When it comes to planning your family, couples have many options. Not every option will be right for every couple. Additionally, some options may be better suited for one stage of life than others. Here is a brief survey of three popular contraceptive choices to consider discussing with your family medical care provider.
Natural Family Planning
This method of birth control requires no drugs nor medical devices. It does require you to know your body, however. Some couples choose this for religious reasons. For example, this method of planning your family and spacing children is approved by the Roman Catholic Church. Other couples opt for this method because it is a natural way of doing things, and they are attracted to not needing to rely on synthetic hormones or intrusive devices or prophylactics to plan their family. Basically, the calendar and rhythm method are combined with charting basal body temperature and cervical mucous changes to determine when ovulation is occurring, thus providing both the days where pregnancy can occur and the days where it cannot.
While intrauterine devices (IUD) used to have a bad rap from past issues decades ago, in recent years, they have become more popular once more. Today's versions are much safer than those of the past, and the incidence of problems is virtually non-existent. A small t-shaped device is inserted into the cervix and lower uterus, thus preventing pregnancy from occurring. Some intrauterine devices also have a small amount of hormones attached to them, which can provide extra assurance against pregnancy. The hormones can also help with issues such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, and excess menstrual bleeding and cramping. Most IUDs are good for a period of approximately five years, which means they provide a convenient "set it and forget it" contraceptive option. When a couple decides they want to become pregnant, the device is simply and quickly removed, and they can immediately begin trying to conceive.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills have been popular for decades, and for good reason. They are an extremely inexpensive method of preventing pregnancy. When the pills are taken properly, they are also an extremely effective method of preventing conception. The woman simply takes a daily pill. The hormones vary throughout the month, generally making ovulation either not occur at all, or making the cervical mucous inhospitable to the sperm traveling to unite with the released ovum. The hormone levels used today are much lower than those used than in the past.