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Types of contraceptives every lady should know

Readers Lounge By Esther Muchene

A controversial subject it may be to some, especially those who hold their religious beliefs dear, but there is no denying how family planning has improved the lives of many people.

ALSO READ: Mum with contraceptive coil didn't know she was pregnant gives birth to triplets

Whether you choose to go this route as an individual or married couple, it is very important to do your homework so you can know what the best option for you is.

Some methods of contraception are more effective than others and this being your body we’re talking about, you need to be sure you’re on the tight one.

To demystify this subject and offer some clarity, we will delve into the four categories of contraceptives you need to know about.

Oral pills (Shutterstock)
  • Oral

The two main types are, those taken daily and the emergency morning after pill. The daily pills release hormones that thicken the uterine mucus and prevent ovulation.

It is a very effective method and it relies on consistency and accuracy in timing.

Some of the side effects associated with them include but are not limited to mood swings and weight gain.

Another challenge is that women with underlying conditions like high blood pressure may not be allowed to proceed with the medication.

ALSO READ: How hepatitis affects women’s health

Emergency pills on the other hand work by delaying ovulation. They can easily be found over the counter and they’re effective only within a few days after having unprotected sex.

These are also effective but they’re more prone to counterfeits at local pharmacies. Don’t settle for fakes.

Another important thing you need to note about this type of contraceptive is, they both don’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Injectables

It’s a simple and effective form of birth control that needs to be done every few months.

You get a shot on your rear or your arm which releases hormones (progestogen and estrogen) in small doses.

There are very few side effects like irregular bleeding; but talk to your gynecologist first before you settle on them.

  • Insertables

These happen to be one of the most common ways to inhibit chances of pregnancy over a period of time. They fall under the following categories.

ALSO READ: Why the contraceptive failure rate is high


These are Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) that are placed in the uterus.

The two main types are copper and hormonal IUDs. Copper repels sperms which prevents them from reaching the eggs.

Hormonal IUDs thicken cervical mucus and prevent ovulation. Both are effective and can be left in for many years.

Copper T (Shutterstock)


This involves a capsule or rod being inserted into the arm to release doses of the hormone progestogen. They’re effective and last for a few years.

iii.Birth control ring

Although it sounds spooky, all that happens is the doctor inserts a ring inside the vagina which releases hormones that prevent fertilization.

You have to replace the ring often and store fresh ones properly to prevent accidents.

iv.Female condoms

These are also known as internal condoms and they effectively block the sperms.

They’re placed inside the vagina and should only be used once before discarding.

They’re effective in preventing pregnancies and providing protection against STDs and HIV/AIDS.


They are soft dome shaped cups placed inside the vagina to block sperm from accessing your uterus.

They’re a physical barrier and not as effective as other methods. You have to place and remove them at the right time or use with other preventive methods like spermicide to make them more effective.

They’re reusable but you should clean them properly after every use.

vi.Cervical caps

They’re similar to diaphragms because you insert them to cover your cervix. They should be left in for roughly six hours but no longer than 48 hours after sex.

Once you remove, proper cleaning should follow.

When used on its own, it’s not very effective. You have to pour some spermicide in to reduce the chances of getting pregnant.

vii.Birth control sponge

Although not widely available, it’s used by inserting it into the vagina so it blocks sperm from reaching the uterus.

They contain spermicide but can be used with condoms to increase effectiveness.

Hormonal patches (Shutterstock)
  • Patches

The hormonal patches release progestin and estrogen to prevent fertilization. The hormones thicken the cervical mucus and stop ovulation.

They’re placed on areas like the arm and belly to allow absorption into your body. They’re effective only when used correctly so you shouldn’t miss your replacement days. You can also back them up by using condoms.

It is important to know that these methods don’t protect you from diseases except the female condoms.

But the most effective methods when it comes to family planning are intrauterine devices, injectable and the implants.

And, before you make that decision, visit your doctor for professional advice.

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