Some people might argue that certain things should not be interfered with and others may say that it is irresponsible not to control it. In our modern society, raising children has become increasingly difficult and is an increasingly huge responsibility, possibly more than ever before. Things have changed in the last hundred years and families now tend to be smaller with fewer children. This is also concomitant with a better health system and decreased child mortality. Furthermore, it has become expensive to raise kids.
So how do we go about birth control in our relationships? Often, the blame is easily laid upon the women as they obviously will bear the child. This is often topic of heated debates in relationships and can be topic of dispute. Once pregnant, the women has to deal with it physically and emotionally much more than the man.
For the guy, things aren’t so much of a rocket science: wear a condom and wear it right. But what if you forget or it even bursts? What if you suddenly realise that the condom did not do it’s job properly, or you did not do your job properly? For the girl, things are more complicated. What if she forgets the pill? Does the pill give all time prevention?
Can you bring it up?
Prevention is a topic that should be discussed openly in a relationship. Of course you can bring it up. Maybe it is not the most romantic of all discussions, but it saves a lot of hassle afterwards and shows maturity and responsibility. Sex between a man and a woman, as beautiful as it is, also has the biological function of propagation. No need to think about this every time you have sex with your partner, but why not discuss first and enjoy later?
Condoms or diaphragm?
Some people do not like having sex with condoms and prefer to use a diaphragm. However, this can be uncomfortable for the woman and also has a lower degree of contraception than the condom.
Can you ask her to go on the pill?
Although you should be open about discussing birth control, you can’t insist on a type. Oral contraceptives are vastly different to wearing a bit of rubber. The pill tampers with hormones and thus with the woman’s emotions. This can lead to mood swings, decreased libido and even depression. Every woman reacts differently and some are simply not suited to the pill. This should be discussed between the woman and her gynaecologist. Also, the pill may have long-term health consequences such as breast cancer. Again, predisposition can be hereditary and depends on the individual. So, do not insist, but discuss!
When is the pill effective?
The pill should work immediately. She should take it at the beginning of her cycle and then no egg should be released. However, if she has irregular periods, and that happens in more women than we generally like to believe, matters become more complicated.
What if she forgets the pill?
If she takes the pill every day and forgets it once, the risk should not increase too much. However, you should use condoms for a week after the day she forgot to take it.
Another way of prevention are intrauterine devices. There are two basic types: one deactivates sperm and egg and the other prevents sperm from entering the uterus. They are claimed to be perfectly safe and the woman is supposed to not feel them. However, this is an invasive technique and again should be the her choice to have them or not.
The morning after the pill
What if things happened in the heat of the moment and you wake up with your partner in the morning having this feeling that something might have happened. There are emergency post-coital contraception methods which should be taken the day after it happened. For this, you should consult your gynaecologist. They are usually harmless, but better left to your health professional for advice.
And what if it happened nevertheless?
As much as sex is part of nature, so are children. Now, if it happened it might mean that you have life-changing decisions ahead. From getting the child to abortion, none of the decisions is easy and highly dependent on the individuals and the situation. I would really urge you to discuss things openly with your partner and make a decision together. Talk openly and have a dialogue with each other. Whatever your decision will be, remember that once upon a time you were a little baby too that came out of the womb of your mother.
This article merely discusses birth control and does not give you instructions as these decisions lie in the hands of the individuals concerned. The involvement of sexually transmitted diseases, which are also prevented using devices such as condoms and diaphragms, was not discussed. Please consult your local sexual health professionals for these matters.
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