Contraceptive is a medication or instrument utilised to avoid unplanned pregnancies. Unprotected sexual activities may lead to unwanted pregnancies which result in abortion. Therefore, birth control or contraceptive methods are created and utilised to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancy and abortion.
Couples can choose the suitable method according to their needs. This article shares the different types of contraceptive and birth control methods available in Singapore and how to choose the right one.
Here are the types of contraceptive methods in the country.
Hormonal contraception consists of the following methods:
- Daily oral pills: Patients take either the COCP (Combined oral contraceptive pill) or POP (progesterone-only pill or mini-pill). The COCP contains both synthetic progestin and oestrogen.
- Contraceptive patch or Evra: The patch contains both oestrogen and progestogen and is applied onto the patient’s skin. It will be changed once every week.
- Contraceptive or the Depo-Provera injection: The injection contains a progestin hormone known as the DMPA or the depot medroxyprogesterone acetate. It is injected once every twelve weeks and should not be administered for more than two years.
LARC or the long-acting reversible contraception comprises of the following methods:
- The contraceptive implant (Nexplanon or Implanon): The implant is a thin, small and flexible piece of the plastic rod which is about a matchstick’s size and contains a progestin hormone called the etonogestrel. It is administered discreetly beneath the patient’s skin in the inner, upper arm. The hormone is released gradually over time and lasts for three years.
- IUD or intrauterine device: This T-shaped device sits in the womb uterus’ cavity. It can be either hormonal-based or non-hormonal (copper) based. Its lifespan is around 3-5 years.
This is a relatively effective and safe oral medication to prevent unplanned pregnancy after sexual intercourse. While this method can prevent up to over 95% of unintended pregnancies within five days following the act of intercourse, it is more effective when taken sooner right after the intercourse.
Sterilisation involves a procedure that makes an individual unable to have children. Ligation, for instance, is a minor one-day surgery performed on women wherein their fallopian tubes are cut or clipped to prevent the eggs from travelling to the uterus. Men can also undergo sterilisation in the same manner but comparatively less risky.
Factors to consider when choosing a contraceptive method
Since there is a wide range of contraceptive methods available in the country, choosing the right one can be quite intimidating. Here are the essential factors you should consider before choosing a contraceptive method.
One critical factor you need to consider is your age. Women above fifty years of age should not opt for the combined hormonal contraception method since they are at risk of complications, such as strokes, venous thromboembolism and cardiovascular disease. Smokers who are above thirty-five years old should also stay away from this method due to similar reasons.
The progesterone-only contraceptives, including mini-pill, Implanon, Depo-Provera injection, and the hormonal IUD are preferred for breastfeeding mothers.
You should also factor in the duration of contraception, that is how long you intend to take the contraception. If you are sure you do not want to have a baby in the next few years, then the LARC like IUD or Implanon would be the perfect option for you.
If you only intend not to conceive within short-term, then opt for shorter-acting hormonal contraceptive methods. While these methods intend to prevent pregnancy within a short period, some women may find that their menstruation takes a few months before returning to normal.
Practicality and accessibility
You should choose a contraception method which suits your lifestyle. If you are able to consistently take medication every day or every week, then hormonal contraceptives like patch or pill would be a great option for you. On the other hand, if you are the type that often forgets, then these methods are not suitable for you since the contraception’s efficacy will be significantly decreased with multiple missed doses.
If you wish to opt for the Depo Provera injection, then be sure to visit the gynae Singapore clinic every twelve weeks.
Complications or side effects
Every form of contraception comes with advantages and side effects. It can impact your period. For instance, hormonal contraception helps reduce symptoms in women with menorrhagia and dysmenorrhea. In contrast, copper IUD may make these symptoms more severe and painful.
Some forms of combined oral contraceptive pills help decrease acne. If you are concerned about your weight, then some progesterone-only contraception might not be your best choice.
There are various contraceptive methods available in Singapore. Each method has its pros and cons and level of efficacy. You should consult with your doctor to find out which suitable method.