Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 3

By David B. Jacoby; Robert M. Youngson | Go to book overview

Contraception

Questions and Answers

If I have an IUD (intrauterine
device) fitted, how long will it
take to start working?

An IUD is effective as soon as it is
in place. However, for the first
three months, you must check the
string once a week, because this is
the time the IUD is most likely to
be expelled. If that happened, you
would no longer be protected.

I am 21 and would like to have an
IUD fitted, but I’ve heard it is not
suitable for women who have not
had children. Is this true?

IUDs are not a first-choice method
of contraception for women who
have not had children, because
the uterus and cervix have not
been stretched by having a baby.
This makes it more difficult and
more painful to insert an IUD, and
there is more chance that the
uterus will expel it. There is also a
higher chance of side effects such
as painful periods, bleeding, and
pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

I am pregnant and want to have
an IUD fitted after the baby is
born. I plan to breast-feed my
baby. Do I need to have it fitted
during this time?

Some doctors like to fit an IUD
soon after the baby is born;
others prefer to wait six to eight
weeks. Ask your doctor, and if he
or she wants you to wait six
weeks, you must use other
contraceptive measures in the
meantime. Just because you are
breast-feeding does not mean
that you will not get pregnant.

Can using a condom really keep
you from catching sexually
transmitted diseases?

A condom does give a high level of
protection to both the man and
the woman, but it cannot be relied
on to give total protection.

Some contraceptives prevent pregnancy by creating a barrier between the
sperm and egg; others either stop the fertilized egg from developing or
convince the woman’s body that it is already pregnant. Couples should
think carefully and ask for advice about what method is best for them
.

For thousands of years people have been trying different ideas to prevent women from getting pregnant, ranging from putting crocodile dung into the vagina to standing up after intercourse.

Nowadays the reproductive system is better understood, and more reliable methods are available. The Pill, an oral contraceptive, is one of the best-known, but not every woman can use it (see Oral Contraceptives). This article deals with the other effective contraceptive methods available.

Choosing a method of contraceptive can be confusing for a woman unless she knows how all of them work and what they do. Some methods are safer than others but may have side effects. Others are more difficult to use and have a higher failure rate. Some women are allergic to rubber and so are unable to use many forms of the diaphragm and condom. Others have heavy, painful periods, so an IUD (intrauterine device) would be unsuitable because it can accentuate menstrual pain and cause heavy bleeding (see Menstruation).

A woman should ask her doctor which methods are most suitable. If she goes to a birth control clinic, the clinic should be advised other medical history. Whichever type of contraceptive she chooses, she should make sure she understands exactly how it works before using it.

In certain countries the use of contraceptives is barred or discouraged for religious reasons. In these places the only method condoned is the rhythm method.


Spermicides

Spermicides contain chemicals that kill sperm. They also inhibit the movement of sperm up the vagina and through the cervical canal (the passage into the uterus). Spermicides are not reliable on their own, so they are usually used with a condom or a diaphragm. Either of these creates a barrier between the man’s sperm and the woman’s egg (the ovum). If sperm somehow escape contact with the spermicide, the barrier will prevent them from reaching and fertilizing the egg.

Spermicide, in the form of a cream, jelly, or pessary (vaginal suppository), should be
used by the woman when she uses a diaphragm or when her partner uses a condom
.

-407-

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Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Bronchitis 294
  • Brucellosis 297
  • Bruises 298
  • Bunions 299
  • Burn Center 301
  • Burns 303
  • Burping 306
  • Bursitis 307
  • Calcium 310
  • Cancer 312
  • Capillaries 318
  • Cardiac Massage 320
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 322
  • Cartilage 324
  • Cataracts 326
  • Celiac Disease 329
  • Cells and Chromosomes 330
  • Cellular Telephones 333
  • Cerebral Palsy 335
  • Cervix and Cervical Smears 337
  • Cesarean Birth 340
  • Chat Room 343
  • Chelation Therapy 345
  • Chest 347
  • Chicken Pox 349
  • Child Abuse 351
  • Child Development 354
  • Chinese Medicine 358
  • Chiropractic 362
  • Cholera 365
  • Cholesterol 366
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling 367
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 369
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 370
  • Circulatory System 372
  • Circumcision 374
  • Cirrhosis 375
  • Cleft Palate 376
  • Cloning 377
  • Clubfoot 379
  • Cocaine and Crack 380
  • Cold Sores 382
  • Colon and Colitis 383
  • Colonic Irrigation 384
  • Colonoscopy 386
  • Color Blindness 388
  • Color Therapy 390
  • Colostomy 392
  • Coma 394
  • Common Cold 396
  • Complexes and Compulsions 397
  • Conception 399
  • Congenital Disorders 401
  • Conjunctivitis 403
  • Constipation 404
  • Contact Lenses 406
  • Contraception 407
  • Convalescence 412
  • Convulsions 413
  • Coordination 414
  • Cornea 416
  • Corns 417
  • Coronary Arteries and Thrombosis 419
  • Cosmetics 422
  • Cosmetic Surgery 424
  • Coughing 426
  • Cough Syrup 427
  • Counseling 428
  • Index 431
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