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How many forms of contraception are there

Contraception refers to the methods used to prevent pregnancy. There are a lot of forms of contraception available and the choice can be made depending upon a series of factors such as convenience, and the efficacy of the method used.

Different forms of Contraception

• Natural Family planning/ rhythm method: This method of contraception requires abstinence during the ovulation period (approximately 7 – 10 days).
• Barrier method: This method involves the use of physical or chemical devices to prevent the sperm’s entry into the uterus.
• Male condom: This is the most common barrier method. It is a thin tube of latex rubber which is pulled over an erect penis before penetration into the vagina.
• Female condom: This form of contraception is a long pouch of polyurethane which covers the cervix, the vaginal canal and the area around the vagina.
• Spermicide: These are available in the form of jellies, foams and tablets. These are chemicals which kill the sperms.
• Diaphragm: This is a soft rubber dome over a ring which is inserted into the vagina three hours prior to intercourse.
• Cervical cap: This is a small cup made of latex rubber or plastic and is filled with a spermicide. It is inserted into the vagina, over the cervix.
• Hormonal pills or rings: These pills contain the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. They prevent the ovaries from releasing the egg, and cause changes in the uterus and cervical mucus to prevent the sperm from fusing with the egg.
• Hormonal Patch: This is worn on the lower abdomen or buttocks and releases oestrogen and progesterone into the blood stream.
• Hormonal shot/ injection: This is the method of getting a shot every three months to prevent pregnancy.
• Intra-Uterine Devices (IUDs): These are devices which are inserted into the uterus. They allow the sperm from entering but change the cervical mucus so that the chances of fertilisation become low.
• Withdrawal Method: This method involves removal of the penis from the vagina just prior to ejaculation.
• Sterilization: Also known as tubal ligation, sterilization involves the surgical closing of the fallopian tubes. In males, also known as vasectomy, this form of contraception involves surgical closing of tubes that carry sperms.
• Emergency contraception: In case a woman has had unprotected sex, she can resort to emergency contraception, which is a set of two pills that can be taken within 72 hours after having sex. These prevent fertilisation.

There is no ‘best' method of contraception. It is better to determine what suits you, based on your needs. It is also advisable to consult your doctor on the best form of contraception for you so that you make an informed choice.