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Methods of birth control. Choice is yours



Methods of birth control. Choice is yours



Yojana 28(19): 33-34



Several birth control methods are available to help couples who realize the advantages of having a small family. For the woman who marries at around age 20 and who does not want to have her 1st child for a few years, the oral contraceptive (OC) is almost 100% effective if taken regularly. This method may not be advisable for all women. Contraindications to OC use are listed. It is advisable to consult a gynecologist before starting OCs and to see the doctor periodically. Menstruation tends to be scanty after OCs. If menstruation stops totally, the doctor should be consulted and another method adopted. For persons for whom OCs is not suitable and also for those who may not want a 100% effective method, conventional methods can be used. These include the condom for the man with spermicidal jelly for the woman or the use of the diaphragm along with spermicidal jelly by the woman. These methods when used during the "safe period" with abstinence during the fertile period can be highly effective contraceptive methods. Very small IUDs have been developed for use by women who want to postpone the 1st pregnancy, but these are not recommended. Women are advised to prove their fertility with at least 1 child because of the small risk of infection associated with the use of this device. This may sometimes cause infertility. Breastfeeding is encouraged for all mothers as it is good for both mother and child. Apart from reducing the risk of breast and uterine cancer, breastfeeding works as an effective contraceptive method for the initial 3-6 months, particularly for mothers whose babies receive only breast milk and are fed every 2-3 hours. For those couples who have completed their families, the question arises as to who should undergo sterilization. The vasectomy is a simpler operation when performed under local anesthesia. World Health Organization studies show that men who had vasectomies performed 10-20 years earlier were in better health than a control group of men of the same age who had not had this procedure. Despite these facts, in India, except during 1976, more women than men have accepted sterilization. A few new methods of contraception are presently being investigated and are likely to be available for general use in the near future.

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