Do your research first before settling on a given method (Photo: iStock)

With advancements in technology, we now have a wide variety of contraceptive methods that vary in cost and effectiveness. You’re free to choose any of these methods as long as you’re comfortable with everything that comes with it.

Common methods we hear about all the time are male and female condoms, hormonal and non-hormonal Intra Uterine Devices and finally, the pill.

There are also other methods that don’t get enough attention for one reason or another. Here are five types of contraceptives you should consider educating yourself on:

Female sterilization

The name and sound of ‘female sterilization’ can instantly scare anyone away. It sounds horrific but the gentle term for it is ‘tubal ligation.’ This is a permanent procedure where you get your fallopian tubes tied to prevent any fertilization.

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Although it’s technically reversible because there is a procedure you can go for if you change your mind, it’s however not always a guarantee your reversal will be successful.

Vaginal ring

A virginal ring isn’t the first option that comes to mind when you’re deciding on the right family planning method. But, you should know that when used correctly, it has up to a 99% chance of preventing unplanned pregnancies.

The ring works by releasing hormones that block implantation and fertilization and it also prevents the release of an egg. It needs to be replaced every 21 days so this might be a challenge for you if you don’t like the hassle or have the financial commitment of getting a new one every so often.

Birth control patches

This is another effective method that isn’t often chosen. It is a patch that you can stick on areas like your belly and back and just like the vaginal ring, it releases hormones into your body.

If used the right way, it can be 99% effective but the challenge is the health risk that comes with it, like blood clotting and high blood pressure. Before going for this option, consult your doctor and think your decision through.

Spermicide

If you haven’t heard of spermicide before, it comes in the form of a gel, cream, suppository, sponge or film that’s coated with a sperm-destroying chemical.

To use it, you need to place the spermicide inside the vagina before intercourse. But be warned, this method has a bad track record because it isn’t always effective. Plus, it can irritate the skin and increase your risk of infections.

Vasectomy

This family planning method has been getting a lot of attention of late. It is the most effective method of contraception for men because it permanently blocks sperm from entering the semen.

This procedure is quick and affordable, but you still need to ensure that you get it done by a professional who is experienced.

If you choose this, just make sure that you are one hundred per cent sure that you never want kids to avoid any future regrets.