Many couples do not want to get pregnant and just have some good sex. However, things may not work as you planned for. An unwanted pregnancy can be difficult for both parents. To prevent unplanned pregnancy, many couples use contraceptive pills, which can have their own side effects, even in the long run.
Many people use natural methods to prevent pregnancy. But all those methods are not always effective. So, it is suggested to practice safe sex as much as possible. Below, are 15 ways to avoid pregnancy naturally and have sex without getting pregnant.
Barrier methods of protection prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. This is an absolutely safe and most effective method to prevent pregnancy. Below are the various barrier methods that are pretty effective-
1. Male condoms
Male and female condoms are the only 2 types of contraception methods that protect against STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
Just make sure to use the condom properly. If you use them properly, male condoms are more than 80 % effective against unwanted pregnancy.
Male condoms are mostly made of latex. But, other types of condoms are also available for people allergic to latex. If you are using a lubricant, make sure to check that the lubricant is compatible with the condom you are using. You can get a condom without a prescription. Just go to any nearby medical or drug store.
2. Female condoms
Female condoms work similar to male condoms and can be used instead of the male condom. But, both male and female condoms should never be used together.
Female condoms are about 79 % effective for protection.
A diaphragm is another barrier contraception method that is placed inside the female’s vagina. It is suggested to apply spermicide to the diaphragm before using it.
The diaphragm used properly with spermicide is nearly 90% effective to have sex but no pregnancy. A female should insert the diaphragm a few hours before having sex and leave it in for about 6 hours after sex. Remove the diaphragm after 24 hours. The only drawback is that they do not protect against STIs.
4. Cervical cap
A cervical cap is another barrier method to avoid pregnancy after sex. It is a soft silicone cup and is placed deep inside the vagina. The cap covers the cervix and stops sperm from reaching the egg.
The effectiveness of cervical caps ranges from about 70 to 85 %. and does not protect against STIs.
Yes. Sponge is a type of birth control method. The sponge is made of polyurethane foam and contains spermicide. It is placed deep inside the vagina and blocks sperm from entering the uterus.
When used alone, the sponge has the effectiveness of 76 to 88 % against conception. When used with a condom, it can reduce the risk of pregnancy and also STIs.
Spermicide is a chemical that inactivates the sperm. Spermicides are easily available without a prescription and are used with forms of contraception, like condoms. But, it cannot be used with the sponge.
When used alone, spermicide has to be inserted close to the cervix about 10 minutes before having sex. It then remains effective for 60 mins and is nearly 71 % effective.
Spermicide gels are also easily available and pretty effective.
Hormonal birth control methods prevent conception by stopping ovulation temporarily. This contraception method does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
7. Contraceptive pills
Contraceptive pills or birth control pills are the most commonly used contraception method and are over 99 % effective if taken as prescribed by the gynecologist.
However, with normal use, they are about 95 % effective. There are two forms of birth control pill:
- The combined pill- It contains both the female sex hormones, estrogen and progestin and should be taken daily, as told by the gynecologist. When taking birth control pills, the female will have a monthly period.
- The mini-pill- It contains only one hormone, progestin. The female is suggested to take this pill at the same time each day without breaking the routine. Females on mini-pill may have irregular periods.
8. Contraceptive Patches
The contraceptive patch is 99% effective when used properly. It works easily, the female just has to put the pain-less and risk-free patch and the work is done. A female can put a contraceptive patch on the following parts of the body-
- Upper arm
A female is suggested to wear 1 contraceptive patch for 3 weeks. It is suggested to remove the pack 1 week before the expected period date to allow the regular menstrual cycle.
There are no side effects of this patch but some females complain of skin irritation after use.
9. Contraceptive Shot or Injection
The contraceptive shot (also known as Depo-Provera) is given regularly by the doctor after every 12 weeks. With regular shots on time, this method is over 90 % effective for preventing pregnancy.
It may take up to 10 months, or at times even longer, for the fertility to return back to normal after a female stops getting the shot.
10. Vaginal ring
Vaginal rings are over 99 % effective when used properly. Mostly due to not being used properly, they are less than 95 % effective.
Vaginal ring is a small, plastic ring that is placed inside the vagina for about 3 weeks. The ring releases hormones into the female’s body to prevent pregnancy.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants
Intrauterine devices or IUDs and implants are for those looking for a long-term contraceptive method. They are over 99 % effective at preventing pregnancy. However, IUDs and implants do not protect against STIs.
11. Intrauterine devices or IUDs
An IUD is a small device inserted by the gynecologist into the uterus. There are 2 types of IUDs:
- Hormonal- Hormonal IUD can last for at least 5 years and work effectively. They do not stop the ovulation completely. But act as a contraceptive method by thickening cervical mucus and thus prevent the sperm from entering the uterus.
- Copper-based- This hormone-free device is covered in copper wire and destroys the sperm which is trying to enter the uterus. One intrauterine device can prevent pregnancy for about 10 years.
Side effects of IUDs include spotting, irregular periods, and period cramps.
Contraceptive implants are another form of the hormonal birth control method. A gynecologist inserts this matchstick-sized rod into the female’s arm to prevent pregnancy.
They work by releasing progestin into the female’s body and thus prevent ovulation. Implants are about 99 % effective for contraception and need to be replaced every 3 years.
Other methods of Contraception
13. Emergency Contraception
In case you had unprotected sex or your birth control failed (like a broken condom or a skipped contraceptive pill), you can use emergency contraception pills to reduce the risk of getting pregnant. (Also Read: Beginner’s Guide to Emergency Contraceptives)
As their name tells, they are supposed to be used only in case of emergency. Do not use them in place of your regular birth control methods.
There are 2 forms of emergency contraception:
- Emergency contraceptive pill– A female is suggested to take a hormonal contraceptive pill within 3 days of unprotected intercourse. The sooner she takes it, the more effective it will be. So, a female should take the emergency pill as soon as possible after sex. Emergency pills usually contain chemical named levonorgestrel and are easily available from a doctor or at a medical store or drugstore.
- Copper IUD: The Copper IUD has to be inserted up to 5 days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. This method is more than 99.9 % effective when used within 5 days of intercourse.
Both men and women can undergo medical procedures and permanently reduce their fertility. Sterilization procedures are over 99 % effective for preventing pregnancy. But this method of protection does not protect against STIs.
A man can undergo a vasectomy, which is a minor procedure and does not require hospitalization.
Similarly, a female can undergo the sterilization procedure of tubal ligation. In this procedure, the female’s fallopian tubes are clamped or sealed. The procedure has permanent results but in rare cases, the fallopian tubes can reconnect and lead to a pregnancy.
There are several contraceptive methods available for both men and women to help avoid pregnancy after sex. You can choose any form of a contraceptive method from barrier methods to hormonal patches, pills, and IUDs.
Some methods of protection may work better for some people, and the results may roughly vary in people. The person who can give you the best advice with the most effective method is your gynecologist. Click here to get an appointment with the best gynecologist and find your safe and effective contraception to have safe sex to avoid pregnancy.