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Avoiding Unwanted Pregnancy

Avoiding Pregnancy, Contraception, pregnancy, natural method

SEX. Utter that three letter word in any society across the world, and the reactions can range from fear and discomfort to avoidance, disgust and even to downright funny. Yet sex is the second biggest truth of life, after death, which I will discuss some other time. Unfortunately, this taboo on all things related to sex leads to a lot of problems; sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy being the most of prominent.

And yet, most serious attempts to control these problems center on abstinence. These proponents of purity, discount the ground realities. They forget how our teenagers really behave. They ignore all the temptations that today’s teens are subjected to. They forget the world we live in. And unfortunately, they also forget their only teenage years.

But unwanted pregnancy is not just a teenage problem. Many married couples also face unplanned pregnancies. And while a child should always be a source of joy, how can something that was never even desired bring happiness. And abortion is still not legal in many US states. Add to that the prohibition on birth control in some religions, and you have a gargantuan problem. A problem, which nobody wants to discuss. And when they do, they start preaching.

So what does a sexually active woman, who is not yet ready for motherhood, do to avoid pregnancy? Of course there are a whole range of contraceptives. But how many of these are really safe? All available contraceptive methods today can be broadly divided into four categories: the Natural Methods, the Hormonal Methods, the Barrier Methods, and the Permanent Methods.

For obvious reasons, Permanent Methods are unacceptable. The Hormonal Methods, including both the Combined Estrogen/Progestin contraceptives and Progestin only contraceptives, can cause hormonal imbalance. Besides you need a doctor’s prescription. And though doctors insist that they are safe, the idea of subjecting my system to artificial hormones on a daily basis for years, maybe even decades, makes me cringe. Still, Pills are the best, the most effective (99%) and the safest methods of birth control, if you don’t mind a few mood swings.

Then there is the Barrier Method, perhaps the best contraceptive method. They not only prevent pregnancy but also protect against STD. Since there are no hormones involved, that too is not a problem. So the main problem with condoms (at least the male condoms) is convincing the males to use it. Well, here is a tip for women, one which I found very effective.

Most men are really, really scared of children and pregnant women. So keep some pictures of really cute children in your bedroom and let your men know how much you love children, and how, in your opinion, both parents are necessary for a child’s balanced development. And how, if you were to get pregnant, you would marry the man, even if it meant destroying his life and family. Also let him know that using the Pills gives you really bad PMS and you lose all interest in sex. And always keep a foil of condom under your pillow. So next time you are in bed with him, quietly pull out the condom and let him see it, while you look at that cute picture of the baby at the bedside table. Trust me; he will put on the condom faster than you can say the word.

And, oh! By the way, if your man is one of those rare specimens of his species, who are not afraid of children, grab him with both hands and don’t you ever let him go until death does you apart. Such men are rarer than a 100 carat diamond and worth more than the entire GDP of South Africa. And in case you are still not interested, refer him to your best friend, and if you don’t have one, please contact yours truly.

Another Barrier Method is spermicides. Although not as effective as other methods, it can be combined with any of the other methods to get better results.

And so finally we come to the Natural Method of birth control. My personal favorite. This method requires you to really know your body. Unfortunately, not many people advocate this method. Perhaps because of it’s low effectiveness. But it works for me, so I see no reason why it should not work for you. Besides this method is even permitted by religions that forbid other forms of contraception.

So what is the natural method? Most people think that it is about careful record-keeping and marking the days on calendar. Well, it isn’t exactly untrue, but I find a combination of the "calendar method" and the "cervical mucus method" a lot more effective. The "cervical mucus method" is about identifying your fertile period based on the quality of your vaginal discharge.

If you are a menstruating woman of any age, you must have noticed this vaginal discharge. You might have also noticed that its quality and quantity changes during the month. If you observe carefully, you will notice that around the 14th day of your cycle (assuming you have a 28 day cycle) you will feel a wetness in your underpants, the discharge is more than usual, and if you touch it, it feels and looks like raw egg white. When you feel or see this thick discharge, you should know that the danger period has started. It lasts about 2-3 days and it is advised to not having sex for another 4 days. I personally think that by the third day it is pretty safe. Combine this with the calendar method, and you will only need to abstain for about 5-6 days a month. Starting from around the twelfth day to the seventeenth day. Most doctors, however, advice abstaining from sex from 10th day till the 18th day. But the exact time will of course depend on your own cycle and system. Over the years, I have found that I can usually predict my ovulation correctly to the last day, sometimes weeks in advance. That way I can have sex just before the onset of my ovulation. And then again after it ends. And I remain safe on both occasions.

And finally, I simply cannot end this piece without mentioning the Emergency Contraception. Emergency Contraception is just that, an emergency procedure, to be used in case of an emergency. The "morning after" pill should be taken within 72 hours of the unsafe intercourse. Ideally, these pills need to be prescribed by a doctor, but I have found that one can even use an overdose of the normal birth control pills. So even if you are not on the Pill, it might be useful to keep a pack of these at home for emergency.

In the end, in my opinion, the best way to avoid pregnancy is to use a combination of these methods. If, like me, you are averse to the hormonal method, condoms are extremely effective. If you don’t trust your man (most intelligent woman don’t), use a combination of natural method and spermicides. And if you are an intelligent woman, you will make sure that your man remains perpetually scared of being responsible for your swollen belly. Keep him scared and yourself tension-free.
Published: 2006-08-16
Author: Shubhra Swaroop

About the author or the publisher
By education I am an engineer. But for as long as I can remember, I have had a deep interest in literature. And as I grew up, I began to write to express myself. I have written over 30 poems and several articles and have real interest in a variety of topics, including sports, religion, politics, economy etc.

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