoms will also prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

Pills are another common form of birth control. Birth control pills are taken by women to prevent pregnancy. Birth control pills work by delivering hormones to women that either prevent ovulation or increase cervical mucus thickness. By preventing ovulation, birth control pills stops pregnancies because there is no egg to join with sperm. By increasing the thickness of cervical mucus, birth control pills prevents sperm from getting to the egg. When taken correctly, less than one percent of women will become pregnant. However, if birth control pills are not taken daily as directed, about nine percent of women will become pregnant.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are also used by women as a form of birth control. These devices small, plastic and T-shaped and are inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two forms of IUDs: copper and hormonal. Copper IUDs prevent pregnancy by affecting sperm mobility. While hormonal IUDs also affect sperm mobility, they can also prevent ovulation and increase cervical mucus production by releasing small amounts of progestin. IUDs are one of the most effective methods of birth control with less than one percent of women becoming pregnant while using one. Copper IUDs can also work as emergency contraceptive devices.

Understanding methods of birth control is important for family planning and preventing unwanted or accidental pregnancies.

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