Also called contraception, family planning and pregnancy control, birth control refers to use of various sexual techniques, devices, chemicals, drugs, techniques, surgical methods, etc. to mitigate pregnancy. Birth control is an umbrella term, with contraception specifically referring to the devices and methods adopted for birth control. Despite this fine demarcation, the terms “birth control” and “contraception” are interchangeably used. 

Though contraception is an age-old practice, 20th century saw the dawn of effective and safe procedures. However, despite the availability of various family planning methods, none is guaranteed to work 100 percent. The efficacy of a method depends on correct and consistent usage. For instance, birth control pills should be taken every day; a diaphragm must be used during every sexual intercourse. 

Before choosing a method, it’s important to learn more about the options, religious beliefs, ease of use, side effects, etc. Women who have sexual interactions with men and who don’t want a pregnancy must continue with their contraceptive techniques till they get a period.

Birth Control Methods

Birth control measures can take multiple forms, with each method working in a particular way.

  • Implants/Injections
  • Pills (combination, progestin-only, extended-cycle, etc.), contraceptive patch, vaginal ring, and implantable rod
  • Tools for insertion into the vagina (such as condoms, diaphragm, male condom, female condom, spermicide, contraceptive sponge, vaginal ring, etc.)
  • Surgery (vasectomy or tubal ligation)

Other more natural methods include abstaining from sexual intercourse. Couples wishing to not have kids may opt for permanent birth control. In other words, women could end up tying their tubes (female sterilization) and men perform a vasectomy (male sterilization). These surgeries are recommended only when a couple is absolutely sure about the option.