Earlier in the year, I conducted a short poll of some women regarding contraception methods, 70% of these women have had or are having children. Based on this cohort of women I found that the average Nigerian woman was not armed with enough information to choose the right contraception and consistently access and use their chosen method.
I appreciate that as a new mum, sexual intercourse couldn’t be further from your radar but family planning is very important and perhaps should be discussed with your partner even before the baby arrives as you don’t want to be caught out!
There are different methods of contraception. The type that works best for you will depend on your health and circumstances.
Contraception includes all measures temporary or permanent designed to prevent pregnancy. They comprise
- Barrier method – Condom
- Oral Contraceptive Pills
- Injectable Contraceptives
- Intrauterine Device (IUD)
- Tubectomy (Female)
- Vasectomy (Male)
Contraception can either be Short-acting or Long-acting.
Natural methods: (daily monitoring of body temperature, cervical mucus, charting cycles for fertile days, withdrawal method and Lactational amenorrhoea aka Breastfeeding). These methods are often controversial and require good research and dedication from both parties involved. They are on average about 98%effective when used according to teaching instructions.
Diaphragm or cap with spermicide (every time you have sex)-92-96% effective when used correctly
Condoms (used during sexual intercourse)-There are male and female condoms, however, male condoms are more popular and a lot of people will be familiar with this method. When used correctly, this method is 95-98% effective. It is easily accessible and is the only method that will also protect against STIs
The combined pill (taken every day for three weeks out of every month)- This is another popular method and if used correctly is 99% effective but about 95% effective with typical use. This method relies on organizational skills as it requires consistency in taking the pill daily on recommended days. This method could also be used as a treatment option for women with heavy and painful periods or fibroids. See your doctor before commencing this method as it is not recommended for some women.
The progestogen-only pill (taken every day)-This method is also 99% effective when used correctly. Again it relies on organization and dedication. It is the preferred method in most cases where the combined pill cannot be used.
The contraceptive patch (renewed each week for three weeks in every month) –This method can be used if there is an issue with compliance as it is replaced weekly.it is 99% effective when used correctly.
The contraceptive injection (renewed every eight weeks or every 12 weeks, depending on the type)- This is also 99% effective with correct use.
Long Acting- These methods are usually more than 99% effective with recommended use.
contraceptive implant (lasts up to three years)
intrauterine system, or IUS (up to five years)
intrauterine device, or IUD, also called the coil (up to five to 10 years)
female sterilization (permanent)
male sterilization or vasectomy (permanent)
Different method appeal to different women for different reasons. Your chosen method will need to be discussed with your family doctor, knowledgeable nurse or pharmacist before they are commenced. It is important that a detailed medical history is taken and counselling also occurs so that women know what to do when they have either missed a pill or have concerns.
If unprotected sexual intercourse does occur, women can still buy the emergency contraceptive pill some of which can be used up to 5 days post intercourse but please ladies,”Postinor “ is not a method of contraception! It is for emergency use only!
Remember, the only way to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is to use a condom every time you have sex.