Birth Control

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Many people these days use different forms of birth control for family planning, whether it’s using the pill or the injection, birth control is very common.

Let’s take a look at two different types of birth control, the pill and the Depo-Provera injection.

The pill:

Birth control pills are a kind of medication that women can take daily to prevent pregnancy. They are also sometimes called oral contraception.

Birth control pills are made of hormones. Hormones are chemicals made in our bodies and they control how different parts of our bodies work.

Some birth control pills contain two hormones: Estrogen and Progestin. These are called combination pills. Some are Progestin only pills.

The hormones in the pill work by keeping the eggs from leaving the ovaries and making cervical mucus thicker.

Birth control pills are very effective. Combination pills work best when taken daily. Progestin-only pills need to be taken the same time every day. That keeps the correct level of hormones in a woman’s body.

Keep in mind that the pill doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

You should not take any kind of birth control pill if you have had breast cancer or might be pregnant.

Some of the benefits of taking combination or progestin-only pills include:

  • Reduced menstrual cramps
  • Make periods lighter
  • Offer protection against pelvic inflammatory disease and
  • Protection against acne
  • Bone thickening
  • Breast growths
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Endometrial and ovarian cancer
  • Irregular periods

Some woman may have desirable side effects such as:

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • May change a woman’s sexual desire

There is a very slight chance that you will become pregnant even if you take the pill as directed. It is unlikely that taking the pill during early pregnancy will increase the risk of birth defects. However, the likelihood of ectopic pregnancy is greater if you become pregnant while taking the progestin-only pill.

If you decide you want to become pregnant, stop taking the pill. It’s possible to get pregnant right after stopping. It usually takes about one or two months for your period to return to the cycle you had before taking the pill.

Depo-Provera:

Depo-Provera is a birth control method for women. It is made up of a hormone similar to progesterone and is given as an injection by a doctor into the woman's arm or buttocks. Each shot provides protection against pregnancy for up to 14 weeks, but the shot must be received once every 12 weeks to remain fully protected.

Birth control with Depo-Provera begins immediately after the first shot if given within the first five days of your menstrual period.

Depo-Provera is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Again, it does not prevent spreading of STDs.

Depo-Provera can cause a number of side effects, including:

  • Irregular menstrual periods, or no periods at all
  • Headaches
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Acne
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Excessive growth of facial and body hair
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of bone mineral density

After a year of use, about 50% of women will stop getting their periods. Their periods usually return when they discontinue the shots.

With Depo-Provera, you could become pregnant as soon as three to four months after your last shot. However, it may take some women up to a year or two to conceive after they stop using this type of birth control.

There are several advantages to using Depo-Provera:

  • You don't have to remember to take it every day.
  • It provides long-term protection as long as you get the shot every three months.
  • It doesn't interfere with sexual activity.
  • It's over 99% effective.
  • It's less expensive than the Pill.

If you decide to take birth control for family planning, talk to your doctor about which method is best for you.

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