April 11, 2013

Contraception Part 3 --Barriers, Permanent, and Fertility Awareness

by Zandrock

Today's article focuses on three other types of contraceptive methods. We will discuss their efficacy, any special features, and their side effects.

Permanent Contraception

This is contraception that permanently lasts once it is done. What they do is the prevent the passage of either sperm or the egg through the vas deferens and Fallopian tubes.

In females, this is called a tubal litigation, which is commonly referred to as getting your tubes tied. This has a failure rate of 0.5% after one year, and 1.8% after 10 years.

Males can have a vasectomy done, as well. This has a failure rate of 0.2% over 1 year, and 2.2% over 10 years. A 2.2% failure rate over 10 years means that if 1,000 people had this procedure done, 22 of them would have a kid after regular intercourse over 10 years -- statistically speaking.

With both of these methods, surgery is required. The side effects all arise from the surgery for these forms of birth control. So, you can get pain, swelling, tenderness, and scarring. You can also have complications from the surgeries, too. If you are thinking about getting either of these procedures done, you should talk to your doctor, though, as I will not discuss all of the details in this article.

Natural Family Planning

Finally, there is the natural family planning method. This method revolves around understanding the timing of a woman’s ovulation cycle, and then abstaining from sex for certain periods to prevent pregnancy. This method has a failure rate between 1 and 20%.

Basal Body Temperature
In this method, you take your temperature each morning as soon as you get up. You track this temperature for a few months to get an idea of your body. What you should see is that once a month, your temperature will elevate by 0.5 degrees Celsius and stay elevated till menstruation, and then it will drop back down. This temperature spike occurs right before ovulation. So, once you see the spike, you should abstain from sex for at least 3 days.

Billings Method
In this method, you observe your vaginal mucus, because vaginal mucus changes around the time of ovulation. It becomes more clear, slippery, and more elastic as ovulation nears. After ovulation, mucus becomes more viscous, and there is less of it. So, this requires you to learn what your mucus is like and abstain from sex when it changes to the clear, slippery, elastic mucus.

Calendar Method
To do this, you chart your menstrual cycle over a couple of months. It assumes that ovulation occurs 12-16 days before menstruation (as you might remember the luteal phase is quite consistent). So, to determine your fertile period you:
1. subtract 20 from the length of the shortest cycle (fertility begins)
2. subtract 10 from the longest cycle (fertility ends)

So, if your shortest cycle is 28 days and your longest cycle is 30 days you go:
28-20 = 8 (fertility begins)
30-10 = 20 (fertility ends)
So, your fertile period is day 8 through day 20 and you would abstain from sex on those days.

Lactational Amenorrhea Method
When you are breastfeeding, the hormones that cause lactation cause you to stop ovulation. So, as long as menses (your period) has not returned, you are fully breastfeeding, and the baby is less than 6 months old, then this method is 98% effective.