Does Birth Control Prevent Pregnancy?
One of the most common questions about birth control methods is how safe they are. After all, although we have many birth control methods available nowadays, yearly statistics still show that nearly half of the pregnancies in the US weren’t planned.
There are multiple reasons for this situation. Of course, the primary reason is the fact that a lot of people do not use any reliable birth control method. So, pregnancy is not actually a surprise in those cases. So, what you wonder should be, “Does birth control prevent pregnancy?”.
The effectiveness of birth control methods can change by the way they were used. So, a single percentage of a method’s success rate can not give you a proper understanding.
To give you get a better idea, we gathered some details about the effectiveness of various birth control methods. Let’s get in the details.
Using Fertility Awareness
Some people do not like using medicines or synthetic devices for birth control. When this is the case, natural birth control methods can be used. The most reliable one amount the methods is fertility awareness.
With this method, women can track the days they are fertile by using various methods. These methods can be recording their period cycles, checking the temperature, and the cervical mucus. As long as the couple does not take risks during these fertile days, they can avoid pregnancy.
Optimally, this birth control method offers 95 percent effectiveness. However, keeping track of period cycles and continuous regular checks can be difficult for some women. So, they can misjudge their fertile days. Therefore, the actual effectiveness is near 75 percent.
Pills for Birth Control
One of the popular birth control methods is using pills to prevent pregnancy. And it is popular for a reason. When women take these pills as correctly, the effectiveness of birth control pills is almost absolute. The recorded effectiveness rate is above 99 percent.
Of course, with mistakes in usage, this rate can drop too. You may forget to take your pills and skip a day. If you get sick while using birth control pills, you may lose some doses you take too. Also, some medicines that you may take when you are ill, such as some anti-seizure pills, antifungal meds, and antibiotics can affect the effectiveness. With such cases, the overall effectiveness and make the rate around 91 percent. To compensate for this drop, you can use other methods when you miss a dose or worry about the other medicines you take.
Birth Control Patches
Birth control patches use the same hormone regulation technic as birth control pills. If you know about nicotine patches that are used for quitting smoking, you can imagine how this method works.
You can stick a patch to your skin, and it can prevent pregnancy as long as you refresh your patch regularly. Since the way it works similar to the pills, the effectiveness is also similar. With the correct use, Birth control patches can offer more than 99 percent effectiveness. Because of the possibilities of forgetting refreshing the patch or it falling off, this effectiveness can drop to 91 percent.
Birth Control Rings
Birth control rings are essentially the same method with the patches. But instead of sticking patches on your skin, this method involves a small soft ring that you put in your cervix. This ring releases hormones that work just like the patches or pills. They regulate ovulation and prevent pregnancy.
Birth control rings have 99 percent effectiveness with ideal use too. This effectiveness can drop to 91 percent when the possibilities of the ring falling off or not replacing it on time are considered.
Barrier Methods For Birth Control
People that do not want to use medicines that will affect their hormones may prefer barrier methods to prevent pregnancy.
These methods typically involve using a physical barrier that doesn’t allow fertilization to prevent pregnancy. Some of these methods, like cervical cap or diaphragm, can require a doctor visit. But other barrier methods are usually preferred because of their easy to use nature. Devices that you can put on only when you need can provide you practical benefits without much commitment. Elastic sheaths are one of the most popular birth control methods because of this reason, and because of the fact that male partners can use it as well.
However, barrier methods do not provide effectiveness as high as medicinal alternatives. Although when there is no problem, the effectiveness is considered near 98 percent, these devices can break, slip, and they are easy to use wrong. So the expected effectiveness is only about 80 percent.
To answer the question of “Does birth control prevent pregnancy?”, we can say that, mostly yes. But remember that there is always a minor chance for these methods to fail. To lower this chance, you can educate yourself and your partner about the birth control method as much as you can. You can consult your doctor and practice more than one method to be safer.