Contraceptives: ALL You Need To Know About Them!

 

So your pregnancy test results came back: Positive. You’re not prepared or did not intend to have any babies, not right now at least. What now?

Credits: Giphy.com

Unfortunately, this article is not a guide on abortion. But as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure – we’re going to teach you the various ways you can prevent the above scenario from happening!

Although a modern metropolis, Singaporeans’ mindsets, especially the older generations’, still largely adheres to that of a conservative Asian’s mindset. While that is not necessarily a bad thing, it sometimes makes it difficult for us to seek help or advice especially on the more taboo topics such as those revolving around sex. Luckily for you, this specially curated article consists of some of the contraceptive methods you have access to in Singapore (prices, where to get them, pros and cons included, you’re welcome!)

Bear with me now, this may be a lengthy read, but hey you got all the necessary information at your fingertips here, without the hassle of going through another boring sex-ed class yeah?

There are 4 main methods of contraception, mainly the Natural, Barrier, Hormonal and Surgical methods. It is safe to say that only the barrier method protects against any form of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), so if you have multiple sexual partners or are more wary of such transmissions, I’d recommend you to skip right ahead to that section!

(Psst, read till the end for an extensive table comparing every contraceptive’s methods’ pros & cons, prices, and where to get them!)

 

Natural Methods

  • Abstinence

Image result for abstinence gifCredits: Glsen.tumblr.com

This means refraining oneself from undergoing any sexual intercourse. Well they say total abstinence is the only 100% fool-proof and free (surprise surprise?) method to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies, but that’s not the reason why you’re here, right?

 

  • Withdrawal method

Image result for pull out method gifCredits: Reddit.com

The withdrawal of the penis prior to ejaculation, so that the sperm does not get a chance to enter the female’s body to fertilise the egg. Out of all the methods here, this is actually one of the most risky ones!

 

  • Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) (“Rhythm method”)

Image result for calendar gifCredits: Giphy.com

The more uncommon natural method, FAM involves tracking your natural cycle of fertility and menstrual cycle, thus developing a better awareness of your body to help detect ovulation (without the aid of pharmaceutical methods). The days near ovulation are your fertile days — when you’re most likely to get pregnant. So FAMs can be used to prevent pregnancy by avoiding sex or using another birth control method (like condoms) on those “unsafe,” fertile days.

There are a few different FAMs that help you track your fertility signs. You can use one or more of these methods to predict when you’ll ovulate:

 

The Temperature Method:

You track your basal body temperature (BBT) for several cycles by using a very sensitive basal thermometer to take your temperature before you get out of bed each morning. Due to hormonal surges, your BBT goes up right after ovulation.

The Cervical Mucus Method:

You track the colour, thickness, and texture of your cervical mucus to monitor your fertility. Your cervical mucus becomes thinner, slippery, and stretchy when you ovulate. Tracking your cervical mucus will require some practice.

The Calendar Method:

You use past menstrual cycles recorded on your calendar or a tracking app to estimate the time of your ovulation. When used on its own, this is the least reliable method of birth control. It should be avoided if your menstrual cycles are shorter than 26 days or longer than 32 days.

 

It’s most effective to combine all 3 of these methods. When used together, they’re called the symptothermal method. You should track at least 6–12 menstrual cycles before you begin to rely on only FAM for contraception. A female tracking app such as MenstruTrack would help incorporate all 3 methods together by helping you log all the symptoms on 1 platform, making this method more effective and easy to use.

FAM as a higher failure rate due to incorrect usage. However, if used correctly, it can be just as effective as condoms or birth control pills.

An in-depth explanation of the FAM can be found here!

 

Barrier Methods

 

  • Condom (Male / Female)

Image result for condom gifCredits: Giphy.com

Male: Usually made from latex rubber and can be only used once. Spermicide can be added to kill sperms and hence increasing its effectiveness. Acts as a mechanical barrier to prevent direct vaginal contact with semen, genital discharges and lesions.

 

Female: A soft disposable sheath placed in the vagina before intercourse, can be used only once. Acts as a mechanical barrier to prevent direct contact between vaginal contact with semen, genital discharges and lesions.

 

  • Diaphragm (Lasts up to 2 years)

Image result for diaphragm contraceptive gif

Credits: merckmanuals.com

A dome-shaped rubber cap that is fitted in the vagina, over the cervix (must be left there 6-8 hours after intercourse). Used with spermicide to prevents sperms from entering the uterus. Must be fitted by a doctor.

 

  • Cervical cap (Lasts up to 2 years)

A thimble-shaped rubber cap fitted over the cervix. Needs to be used with spermicide to prevent sperms from entering the uterus. Can be fitted 24hours before intercourse.

