How Do I Prevent Getting Pregnant?

Two packages of birth control pills

For women of childbearing age, the answer to the question "How do I prevent getting pregnant?" is of critical importance. Unwanted pregnancies are sometimes a blessing in disguise, but are also often a source of trauma and psychological disturbance.

Preventing Pregnancy

Women who are in the fertile period of their life should actively work to prevent pregnancy if they do not want to carry a child and deliver a baby. While there are methods to abort an unwanted pregnancy and giving a baby up for adoption is also a possibility, both of these options demand making very difficult decisions and often are accompanied by depression or feelings of despair. In order to prevent this from happening, finding out how to prevent pregnancy is important.

How Do I Prevent Getting Pregnant?

The most common ways to prevent pregnancy are to not have sex and to use birth control and condoms if you do have sex. Several different types of birth control are available in the United States, but abstaining from sexual intercourse (even if only during certain stages of your menstrual cycle) is another option for women who cannot use birth control for medical or religious reasons.

Abstinence

Completely abstaining from vaginal intercourse is the only method that guarantees 100 percent that you will not become pregnant. In addition, women who are in a sexual relationship, but do not want to become pregnant and do not use birth control, can attempt to time their sexual encounters so as to avoid the stage of the menstrual cycle when conception is possible. This method is not as effective as other modes of birth control, but when used in conjunction with a condom, can further decrease your chances of getting pregnant. Note that this method leaves sexual partners open to the transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases unless a condom is always used.

Hormonal Birth Control

Many types of birth control pills and shots are available nowadays. These pills and injections are based on hormonal cycles in the female body and can prevent a woman from becoming pregnant when used regularly. Note though that birth control pills and shots are not 100 percent effective at preventing conception of a baby; in addition, hormonal birth control methods offer no protection against sexually-transmitted diseases.

While many women use hormonal methods of birth control, some women have medical conditions that prevent the usage of these medicines. For this reason, always visit your doctor in order to go over your complete medical history before choosing a method of birth control. While some clinics will prescribe birth control without knowing your medical history, it is not in your best interest to obtain a prescription in this manner. Based on a woman's medical history, the most effective birth control pills differ.

Blocking Fertilization

Another way to prevent conception is to block the sperm from reaching an egg and, therefore, prevent fertilization of the egg. This is how condoms work. By keeping the sperm away from the woman's uterus, the sperm does not have the opportunity to fertilize an egg. There are two types of condoms available: male ones worn over the penis and female ones that are inserted into the vagina before intercourse.

Of course, like all methods preventing conception, condoms are not 100 percent effective. When a condom breaks, no protection is offered. In addition, sometimes tiny cracks in a condom allow sperm to reach the uterus and fertilize an egg. While condoms are not 100 percent effective against conception, they do offer protection from sexually-transmitted diseases (although also not 100 percent of the time). For this reason, many couples use multiple methods of birth control (for example, hormonal pills alongside condoms) in order to further decrease the chance of unwanted pregnancy, as well as protect against STDs.

Planning Parenthood

While the question "How do I prevent getting pregnant?" is a scary one for many women, careful decision making can greatly reduce your chances of an unwanted pregnancy. While finding the right birth control methods for you and your partner can take time and several doctor's visits, the investment is more than worth it if the end result is the successful avoidance of conception.

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How Do I Prevent Getting Pregnant?