Planned pregnancy using contraceptive methods
To plan for the perfect pregnancy, what contraceptive method should you use? Many often fail to take advantage of an effective contraceptive method for fear of sterility, cancer and other groundless misconceptions. Selecting the right contraceptive method for you is important.
How frequently do I engage in intercourse?
How meticulous should I be when using contraceptives?
How cooperative is your husband when it comes to contraception?
If your husband dislikes using a condom, it’s difficult to have him keep using it.
Have you given birth before?
An intrauterine contraceptive method such as a copper IUD is not recommended for women who haven’t been pregnant before. As it is inserted into your body, it can sometimes cause inflammation or menstrual pain.
Do you have any medical history or physical conditions that rule out specific contraceptive methods?
A myoma or a lump of a uterus makes it difficult to use a copper IUD. If you have an illness related to blood vessels or the case of hypertension, contraceptive pills are not allowed. It is important that you understand your condition accurately before choosing a contraceptive method.
Consider these questions and discuss with each other to choose the most suitable contraceptive method for the both of you.
Case-By-Case Selection of Contraceptive Methods
A married woman who uses short-term contraceptives to get pregnant
An unmarried woman who desires short-term contraceptives
[Source: Smart Women, Smart Contraceptives (Imsun Lee)]
One of the most commonly used contraceptive methods in Korea is the condom. A condom can be a very effective contraceptive method, however, incorrect usage can obviously lead to a higher rate of failure. Knowing how to use it correctly is paramount.
Condoms have an area at the end of it to collect semen. If this area is filled with air when putting a condom on, the condom may fail to collect the semen and semen may spill out. Be sure to slightly twist the end-tip of it to take out the remaining air, leaving space for semen collection. The rolled area should be exposed and pulled straight over the genitals.
It is important for your husband to put on a condom before penetration. Be careful as the condom becomes loose if he takes it out too late after ejaculation and falls into his wife’s vagina with the semen inside. After ejaculation, he should hold the end of the condom well so that it does not fall off. Check if it was torn or leaks afterwards for safe contraception.
The first and foremost thing you must keep in mind is this; too often, a man uses a condom during intercourse only when he is about to ejaculate. But semen can be released before ejaculation as he is excited, resulting in failed contraception. As for a woman, even if you have very regular ovulation days, the ovulation cycle can vary if you’re under the weather. Which means that your ovulation period method can go wrong in many cases. Therefore, your male partner must wear a condom during intercourse for successful contraception.
Oral Contraceptive Pill
Oral contraceptive pills are the most common method used overseas but it is still not that commonly used in Korea. Many worry that hormonal substances may result in some kind of unexpected diseases, but if used by a healthy young woman for contraceptive purposes, there are no specific health-related problems to be feared.
But if you’re a smoker at the age of 35 or older or have illnesses related to blood pressure such as thrombosis or hypertension, you should avoid using the pill. Otherwise, younger women in their 20s and early 30s and 35 or older women who don’t smoke have no problem using the oral contraceptive pill.
Oral contraceptive pills are general pharmaceuticals that you can buy over the counter. One downside is that people fail to read the instructions carefully and end up getting pregnant even when they take the pill. To prevent it, you must follow the provided instructions correctly. The instruction is to take one pill a day for 3 weeks from the starting date of your menstruation. The instruction sheet should specify the specific days on it. Take the pill for 3 weeks without leaving out any days and take one week off. Check if your menstruation starts as usual while you no longer take the pill. Start taking the pill again from the 8th day for another 3 weeks and take one week off. You get to repeat this simple process.
Sometimes you end up taking the pill incorrectly as you start taking it after your menstruation ends. Some wrongly think that contraception works once they take the pill during the ovulation period, or sometimes they take the pill after sexual intercourse as if it is a morning-after pill. This decreases the success rate of contraception, so follow the instructions carefully.
When you stop taking the pill all of a sudden, your ovulation may become irregular or you may experience abnormal bleeding. You should thus stop taking the pill after you’ve taken it on the original cycle. If you do, your menstruation should start in about 2 to 4 days. If you don’t take the pill afterwards, you can ovulate and get pregnant. It doesn’t affect the health of the mother and her fetus if she gets pregnant immediately after you stop taking it.
When you stop taking the pill, your ovulation becomes temporarily delayed, postponing your menstruation. But 90% of these women are found to resume ovulation within 3 months. Even if they experience anovulation or amenorrhea, they soon return to their normal cycle.
If you get pregnant while taking the oral contraceptive pill Even if you become pregnant while taking the oral contraceptive pill, the low-hormonal pills contain a miniscule amount of hormones. It isn’t necessarily the cause of a deformed child so you don’t need an abortion just for that. Like any other case of pregnancy, take the recommended examinations such as ultrasonography and blood test on a regular basis.
There are creams, vaginal pills or jellies containing spermicide. Inserting spermicides deep inside the vagina before an intercourse will prevent the sperms from passing through or kill them. The contraceptive effect lasts for about an hour and the spermicide can be inconvenient to reapply every time you engage in intercourse. Furthermore, it has a higher rate of failure compared to other methods, so you want to use it with other more reliable contraceptive methods. To increase the success rate, don’t wash your vagina for 6 hours after intercourse.
Most copper IUDs have a plastic T-shaped or 7-shaped frame in polyethylene. In the past, the device was inserted directly into the uterus, but most IUDs these days have a copper piece wrapped around the main body. This IUD is effective for long-term contraception. The device causes local inflammatory reactions to kill sperms, prevents sperms from reaching the oviduct for insemination, and changes the status of endometrium to reduce the likelihood of implantation for contraceptive effects.
However, the IUDs are not recommended for women who have multiple sex partners as it can worsen the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases and pelvic inflammatory disease. In addition, this method cannot be used by women suffering from profuse menstruation, severe menstrual pain, or uterine malformation.
When you have an IUD taken out by a gynecologist, you can get pregnant immediately again. It is possible for you to become pregnant even with the copper IUD on, so if you don’t have menstruation for a couple of weeks from your usual menstruation period, check if you became pregnant. If you became pregnant and want to keep the child, you can have the IUD removed.
Levonorgestrel IUD (Mirena)
It is an IUD containing a silicon membrane with progestin (levonorgestrel). It is a contraceptive method that combines the merits of an IUD and the oral contraceptive pill, and its effect lasts for five years. A handful of progestin is secreted everyday inside the uterus. It rarely has a side effect and has a failure rate of 0.1%. It reduces the volume of menstruation if you’re producing too much blood as well as the premenstrual syndrome (PMS). You can get pregnant again within a month after you have it removed, making it a popular contraceptive method these days.