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1) Barrier Methods
The Male Condom
Male Birth Control Pill
The Female Condom
2) Hormonal Methods
Birth Control Pills
Chewable Birth Control Pill
3) IUDs (Intrauterine Devices)
4) Emergency Contraception
New Emergency Contraceptive Ella®
Emergency contraceptives enable pregnancy prevention after unprotected intercourse. They do not provide any protection from sexually transmitted diseases. There are several types of emergency contraceptives available today, but the most popular include emergency contraceptive pills and the copper intrauterine device.
Emergency Contraceptive Pills (often called "morning after pills")
There are two types of emergency contraceptive pills. One type uses hormones similar in type and dosage to some kinds of ordinary birth control pills. The hormones in these pills are estrogen and progestin. For this reason, this type of emergency contraceptive pill is termed a combined emergency contraceptive pill. These pills cut the odds of becoming pregnant by 75%.
The other type of emergency contraceptive pill contains only the hormone called progestin, and is therefore termed the progestin only emergency contraceptive pill. It is more effective than the combined emergency contraceptive pill and has less side effects.
Although these emergency contraception pills are often called morning after pills, the pills can be started immediately after unprotected sex or up to 5 days after unprotected sex. The pills are deemed more effective if taken within 120 hours after sex.
The Copper-T Intrauterine Device (IUD)
The IUD can be inserted up to five days after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy. The use of a copper-T IUD to prevent pregnancy is far more effective than the emergency contraceptive pills, reducing the risk of pregnancy by more than 99%. The copper-T IUD can have the added benefit of being left in place to provide continuous effective contraception for up to ten years. IUDs, however, are not the most ideal method of birth control for many women.
Emergency contraception can be used any time a woman has unprotected sex but does not want to become pregnant; however, this is not a recommended method for long term, continuous birth control.
Visit the Reproductive Health Online website, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University for more information about reproductive health and birth control methods.
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