A significant part of a woman’s fertile years is spent actively trying to avoid the chances of conception. Various birth control options including barrier methods, short-acting and long-acting hormonal methods, spermicide, fertility awareness methods, and sterilization are ways to prevent undesirable pregnancies.
Despite having so many options for contraception it might come across as a surprise that getting pregnant is not as easy as it seems because a woman’s fertile window is quite short which is about 48 hours long. A fertile window is considered an ideal period for conceiving. Even if it seems very short, sexually active women should be well aware of all the options that are available for birth control.
Fear Of Unwanted Pregnancy
Due to the fear of unwanted pregnancy, many women even abstain from having sex which causes relationship problems that ultimately result in strain in the relationship. In such a case, it is necessary to overcome your fear by getting yourself acquainted with preventative measures by learning more about the different methods of contraception designed according to their suitability. You can pick any of these methods with the help of your partner or a doctor.
Most of these methods are available with a prescription, but some can be bought over the counter. Note that, each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages associated with it.
How Soon Can You Get Pregnant?
Soon after unprotected sex, the sperm that make it into the vagina after ejaculation comes into contact with cervical mucus. Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by the cervix that plays a fundamental role in the process of conception. It is a type of discharge that makes it easy for the sperm to swim to an egg during ovulation. It does its job by nourishing and protecting sperm as it makes its long journey through the female reproductive tract to meet the ovum (egg).
Within your monthly cycle, the amount and quality of mucus will fluctuate and by keeping a track of these changes, you can predict the most fertile days of your cycle. It also protects the sperms against vaginal acidity and rejects abnormal sperms.
Process On getting Pregnant
Sperm that successfully reaches the vagina after ejaculation can survive inside the uterus for up to five days. It takes almost five to six days for the sperm and ovum (egg) to meet in the fallopian tube during the ovulation period and form a fertilized egg. And once they meet, the fertilized egg travels through the fallopian tube which takes around 6 to 12 days to implant itself completely in the walls of the uterus. Thus, pregnancy begins during the implantation of the egg in the uterine wall when various hormones get released in the female body for supporting the pregnancy.
How Does Ovulation Take Place?
The process of ovulation involves the release of a mature egg from the ovary which usually occurs around day 14 of your menstrual period in an average 28-day menstrual cycle. Once it is released, it moves down the fallopian tube and stays there for 12 to 24 hours. Where it can be easily fertilized. In addition, sperm can stay inside the female reproductive tract for as long as five days after ejaculation under favorable conditions.
Note that, the cycle length associated with each person can be different and the duration of ovulation and the start of the next menstrual period may vary as well. Regular cycles that are longer or shorter than 28 days, from 21 to 40 days, are normal.
Cycle Of Ovulation
Moreover, the most fertile period during a menstrual cycle is the period of ovulation, and if you are willing to conceive you can keep track of the dates occurring almost 14 days before your next period. Keeping a tab on and tracking ovulation is an efficient method that can prevent unwanted pregnancy. You can do so by tracking your basal body temperature. Checking cervical mucus, and using ovulation predictor kits.
Additionally, having unprotected sex during menstruation or anytime outside your period of ovulation does not guarantee that you would not get pregnant.
Tips To Track Your Fertile Window
You can use your fertile window as birth control in case you have consistent cycles. Keeping a track of it can help you with the prevention of pregnancy in an effective manner. However, you have to keep in mind that the cycle can still change by arriving either early or late. Many factors including diet, exercise, physiological conditions like obesity, psychological conditions like stress smoking, etc. can affect the number of days in your cycle by either reducing or extending.
Let Us Explore Various Options Of Birth Control
Male and female condoms when used correctly every time you indulge in sex are capable of being 98% effective against unwanted pregnancy. By using it in the right way there is a slim chance of you getting pregnant. Most condoms are made up of latex, so those who are allergic to latex can opt for other types. These are available without a prescription. In addition, these are the only types of contraception that can help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
A diaphragm or cap is a barrier method of contraception that prevents sperm from passing through the cervix. It has to be placed inside the vagina but before that, it is important to apply a gel that kills sperm known as a spermicide to the diaphragm before each use.
You need to insert the diaphragm a few hours before sex and it has to be left for around 6 hours after sex, and you can remove it after 24 hours. Note that, diaphragms do not protect against STIs.
It is soft silicone or rubber cup that has to be inserted deep inside the vagina for covering the cervix to avoid sperms from entering the uterus. These are most effective when used along with spermicide. These are available on prescription. It comes in different sizes and your healthcare provider can help you find the right fit to ensure it stays in place during intercourse.
The contraceptive sponge placed deep inside the vagina fits perfectly against the cervix and blocks the entrance to the uterus so sperm cannot reach the egg. The sponge contains spermicide, which slows down or kills the sperm.
Spermicide is a chemical that destroys sperm. It can be bought without a prescription. It can be used along with other forms of barrier contraception such as condoms and diaphragms for extra protection. And also, It can be used alone by inserting it close to the cervix at least 10 minutes before sex and it usually remains effective for 60 minutes.
Hormonal birth controls such as contraceptive pills and patches prevent conception by stopping the process of ovulation. A contraceptive patch can be placed on the back, buttocks, upper arm, or lower abdomen. Most of these hormonal contraceptives are available with a prescription. However, emergency contraceptives can be bought without needing a prescription.
You can opt for any method of contraception whichever seems appropriate to you. Along with that, tracking your ovulation is a more effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Your healthcare provider can help you in choosing the best method of contraception and managing birth control effectively.