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How to choose the best contraceptive for you

 How to choose the best contraceptive for you (Photo: iStock)

With more than ten contraceptive methods, there are many options. We have access to different types of contraception, from barrier methods to implants, as well as natural options such as calendar rhythm methods for people who are very accurate.

All these options mean that people with different lifestyles and needs can find the option that suits them best. But before you choose one, it's important to familiarise yourself with all the methods available so you don't rush into anything and end up regretting it.

While you're deciding what's right for you, ask yourself a few questions like the ones below to get you closer to the right solution. You may also want to consult an expert for better guidance:

Do you want kids?

The whole point of contraception is mainly to prevent unwanted pregnancies, although some options come with more benefits like STIs and HIV protection. So the first thing to think about is whether you want kids and if you do, how soon.

If you’re sure you and your partner don’t want to have any kids or any more kids, you could look at permanent methods that will prevent a pregnancy from ever happening.

If you want kids in a couple of years, you could try implants which can last for years or other temporary solutions until you’re ready.

Are you a consistent person?

There are some birth control methods that need a higher level of consistency and strictness than others. For example, pills require you to take them at the same time every day and during certain days of the month for maximum effectiveness. This would be suited for someone who is keener because it is a high-maintenance method.

Then, there are others like an Intrauterine Device which is a low-maintenance method that doesn’t require you to do a lot. Decide based on whether you can keep up consistently or not.

Do you smoke?

Smoking in particular is a dangerous habit when combined with certain contraception methods. And the one that is known to cause cardiovascular problems when smoking is involved is oral birth control.

If you smoke or even have a smoking addiction, you should avoid oral contraceptives and consult on other options that are suitable for you.

How comfortable are you with side effects?

You also need to think about the possible effects of different methods. Some have side effects that can alter your mood and body functioning and that may be something you wouldn’t be up for.

Therefore, weigh the risks involved with the methods available for you and go for the one you’re most comfortable with.

Do you have a medical condition?

Certain medical conditions can limit the number of contraceptive choices you have. Some methods contain hormones that can affect your health when you’re already dealing with a condition.

Something else to factor in is the medications you’re on and how that might affect you. You can discuss that with your doctor to avoid using any unsuitable birth control methods.

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