When we talk about safe sex, it is important to know that there is actually no absolutely safe sexual intercourse with no risk at all and that we can only talk about safer sex. Being familiar with ways to make a sexual intercourse safer and the ways to protect your and your partners health is a precondition to minimize the risk of unwanted consequences.
There are many different ways that are highly efficient in prevention of conception and protection against sexually transmitted diseases – some of them have been used throughout the history. It is important that you understand the ways that these methods and means work so that you can chose the one that suits you the most.
I NATURAL CONTRACEPTION
II TRADITIONAL METHOD OF CONTRACEPTION
Methods to determine your fertile days:
– Ogino Knaus method: fertile days are between 10. and 17. day of the cycle
– Basal temperature method: Basal temperature is measured in the morning, before you get out of bed. For the diagram to be precise this has to be done over a period of several months. During the preovulation phase (the first phase), bodily temperature is slightly lower, around 36o Celsius, after ovulation it rises slightly by 0,3 to 0,6 degrees and remains slightly elevated until the next period. Such a diagram indicates that ovulation is present and when it occurs.
Coitus interruptus, interrupting sexual intercourse just before it reaches climax, thus preventing ejaculation inside the vagina, is not a completely safe method of contraception. A small number of spermatozoids can be released into the vagina before ejaculation. This is also an unprotected sexual relation which always poses a risk of infection, thus making it unsafe.
III MECHANICAL CONTRACEPTION
Condom is one of so-called barrier methods of contraception. By putting onto penis (or inserting into vagina) the contact between the sperm and the inside area of the vagina is prevented and thereby a physical barrier is made to spermatozoids trough vagina and the uterus towards fallopian tubes where they would make contact with an egg in case of ovulation.
Female condom is closed at the end that is inserted into vagina, while the other end is open towards the entrance into vagina, which is opened to the outside and lined with labia minor and labia major.
The day-after pill
This is a so-called emergency contraceptive which you can use in extreme circumstances in order to avoid pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. It should be under no circumstances be thought of as a regular way of contraception. Since it contains a strong dose of hormones that can cause certain side effects, doctors do not recommend using it more than one or two times a year.
Day after pill is taken in these cases:
• If you forgot to take 2 or 3 doses of your regular birth control in a row
• If you didn’t use any other method of contraception
• If the condom broke or diaphragm got displaced
• If you didn’t terminate sexual intercourse on time (before ejaculating)
• If you were forced to have sex
• If you are worried that your regular contraception did not work for any reason
A day-after pill will not protect you if the intercourse happened after you pill. Therefore, it is important to take it only after the intercourse and also as soon as possible.
Diaphragm consists of a solid ring and a thin latex membrane. It is placed into vagina in order to mechanically prevent passing of sperm. The size i.e., the diameter of a diaphragm is determined by your doctor. It varies between 47,5 and 105 mm and the size can also change after each major weight gain or loss, labour etc. The diaphragm must be inserted few hours before the intercourse and it is often used in combination with some chemical contraceptives.
There are two different types of hormonal contraception:
1. progesterone-estrogen contraception – classic contraceptive pills that are taken daily. This type of contraception is recommended to women between 20 and 40 who have regular menstrual cycle and they are generally prescribed pills with the lowest possible hormones content. Side effects are the following: nausea, increase in appetite, breast sensitivity etc. Generally, they should not be used more than 12 months continuously.
2. Contraception using progesterone, there are two ways this is done:
– Luteal supplementation, these are classic contraceptive pills that are taken daily, they contain small amounts of progesterone.
– Gestagene suppository, which is in fact progesterone, with delayed effects. This is done by inserting small capsules of progesterone underneath the skin on a woman’s arm that slowly release small amounts of synthetic progesterone. This can prevent pregnancy up to five years.
These are surgical interventions (vasectomy, salpingectomy, tubal occlusion) that completely prevent reproduction in men or women. In most cases this is permanent. Some reversible procedures are currently being researched, this means that an individual could change their mind and decide to have children after all.
Coil is a method of intrauterine contraception that givers reliable protection against unwanted pregnancies.. Its efficiency is up to 99%.
Its protection period is around 5 years. It can be even applied right after childbirth. Medical check-ups are obligatory, at least once a year.
Coil is usually inserted during second or third day of the menstrual cycle. Doctor inserts the applicator that contains the coil through the cervix. The procedure is not painful, but there may be some cramping and slight vaginal bleeding after the procedure.
First exam should be at least a month after the device is inserted. Also, if you feel any kind of discomfort or suspect an infection, set up a gynaecologist exam as soon as possible.