If you are any one of the millions of women who enjoy having sex but aren’t exactly into getting pregnant right now, or anytime soon, then you need to know certain precautions you can take to prevent pregnancy. Below are some non-hormonal and hormonal options. All of these options help to prevent pregnancy before it happens but do not end a pregnancy that has already begun (cause an abortion).
If you do not want to add hormones to your body but still want to prevent pregnancy, then using condoms is one of the most reliable methods to try. According to the NHS, when used correctly, condoms are about 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. Condoms can be made even more effective when used with spermicidal gels or lubricants.
Condoms need to be used every time to be effective. Men should also make sure they are wearing the correct size. No penis is too big or small to fit in a condom. If you do not know how to use a condom, check the instructions in the box. As a bonus, condoms not only prevent pregnancy but can help to protect against certain STIs.
Birth Control Pills
If you are not worried about hormones, then taking birth control pills can also be highly effective. As a bonus, birth control pills have many other health benefits. According to Planned Parenthood, some other health benefits of taking birth control pills include reducing the chances of the following: acne, bone thinning, breast cysts, ovary cysts, ovarian cancer, anemia, and infections in the reproductive organs. Taking birth control pills can also help to regulate menstrual cycles.
Make sure to talk to your doctor before taking birth control pills, as they are not right for everyone. There are some negative health effects that some women experience, including weight gain and depression. Birth control pills need to be taken at the same time every day to be effective.
Emergency Contraceptive Pills
If you had unprotected sex or if you have used a method of birth control that failed (such as forgetting to take a birth control pill, wearing a patch, or having a condom break), then it might be in your best interest to use emergency contraception. This usually comes in the form of a pill or several pills a woman can take in the days following sex. Some brands require a prescription while others do not.
With all of these pills, the pill works better the earlier it is taken. For example, if you take a pill the same night a condom breaks, you will be more likely to prevent pregnancy than if you take it the next night. Most pills need to be taken within 72 hours or sex, but some can be used up to five days later. As with any other medication, make sure to read the instructions carefully to ensure the best results.
If you do not want to become pregnant, use condoms or birth control (or both) to get the best results. If those fail, use emergency contraceptives. Remember, pregnancy can only be prevented with abstinence or safe sex!