Just how reliable is your contraception?
Regular sex is an excellent idea – and not just because it’s fun. Research shows that it actually helps beef up your immunity, ﬁght stress, improves health heart, reduce pain, and strengthen your relationship.
But, if you aren’t planning a pregnancy, what birth control methods are you using? And is it reliable?
According to the 2012 Fertility Awareness & Sexuality Survey, 21.3 percent of Singaporean women rely on the withdrawal method to avoid an unplanned pregnancy. (The same findings also showed that respondents aged 35 and above were more likely to combine withdrawal with oral contraceptive pills though.)
While convenient, the withdrawal method is risky. “Pre-ejaculate has semen, and if the couple are young… they are even more fertile. That could lead to unwanted pregnancies,” cautions Dr Christopher Ng, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Gynaemd Women’s and Rejuvenation Clinic.
Instead of just relying on the withdrawal method, consider these four other reliable contraceptive methods.
1. Birth control method: Condom
How it works This latex sheath is widely regarded as the best form of protection against sexually transmitted diseases as it forms an impermeable barrier to pathogens. However, it may break or be weakened, especially when used with oil-based lubricants like petroleum jelly.
Effectiveness of the condom 98 per cent when used correctly.
Possible side effects of the condom Latex-induced allergies.
2. Birth control method: Oral contraceptive pill
How it works Taken daily for 21 days per month, the pill works by preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries. Apart from being a reliable means of contraception, it has also been found to relieve menstrual cramps and reduce the risk of developing ovarian and endometrial cancers.
Effectiveness of the oral contraceptive pill 98 to 99 per cent when used correctly.
Possible side effects of the oral contraceptive pill May lead to blood clots. Risk factors include smoking, being over 35, being overweight, heart abnormalities, and high blood pressure.
3. Birth control method: Intra-uterine device (IUD)
How it works The T-shaped device is surgically inserted into the womb to prevent fertilisation of eggs. There are two types of IUDs – hormonal and non-hormonal – to choose from. They generally last up to ﬁve years.
Effectiveness of the intra-uterine device 99.2 to 99.4 per cent when used correctly.
Possible side effects of the intra-uterine device Pelvic inﬂammatory disease as well as an infection of the uterus lining, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries.
4. Birth control method: Vaginal ring
How it works This rubber band-like device contains a small amount of female sex hormones (oestrogen and progestin), which is slowly released into the bloodstream to prevent ovulation – just like the pill. It is inserted into the vagina and remains there for three weeks before being removed to allow for menstruation.
Effectiveness of the vaginal ring 99 per cent when used correctly.
Possible side effectiveness of the vaginal ring Vaginal irritation, headache and nausea.