It was easy for you to decide not to have any babies right now. However, deciding on the best birth control method for you can be quite befuddling. It might help though if you are aware of the options available to you so that you can decide what is just right for you.
What exactly do you expect from your birth control method?
Is it total and complete safety against pregnancy? Is it convenience or cost effectiveness? Is it protection from STDs too? The choice of your birth control method will hinge on such questions.
Are you looking for natural means? No device, medication or procedure if you can help it? The withdrawal method is one such method where your partner pulls out before ejaculation. Then there is a cyclic method. Keeping a track of your basal temperature and scheduling sex only according to the time of your ovulation will be required.
Recommended: Is there such a thing as too much of a pregnancy?
What about spermicides?
Available as a gel, foam, cream and have to be inserted deep into the vagina before sex. No fun and messy. Also not very effective.
Ok condoms maybe. There are some fun condoms around. Available in many colors, flavors, plain and ribbed for the extra pleasure they can make sex exciting as well as safe. They are also pretty effective. However, they require the participation of your partner who may not be quite into them.
Then again what? A female condom? Yes, there is one that can be used as a barrier. It is slightly better than a diaphragm which is also another way to block the sperm from reaching the uterus. A cervical cap could also be used in the same way. They are all inserted into the vagina and discarded after use. Cost effective and easy to use.
If you plan to delay pregnancy for a while and do not want to worry about using stuff each time you have sex it would make sense to go in for a long-term contraceptive such as an IUD. An IUD us an intrauterine device which prevents pregnancy. In India, the Copper T is the IUD most commonly used.
It has to be inserted by a doctor but once in will give you freedom for years. It can be taken out when and if you desire to be pregnant. There are some mild side effects like cramps and changes in bleeding pattern initially but later all that usually settles down.
Long-term contraception can also be done by tubal ligation, another small surgical procedure.
Only advisable for people who have completed their families and are sure they do not want any more children. A non-surgical procedure is tubal implants which are guided into place through the vagina. Of course, the male equivalent of tubal ligation is vasectomy which is another very simple surgical procedure.
Last but not the least are the hormonal contraceptives commonly known as the pill. There are 2 types of pill and your doctor can decide which one is safest for you. The pill has to be taken daily for 21 days of your monthly cycle. An alternative to the oral pill is a hormone injection which can be taken once every 3 months. A hormone patch which can be applied to the skin and left in place for a week also works on the same principle. The hormone is absorbed through the skin.
These, in brief, are the options available for you.
Next week: the pros and cons of different contraceptive methods.