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6 questions to ask yourself before choosing a method of contraception

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Given the large number of contraceptive methods available, it can be difficult to determine which one is best for you. It is important to choose the right contraceptive, because not using a product the way it’s intended to be can increase the risks of an unplanned pregnancy. When you think about which contraceptive you should use, ask yourself the following questions:

Does it protect you from STIs?

Each method of contraception has advantages and inconveniences. You should explore the different options available in order to discover which one suits you best. This will allow you to enjoy a healthier sexuality while avoiding an unplanned pregnancy. Also inform yourself on the best way to use your contraceptive to maximize its efficacy, and remember that the best method of contraception is the one that is used regularly and properly!

How effective is it?

Remember that no method of contraception is perfect. Only abstinence is 100% safe. However, other methods of contraception are considered pretty effective. If you are a healthy woman, the pill, the hormonal patch, the vaginal ring and the contraceptive injections constitute excellent choices if they are used correctly. When a contraceptive is used every day (e.g. the pill), it can be subject to forgotten doses or delayed doses, which reduce efficacy and make for a less than perfect use. Don’t hesitate to talk to your pharmacist or doctor before deciding which contraceptive is right for you.

Is it compatible with your lifestyle?

It is the regular and proper usage of the different methods of contraception that makes it possible to optimize their efficiency. However, certain products might not be well fitted to your lifestyle. For example, a daily-use contraceptive is most convenient for women who have an established routine, rather than those who follow an irregular schedule. A monthly method such as a contraceptive ring or a long-term method such as injections or an intrauterine device (IUD) are practical for women with irregular schedules. When you make your choice, take into account the different modes of use (used at every sexual encounter, like a condom or diaphragm; used daily, like the pill; used weekly like the patch; used monthly like the ring; used every trimester like the injections; used in the long term like the IUD). It is important to find a method that you are comfortable with to have a fulfilling sex life.

Does it fit with your love life?

When you choose a method of contraception, take into consideration both your personal life and your love life. If you are in couple, do you have a trusting and stable relationship with your partner? If you are single, do you have few sexual encounters or do you have several partners? All of these elements will help you choose the method of contraception that best fits your situation.

Is it appropriate for your actual state of health?

Before opting for a certain type of contraceptive, it is important to verify whether you have any health issues that may be a reason not to prescribe a certain method. There may be contraindications for certain contraceptive methods caused by health problems or other situations. For example, the contraceptive pill is not recommended for people with a history of blood clotting (thrombosis or embolisms). Also, if you smoke, or if you are older than 35 years old, you may wish to reconsider taking the contraceptive pill. Ask your pharmacist for more information.

Does it protect you from STIs?

Only a condom (male or female) can protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To reduce your risks of contracting an STI, use a condom if you are in a new relationship, until you are both able to have a blood test done, or if you are not certain that your partner is faithful to you. Remember that a condom can be combined with another method of contraception. Don’t hesitate to use two forms of protection! And remember that, if you use just a condom, it is advisable to have a blood test done before switching to another method of contraception.

Good to know

Methods known as “natural” methods include withdrawal, abstinence during the fertile period of the menstrual cycle and the calendar method. The withdrawal method consists of interrupting the sexual relation before ejaculation occurs. The second method involves identifying the fertile period of the menstrual cycle and avoiding sexual relations altogether during that period. It is based on observation of body signs of fertility (body temperature, mucus and changes in the cervix) and abstinence during this time of the month. The calendar method is based on the duration of a woman’s menstrual cycles. All of these methods require a learning period and a lot of willpower, discipline and rigor. They have a less elevated success rate, which can lead to more unplanned pregnancies. It is important to note that these methods should never be considered first-choice contraceptive methods for teenagers.

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