What Is Contraception?
The primary purpose of contraception is to prevent pregnancy. There are various contraceptive methods, each working in different ways, but they generally work by preventing the sperm cell from meeting and fertilizing the egg cell, which causes pregnancy.
Not all contraceptive methods are equal, and some are more effective than others. There are methods that can be up to 99% effective, especially the modern methods. Despite being available for decades, used by millions of people, proven safe and effective by countless scientific researches, and recommended by professional doctors, a lot of people still stick with traditional methods.
Contraception In The Philippines
In a recent study on Filipino women who use contraceptives, results showed that although modern methods are most prevalent, one in every three women relied more on traditional methods. The most widely used traditional methods used by Filipino couples are rhythm/calendar method (or periodic abstinence), and withdrawal method.
What Are Modern Methods?
Modern contraceptive methods involve medications, devices, or medical procedures that hinder the sperm cell and egg cell from meeting and resulting to pregnancy. Some involve hormones to induce changes in the woman’s body chemistry, such as preventing the ovaries from releasing egg cells, thickening the cervical mucus, or thinning the uterine lining; some would need a simple medical procedure to make the changes; and some involve a device that will block out the sperm from getting close to the egg cell.
There are different types of methods, each having various contraceptives to choose from: hormonal methods (pills, patches, injectables, and vaginal rings), implants (intrauterine devices, and implantable rods), permanent methods (tubal ligation, tubal implant, and male sterilization), barrier methods (male condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, cervical shield, contraceptive sponge, and spermicide), and emergency contraception (pills, and IUD). Not all contraceptives are available in the Philippines, but there is a wide array of choices; and surely each woman will find one that suits her perfectly.
Modern contraceptive methods are highly effective in preventing pregnancy — in fact, they could be more than 99% effective when they are used correctly all the time (but their effectiveness can also decrease with incorrect and inconsistent use). Having a reliable contraception, such as one of the modern methods, gives you the chance to decide when you want to have children, how many of them, how far apart they will be, and whether or not you want to be a parent.
Aside from pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and certain forms of cancer, some medical conditions can also be prevented with the use of modern contraceptive methods.
What Are Traditional Methods?
Traditional contraceptive methods don’t require any device or medication for them to be used. These methods are based on awareness and observations on a woman’s body and her menstrual cycle. There are various traditional contraceptive methods — some are even folklore methods that involve herbs — but they are less reliable than modern methods because of the bigger margin for error.
Generally, using traditional methods will not need any amount of money, medication, medical procedure, or visit to the doctor; but they require precision, commitment, diligence, and abstinence from sex at certain times of the month. Most methods also require a regular menstrual cycle to be highly effective, which should be observed and confirmed for several months before using any traditional method. Determining the days when a woman is not fertile can be difficult, which further increases the risk for unplanned pregnancies. When the computation is wrong, a detail is overlooked, or there’s a slight difference in the menstrual cycle, the consequences could be an unplanned pregnancy.
If you’re hesitant or afraid of the possible experiences from using modern methods (which you might have heard from a friend), think about all the effects and changes that an unwanted pregnancy can bring. Talking to your healthcare provider can help you find out more about your options and decide which modern method will suit you best.
There are a lot of modern contraceptives to choose from, but deciding on which suits you could be tough. You can check out this side-by-side comparison of all the methods to help you determine which one you want: https://www.bedsider.org/methods/matrix