It can be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out how to avoid getting pregnant, especially since there are so many different contraceptives out there. Choosing a contraceptive is very personal and should be carefully considered. A first step is to find out which different ways there are and which one suits your lifestyle and faith.
Method 1 of 5: Barrier Resources
Step 1. Condoms
Latex condoms are put on the penis during intercourse. Because sperm cannot come into contact with fertile eggs, pregnancy is prevented. You can often get condoms for free at health clinics, but you can also buy them at drugstores and supermarkets for about 1 Euro each.
- Another advantage of condoms is that both people are protected against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy.
- Condoms are made of thin latex, so from time to time, unfortunately, one will tear during intercourse. If this happens, you are more likely to get pregnant.
- Some people are allergic to latex condoms and prefer plastic condoms.
Step 2. Female condoms
Female condoms are also made of latex and have the shape of a ring with a pouch attached. The pouch fits inside the vagina and the ring stays outside the body to keep everything in place. During intercourse, it traps the sperm so that it cannot enter the woman's body. Female condoms cost about 2 Euro each and can be bought at the drugstore.
- Female condoms reduce the risk of STDs by not touching the vagina directly.
- Female condoms are slightly less reliable than normal condoms and some people find them less comfortable to use.
Step 3. Pessaries
These are a kind of trays made of silicone that have to be placed over the cervix in the vagina, so that the sperm cannot reach an egg. To increase effectiveness, pessaries are usually used in conjunction with a spermicidal paste, which stops the sperm from moving.
- Because every woman's body is built slightly differently, diaphragms should be custom made to ensure they fit exactly. A gynecologist or doctor can determine the correct size of the pessary.
- Pessaries are quite reliable, but they don't protect against STDs.
Method 2 of 5: Hormonal Birth Control
Step 1. The contraceptive pill
The contraceptive pill, often referred to simply as 'the pill', consists of a synthetic form of estrogen and progesterone, which ensures that the woman's eggs remain in her ovaries, preventing her from becoming pregnant. When taken correctly, the pill is extremely reliable. The contraceptive pill is only available on prescription, which you can get from your doctor or gynaecologist.
- For best results, the pill should be taken at the same time each day. If you skip a few days, it becomes a lot less reliable.
- Some women suffer from side effects of the pill. Manufacturers use different levels of estrogen and progesterone, so your doctor may prescribe a different pill if you experience unpleasant side effects from one particular pill.
Step 2. Other hormonal agents
The same hormones that are used to make the pill so reliable can also be introduced into your body in a different way. If you're not a fan of taking pills every day, read on:
- Depo-Provera, or the contraceptive injection. You get this shot in your arm every three months. The injection is very reliable in preventing pregnancy, but there are known side effects.
- The contraceptive patch. The patch is usually placed on the arm, back, or thigh. It releases hormones through the skin and needs to be replaced every few weeks.
- The contraceptive ring. The ring is inserted into the vagina once a month. It releases hormones to prevent pregnancy.
- The contraceptive stick. A small rod is placed in the arm, which releases hormones for three years to prevent pregnancy. This swab must be inserted and removed by a doctor.
Step 3. IUD
The IUD is a small metal object that is placed in the uterus by a doctor. There is an IUD that releases hormones, while another type is made of copper which affects the motility of the sperm so that they cannot fertilize the egg.
- IUDs are extremely reliable and can last up to 12 years. They are quite expensive, but in most cases this is covered by insurance.
- If you prefer not to disrupt your cycle, the copper IUD is worth considering. This does not release hormones, so you do not suffer from hormonal side effects.
Method 3 of 5: Behavioral Adjustments
Step 1. Abstinence
If you don't have vaginal intercourse, the man's sperm will not reach the woman's egg, preventing pregnancy. If you are continuously abstinent, you are guaranteed not to get pregnant, this is 100% certain.
- Some people see abstinence as not having any kind of sexual contact, but in order not to get pregnant, all you need to do is avoid vaginal intercourse.
- Abstinence requires quite a bit of willpower and some people find it difficult to stick to this method for long.
- If you stop abstinence, it is of course important that another method of contraception is used.
Step 2. Know when you are fertile
This method is also called NFP (Natural Family Planning) or Sensiplan and means that you can only have sex at certain times during the cycle, namely when the woman is not fertile. At those times when it is possible to become pregnant, abstinence is applied. In order for this method to work properly, it is necessary to have knowledge of one's own fertility.
- There are roughly three ways to calculate when a woman is fertile: using a calendar, using mucus, or using body temperature. When used together, these methods are very accurate in calculating exactly when a woman is fertile.
- In the calendar method, a calendar keeps track of the different phases of the cycle. After a while, patterns will be recognized and based on this, it can be predicted when ovulation will take place.
- With the mucus method, the cervical mucus is regularly examined, which changes in color and consistency when the woman is fertile.
- With the temperature method, the basal body temperature should be checked every day to see when it rises a few tenths of a degree, indicating that ovulation has occurred.
- The disadvantage of all this is that this method requires a lot of time and attention. If you forget to look at the cervical mucus or take a temperature for a few days, you may be making a mistake in calculating the fertile period, when you should not have sex.
- The advantage of this method is that it is completely natural, with virtually no costs involved and where you do not have to take hormones or introduce foreign substances into your body.
Method 4 of 5: Surgical procedures
Step 1. Female sterilization
During a surgical procedure, the fallopian tubes are closed, after which pregnancy is no longer possible. This method is extremely reliable in preventing pregnancy. But it should not be taken lightly, because it is almost impossible to turn back.
Step 2. Vasectomy
Men can choose to undergo a procedure that blocks the vas deferens through which the sperm passes. If the man then ejaculates, there will be no more sperm in the ejaculation, making it impossible to get a woman pregnant. In some cases, a vasectomy can be reversed, but this procedure should only be performed if the man is very sure that he wants to be permanently sterilized.
Method 5 of 5: Preventing Pregnancy After Sex
Step 1. Use a morning after pill
The morning after pill actually consists of two pills that contain levonorgestrel. These should be taken as soon as possible after sex. The sooner they are taken, the better they can prevent the woman from becoming pregnant.
- The morning after pill can be obtained from most pharmacies or from your doctor.
- The morning after pill should not be a substitute for regular birth control; it is a last resort if unprotected sex has taken place.