Best methods of Contraception
Today’s show revolves around a topic that isn’t discussed enough – What are the best methods of contraception available?
There are many things to consider while choosing the right kind of contraception. To identify which one works best for you, consult your General Physician.
Statistics show that in India, 77% of the women who have undergone sterilization in the last year had never used any other kind of contraception before and thought this was their best option.
The expert guest on the show today is Dr. Priyanka Mehta, a noted consulting Gynecologist. She says it is a topic that needs to be addressed – How not to get pregnant. She says that there is no such thing as “The best method” or a one size fits all solution. Every woman is different and the ideal method for a woman depends on her health, lifestyle and age. For a woman in her 20s, the contraceptive pill might be the best idea. In her 30s a Copper – T might be the best option. Some methods, like a certain kind of Copper-T, include hormone doses to regulate the cycle.
Jane asks the Doctor about the patients she has come across and how many women know what works best for them. How do you know which works best?
Dr. Priyanka tells her that they follow the “Cafeteria approach” – They display all the methods and options to the patient. Some temporary methods are contraceptive pills that are to be taken on a daily basis and vaginal rings that often come with hormone doses.
Jane asks whether the ring is safe. Dr. Priya assures her that it’s a very small device that causes no discomfort.
In 1951, India implemented Population Plan but we have only seen a continuously growing population that is currently 1/6th of the world. They both agree it’s probably because we don’t talk about things like contraception and birth control and consider all things related to them as taboo. The idea is to break that taboo on the show today.
Jane asks what are the effects of these taboos on the society.
Dr. Priyanka responds that the problem is that youngsters don’t have access to correct and reliable information. There’s always the debate of when to you start educating girls and boys on these subjects – School? College? When they’re getting married?
She thinks that ideally there should be sessions even in college that address anonymous questions of students.
Schools tend not to discuss the topic as it could be perceived as encouraging a certain kind of lifestyle, but Dr. Priyanka says that just because we do not talk about it, it doesn’t mean that youngsters don’t need to hear it. It’s not about promoting a lifestyle, but keeping them informed that if there is an emergency situation, there are safe options available to them.
Dr. Priyanka talks about the case of a schoolgirl who had unplanned sex, and conceived. She did not know what to do. Luckily she tracked down the Doctor online and approached her in time to get help. Young adults should be aware that there are safe options.
Even with increase of awareness in India, most married women still resort to procedures and sterilization. Contraception should be the responsibility of both the man and woman, and should always be an informed decision taken by both. India has a history of mass sterilization that goes as far back as the 1970s.
Young adults today use over-the-counter pills without consulting a Physician or taking into account their medical history or side effects.
Sometimes this can even result in prolonged bleeding or, in the case of an undetected ectopic pregnancy, could even be fatal. Dr. Priyanka advises that one should either take an emergency contraceptive pill within 72 hours of intercourse or visit a gynecologist.
Jane asks the Doctor when she thinks a conversation about unplanned pregnancy should start in a family.
The Doctor acknowledges that this is a difficult conversation for any family and a difficult question to answer. She herself has 2 daughters and she finds the best way is to be like a friend to the children and explain the process in terms they will understand. Children are curious by nature and if you do not give them the information they seek, they can get all of it, and even more misinformation from the Internet, so it’s always better they hear it from you.
Jane asks the Doctor whether she does get young adults looking for help after knowing they’ve conceived. Dr. Priyanka says that there are a few, but it depends on what they choose to do about it. She advises that in such a situation, they should either take parents into confidence or go to a gynecologist immediately. There is always safe help available to them.
Jane then takes Dr. Priyanka’s help in busting some common myths about contraception:
Myth- the morning after pill or emergency contraceptive pill is the only option.
Dr. Priyanka – The Copper-T is also a good solution for short or long term contraception, aside from condoms. She says it’s always better to plan for long-term contraception rather than take a morning after pill every time.
Myth- it’s hard to get emergency contraception when needed.
Dr. Priyanka – Some kinds are available only with gynecologists, for which you might need a prescription, but most are available over-the-counter
Myth- taking the emergency pill is the same as an abortion
Dr. Priyanka- it isn’t, as the pill it doesn’t allow fertilization.
Myth- the emergency pill has to be taken within 24 hours of intercourse
Dr. Priyanka – The emergency pill is effective for 72 hours after intercourse
Myth – taking a course of the contraceptive/ birth control pills make you gain weight.
Dr. Priyanka – they do not. Many women use these pills even to control PCOS or heavy bleeding and they can be used until any age
Myth- taking a course of the contraceptive/ birth control pill can make you infertile
Dr. Priyanka – this is not true. Once you stop any long-term contraceptive you could conceive even within the next month.
In conclusion, Dr. Priyanka says that we must talk about everything, be free and open and share. She refers the recent case of an AIIMS Doctor who committed suicide, as she could not deal with her husband’s sexuality and abuse alone. She feels that talking about it with people she trusted might have helped her.
Parents should nurture the kind of relationship where the kids feel that they can talk to them freely about anything, even topics like this. If you don’t talk to your kids, no one else will.
She advises listeners to live each day to the fullest, as each day is different n special. She also says to try to do one random act of kindness everyday.
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