Did You Know? Contraception


Cervical Cap

A cervical barrier is a device that is contained completely within the vagina and prevents sperm from entering the cervix (the entrance of the uterus). It fits snugly over the cervix and blocks sperm from entering the female reproductive tract. It stays in place by suction to the cervix or to the vaginal walls. Cervical caps may be made out of latex or silicone. The cervical cap is the smallest cervical barrier.

Combined Oral Contraceptive Pills (COCs)
The Combined Oral Contraceptive Pills contain the hormones of oestrogen and progestin. The combination of these two hormones primarily work to prevent ovulation and thicken cervical mucous to prevent sperm from entering the uterus.

Contraceptive Patch 
A contraceptive patch is a skin patch which is a medicated adhesive patch that is placed on the skin to deliver a time-released dose of medication through the skin and into the bloodstream. The contraceptive patch is applied to the skin and releases synthetic oestrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy. A woman applies her first patch onto her upper outer arm, buttocks, abdomen or thigh on either the first day of her menstrual cycle or on the first Sunday following that day, whichever she prefers.

Contraceptive Vaginal Ring 
It is a flexible plastic ring that can be inserted into the vagina. It administers a low dose of a progesterone and an oestrogen over the course of 3-4 weeks that are absorbed into the bloodstream. About two and a quarter inches in diameter, the contraceptive ring is an easy-to-use, reversible method that may have advantages over other methods. Unlike oral contraceptives, the ring does not require daily attention, and, unlike the IUD, the ring can be inserted and removed by the woman after she has been instructed in its use by a health care provider. In addition, because the ring releases hormone(s) at a constant rate, the daily dose required is lower than that contained in oral contraceptives, which may result in decreased long- and short-term side effects. 

It is a contraceptive or birth control product which is injected every 3 months. It is a hormonal birth control method, without estrogen, and is administered to women in the form of an intramuscular injection once every 11 to 13 weeks. Depo-Provera causes the ovaries to stop releasing eggs. 

The diaphragm is a soft latex rubber cup that needs to be used with spermicidal jelly or cream. A woman inserts a diaphragm into her vagina, fitting it over the cervix, shortly before sexual intercourse and leaves it in place for at least six hours after intercourse. The diaphragm blocks sperm from entering the uterine cavity and the spermicides provide additional protection against sperm. 

Female Condom 
The female condom is a thin, soft, loose-fitting polyurethane plastic pouch that lines the vagina. It has two flexible rings: an inner ring at the closed end, used to insert the device inside the vagina and to hold it in place, and an outer ring which remains outside the vagina and covers the external genitalia. Because the device is made from polyurethane, the female condom can be used with any type of lubricant without compromising its functioning. This is advantageous in situations where personal, water-based lubricants are hard to find or non-existent.

Intra-Uterine Device (IUD) 
The IUD is a moulded device that is prescribed and placed in the uterus by a doctor. Some IUDs use copper as the active contraceptive, others use progesterone in a plastic device. IUDs do not protect against STIs. 

Male Condom 
The Male Condom is a latex or polyurethane sheath placed over the penis. A condom is a device, usually made of latex, or more recently polyurethane, that is used during sexual intercourse. It is put on the penis, for the purpose of preventing pregnancy and/or transmission of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV.

Male Hormonal Contraceptive 
Commonly known as the ‘male pill’, a hormonal contraceptive for men would probably not be delivered as a pill. Researchers are coming closer to a marketable male hormonal contraceptive (MHC) delivered by implant or injection, but there is nothing commercially available right now.

'Morning After' Pill 
This is a higher dose of combined oral contraceptives for use as ‘morning after’ pills. These are to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse to prevent the possibly fertilized egg from reaching the uterus. These should not be used repeatedly as a fall back procedure.

It is a form of birth control that is implanted under the skin in the upper arm of a woman, by creating a small incision and inserting the capsules in a fanlike shape. Insertion of Norplant usually takes 15 minutes and the capsules can sometimes be seen under the skin, although usually they look like small veins. They can also be felt under the skin. Once inserted, the contraceptive works within 24 hours and lasts up to five years.

Progesterone Only Pills
Progestin Only Pills (POP) are contraceptive pills that only contain progestins (synthetic hormones similar to progesterone) and do not contain oestrogen. They are colloquially known as mini pills. Although such pills are often called ‘Progesterone Only Pills’, they do not actually contain progesterone, but one of several chemically related compounds.