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The Commotion Surrounding Contraception

Contraception has come a long way in the last century. From having to improvise with spare bits lying around the house to calculating the dates when you’re at your least fertile, we have definitely reached a point where we don’t need to rely purely on the luck of the draw to stop us from unwanted pregnancies and allow us to live fuller sex lives. But as more and more of us are taking advantage of what’s on offer to us in terms of contraception, we’re tending to stick with what we know and keep safely inside of that little bubble - not venturing out of it, even if there may be a better alternative. So what’s the deal surrounding it?

Go To The Doctor

If you are going on a pill to help you have safer sex, you must always go to either a doctor or a registered family planning clinic first. Different pills mean different things for different people. As it stands, there are currently two main types that you can be prescribed which are the combined pill, which is a combination of oestrogen and progesterone (named brands include Microgynon, Cilest and Yasmin) and the mini pill, which is progesterone-only (named brands include Cerazette), and you may have come across them already. There are benefits to each, and certain factors like your family’s health history, your weight and any mental health issues that you may have will be taken into account when deciding which pill to put you on - so you need to be extremely frank and honest when your doctor or the prescribing nurse is going through any questionnaire with you before you get hold of the pill.

Don’t Rely On Anybody Else

It can be easy to get swept up when the mood takes you, but you shouldn’t be relying on anybody else - regardless of gender - to provide contraception to you. Worry about covering yourself and then at least you have some reassurance that you have done the most that you can do in the situation. This is the same for same-sex relationships where pregnancy isn’t the main concern, but instead the focus is on STIs. If you don’t feel comfortable in any situation to be having sex without some form of protection, it’s okay to say no. Your partner should be understanding of why and the consequences that you are trying to avoid. If they’re not and are unwilling to see the bigger picture, it’s worth questioning whether it’s worth it altogether.

Missed It? There’s Backup

Wondering what do you do if you miss taking your pill? The downside to certain pills is that you have to take it at the same time every day - this is mostly with the mini pill, as you usually have a 12-hour window with the combined pill in which to take it if you’ve forgotten at your regular time. There is the option of taking the morning-after pill which can be gotten free from family planning clinics or bought from a registered pharmacy - although it can be expensive to do the latter (which has caused quite the controversy in recent weeks). There are other things that can go wrong with contraception, such as condoms splitting or breaking, in which case you will need to go and get the emergency pill regardless; it’s better to be safe than sorry. The main thing to remember is not to be embarrassed about it, as this will only delay you from going and getting it. There are thousands of ladies each year who need it to keep themselves covered, so don’t sweat it.

Although There’s Backup, Don’t Rely On It

You should never be relying on the backup to contraception as your whole contraception. It’s just not the way it works, and it is increasing the chances of things like pregnancy and STIs developing more than you think. Practising safe sex should never be focused on thinking of the backup options, but instead just being thankful that they’re there in case any mistakes happen. The main concern with issuing free morning-after pills over the counter rather than in a doctor’s office is that they will be misused, with more and more people taking to having just that one pill rather than conforming to other contraception that offers a safer alternative. There is some logic behind that reasoning, and it definitely should not be the first thing that you think of when planning to have sex in a safe way.

Look At Other Alternatives

There’s not just the pill to consider. There are many other contraceptive methods available for you, and the best person to speak to about them all is your doctor. They’ll be able to tell you the risks of each one in regards to your body, both mentally and physically, as well as how effective they are. It’s not uncommon to double up to ensure that you are being as safe as you can be - for example, using condoms and the pill - and it’s especially good to have the choice available as some things just aren’t for everyone. It’s also important to consider how long you will be on the contraception that you have chosen for; some offer a longer temporary solution, such as the implant or the coil, which are usually in for a number of years. Condoms are one-use only, so are at the other end of the scale, but there are plenty of things inbetween. Alternatives such as ‘coitus interruptus’, or the withdrawal method as it’s more commonly known, should not be relied on no matter what.

Expect Changes

If you are using contraception that has to be ingested or is sitting in your body for a while in order to be effective, you need to expect changes to happen. They may not, but it’s good to be aware of what could potentially come to be; side-effects of contraception range from headaches and nausea to mood swings and increased libido. What you may experience should be noted down on the leaflet that you get with any contraception that you are using, and it’s a good idea to take a note of it and mention it to a health professional if it is causing you concern. Anything that is not listed down that you are experiencing should also be discussed; it may not be down to the contraception that you are on.

What Is The Best Contraception?

The most highly-rated effective form of contraception is sterilisation, although this is an extremely bold measure to take. It means that you will not be able to have children at any time, rather than taking the pill but being able to come off it when you would like to start a family, for example. A lot of contraception at present is nearly 100% effective if used in the correct way, which definitely shows the importance of reading and following the the instructions that have come along with it. If you aren’t paying attention to what you need to do then you are lessening your chances of being fully protected. At the end of the day, the best contraception is one that works for you and that you feel totally comfortable with using. It’s the one that is being used to its full advantage without being chopped and changed at a moment’s notice. It’s the one that is never used for backup, but the one that is used regularly or changed/upkept as and when needed in order to provide you with the best service.

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