The Basics of Birth Control

 By: James Smi
We now live in a world where sex is as normal as going out to the movies. Even teenagers as young as fifteen years old are aware of the concept of premarital sex. And chances are, a lot of adolescents aged 15 to 19 are already sexually active. It is because we take sex so lightly that the rate of accidental pregnancies are going higher and higher up the charts.

While we're on the subject of being permissive enough to ignore teenage sex, think about this: Do these teenagers know what contraceptives are? Do they know which ones to use and how to properly use it? This article will help children understand birth control more.

What is contraception and how does birth control work?
Birth control is a set of actions, devices, medications used for the sole purpose of preventing conception or pregnancy. It works in three ways:
1. It prevents the monthly release of an egg cell (ovum) from the ovaries during menstruation.
2. It thickens the cervical mucus lining so that sperm cells would not be able to swim and join with an ovum.
3. It changes lining of the uterus to make implantation of a fertilized egg difficult.

What are the different birth control types available?
There are natural methods of birth control. These do not require the aid of any device of medication. The natural method of contraception includes:
1. Abstinence. This requires a person to totally abstain from engaging in sexual activities of any form.
2. Withdrawal. This requires the man to pull his penis out of his partner's vagina before he reaches his climax and ejaculates.
3. Sexual outercourse. It allows sexual gratification by means of non-penetrative sex. It may be in the form of oral sex or masturbation.
4. Fertility awareness. This method allows for couples to determine a woman's safe and unsafe periods by means of careful recording of the woman's basal body temperature, her first and last day of menstruation, and the consistency of her vaginal mucus secretions.

The barrier method of contraception includes:
1. Male condom. It is a latex or polyurethane rubber cylinder worn on the man's penis to block sperm from going into the partner's body.
2. Female condom. It is a thin sheath or pouch worn to line the vagina to collect sperm ejaculated by a man during sex.
3. Cervical cap. It is a barrier made out of either latex or silicone which is placed over the cervix to prevent sperm from entering the female reproductive tract.
4. Diaphragm. It works much like the cervical cap.

The hormonal birth control method includes:
1. Oral contraceptive pills. These are pills that contain synthetic versions of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone which aim to normalize a woman's hormone level to prevent ovulation.
2. Injectables. It is a progestin-only solution that is injected to prevent ovulation for three months.
3. Hormonal patches. It is a thin, 2in by 2 in patch that slowly releases hormones into the body within the span of a week before it is replaced.
4. Birth control implants. It is a thin flexible plastic rod to be inserted under the skin of the upper arm of the woman to slowly release synthetic hormones into the body within the span of a year before it is replaced.

The intra-uterine device (IUD) is a T-shaped rod placed inside the uterus to created a localized inflammation so that the bodies auto-immune system will create white blood cells to repair the infection and in turn kill sperm cells that get within the vicinity of the inflammation.

Choosing the best birth control method to use is a serious matter. Consult your doctor to know more about the different risks and benefits of these contraceptive methods before picking one to use.
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