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How not to get pregnant

By Sam
How not to get pregnant

This week: Physical Contraceptives

Condoms are pretty much the only contraceptive designed for men. The rest are all for women who don’t want to get pregnant.

Girls, if you decide that you want to move on from condoms (ensuring first that your sexual partner is STI free) choosing the right contraception is a big decision.

Your contraceptive of choice can have an impact on your body, as well as your sex life. To make things easier, we’ve broken it down for you into two categories: 1) Physical contraception and 2) Hormonal contraception. This week we are talking about Physical Contraception which we've termed BABY BARRICADES.

BABY BARRICADES are contraceptive devices that physically block a man’s sperm from coming into contact with a lady’s egg. These methods usually involve inserting various implements into your vagina.

We’ve looked at short-term, medium-term, and long-term contraceptive solutions to suit your sexual needs. Always consult your GP or a sexual health practitioner for professional medical advice on the most suitable contraception for you, as well as advice about STIs and pregnancy.

N.B. although these may be designed for women, it’s EVERYONE’S responsibility to make sure you practice safe sex! 

SHORT-TERM SOLUTIONS

Female Condom/Femidom

Female condoms are pretty much the same as the male condoms, only they are designed to be worn inside the woman, as opposed to on the penis.

There is a soft ring at either end of the condom which helps to hold it in place. They work in much the same way as their male counterpart, forming a physical barrier against pregnancy and STIs.

You’d be forgiven for asking what the point of this one is. Some women may find them uncomfortable and tricky to insert, and they’re not always completely reliable, as they can occasionally slip.

The concept may sound a little weird, but the femidom does allow and empower women to protect their own sexual health. If your sexual partner refuses to wear a condom himself, the femidom gives you the power to remain baby and STI free (although ideally, you should be on the same terms as your sexual partner).

Diaphragm (with spermicide)

A diaphragm is a soft, circular dome which you insert before sex, creating a physical baby-blocking barrier between the sperm and the womb. It might sound uncomfortable, but they do come in different sizes to suit different women (your doctor will measure you).

Once you get used to using it, the diaphragm is 92-96% effective against pregnancy, but only if you slather it with a spermacide gel first. The only downside is that it has to be left in place for at least six hours after you’ve had sex, which some may find a bit gross.

LONG-TERM DEVICES

Inauterine Device (IUD)

Better known as ‘the coil’, IUDs are a long-term contraceptive method which can last up to ten years. The IUD is a rather heavy-duty way of preventing pregnancy; it is a small T-shaped device made of copper and plastic that is inserted into your womb through your vagina (by a doctor need we add).

Once in place, the IUD essentially plugs off your cervix, preventing sperm from surviving in your body. It takes around 20 minutes to fit, and the procedure can be done under local anaesthetic.

Many women do experience some discomfort at first, but the pain will usually subside after a few days and you will no longer be able to feel it.
It may sound hardcore, but the IUD is a highly reliable, low-maintenance way of preventing pregnancy.

It works straight away (although you may want to give it a few days before partaking in any ‘rigorous’ activities), and can even be used as an emergency contraceptive within five days after unprotected sex. If you don’t get on with the IUD, it can easily be removed.

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