Note that unlike the diaphragm, this do not require a doctor’s exam prior purchase.

 

Hormonal Methods

 

  • Oral contraceptive pill

Image result for oral contraceptive pill gifCredits: Self.com

Pill taken daily to prevent pregnancy by halting the release of eggs from the ovaries, hence reducing chance of fertilisation.

An in-depth explanation of the oral contraceptive pill can be found here!

 

  • Contraceptive injection (Lasts 3 months)

Image result for injection gifCredits: Makeagif.com

An injection (Such as Depo-Provera) in the buttocks or arm that releases hormones to prevent the release of eggs from the ovaries.

 

  • Contraceptive implant (Lasts 3 years)

Related imageCredits: Doctors.am

Implants (Such as Norplant or implanon): Made up of small rubber rods, which are surgically implanted under the skin of the upper arm, where they release the contraceptive steroid levonorgestrel.

There are often side effects but side effects usually go away after a few months and are rarely serious

 

  • Contraceptive patch (Lasts 1 week)

 

Image result for Contraceptive patch gif

Credits: Evewomensmedical.com

A patch that goes on the skin to release hormones and works the same way as the pill.

 

  • (Hormonal) Intrauterine Device (IUD) (Lasts 5-10years)

Image result for iud gifCredits: Giphy.com

A T-shaped device inserted into the uterus by a health-care professional that releases hormones to prevent fertilisation of eggs.

 

Surgical Methods (PERMANENT)

  • Ligation (female sterilisation)

Image result for female ligation gif

Credit: msdmanuals.com

A minor surgery which closes the fallopian tubes – eggs cannot travel to the uterus at all, leading to no chance of fertilisation by sperm.

 

  • Vasectomy (male sterilisation)

Related image

Related imageCredits: whitemillmedicalcentre.com

A surgical procedure to cut or seal the tubes that carry a man’s sperm to permanently prevent pregnancy. It is performed under local anaesthesia with possible minor post-surgical complications, such as bleeding or infection.

Note that the ability to get an erection and an ejaculation does not disappear. The sperm cells are just a very small part (1%) of the fluid and a man will not notice any difference in ejaculation. The body will absorb the sperm cells.

 

 

EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVES:

In the event that all else fails and you engage in unprotected intercourse before using any of the above contraception….FRET NOT!!! There is always….

  • Plan B (Morning-after pill)

Image result for morning after pill gifCredits: Giphy.com

Made of one of the hormones found in birth control pills—progestin. This hormone works by preventing ovulation, or ovaries from releasing eggs. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm.

The hormone in the morning-after pill also prevents pregnancy by thickening a woman’s cervical mucus. The mucus blocks sperm and keeps it from joining with an egg.

The hormone also thins the lining of the uterus. In theory, this prevents pregnancy by keeping a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.

Pills must be taken ideally within 48-72 hours of unprotected intercourse in order to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. The Levonorgestrel-based pills come in a set of two, the first has to be taken as soon as possible, and the second, taken 12 hours after.

Most combination (estrogens and progesterone) birth control pills can also be used in higher doses if the morning-after pill is not available. 

An in-depth explanation of the FAM can be found here!

NOTE!!!

Emergency contraception is not the same thing as the “abortion pill” (mifepristone/RU-486). If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception does not cause an abortion.

 

  • (Morning-after) Copper IUD (Lasts 5-10years)

Image result for copper iud gifCredits: Glowing.com

The non-hormonal cousin of the IUD, it is inserted the same way as the T-shaped hormonal IUD, but instead of releasing hormones, its copper material acts as a spermicide that kills the sperms that tries to reach the egg. It should be inserted within 5 days of unprotected intercourse.

 

Image result for Contraceptive patch gifCredits: Glamour.com

With all that being said, the estimated effectiveness, as well as a comparison table between the various contraceptive methods (tl;dr version) has been summarised neatly in the table below for you girls (and guys)!

Effectiveness of methods

Prevent Unwanted Pregnancies

Image result for abstinence gifCredits: Giphy.com

Remember, no matter the form of contraceptive chosen, it is always safer to consult a trusted health advisor or doctor first to determine your suitability for the selected contraception method. Choose the method most suitable for your body and lifestyle, and stick to it to prevent unwanted pregnancies! Every individual’s body works differently, and those methods that work for some people, may not necessarily work for you!

I hope this article has shed some form of light on your awareness of the various contraceptive methods available in Singapore, as well as their respective costs and where to get access to them!

 

TL;DR:

Comparison between the different contraceptive methods


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Isadora Wong

An Explorer sustained by the sheer power of caffeine.
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