Birth Control or Contraception: Temporary and Permanent Methods

Birth control or contraception includes various methods that can be used in order to prevent pregnancy. It can be broadly categorized into temporary and permanent methods, that are as listed below :

  • Natural methods (behavioral) – not recommended as there are high chances of failure.
  • Barrier methods
  • IUCDs
  • Hormonal control
  • Female sterilization – includes tubal ligation.
  • Male sterilization – Vasectomy

There indeed are a wide range of options for birth control, and you may select the most suitable one, according to your preferences:


  • This method of birth control act by creating a barrier to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg.
  • Most of the barrier contraceptives do not require a prescription and are easily accessible.
  • Most common barrier contraception methods include :
  1. MALE CONDOM– These are most commonly made of latex rubber and may either be dry or pre-lubricated.
    • It is the most commonly practiced method of birth control by males.
    • Durable, reliable and affordable.
    • Also protective against sexually transmitted disorders.
    • NIRODH is the free condom supplied by the Government of India.
    • If used with utmost perfection, it offers almost 98% of protection against pregnancy.
  1. FEMALE CONDOM– It is a thin, flexible, polyurethane tube that is partially inserted into your vagina, creating a barrier.
    • Similar to male condoms, female condoms also provide protection against sexually transmitted infections.
    • These offer almost 80% efficiency against pregnancy.
    • It must be remembered that it is completely inadvisable to use male and female condoms together, as this increases the chances of slippage, breakage, and displacement.
  1. DIAPHRAGM– It is an intravaginal device made of latex.
    • A medical or paramedical professional is required for the accurate measurement of the diameter that is required.
    • A diaphragm is inserted 2 hours before sexual intercourse and is to be kept for at least 6 hours after the last coital act.
  1. VAGINAL CONTRACEPTIVE SPONGE– This too is an option of birth control that doesn’t require a prescription.
    • It’s basically a small piece of foam that is treated with spermicide and is inserted high up into the vagina.
    • It can be inserted up to 24 hours before intercourse.
  1. CERVICAL CAP– Dome-shaped reusable appliance that acts by preventing the entry of sperm into the cervix.
    • It is used along with a spermicide and can be inserted anytime before intercourse.
  • IUCD is a small device that is inserted into the uterus in order to prevent pregnancy.
  • It offers almost 99% efficiency in the control of pregnancy.
  • IUCDs are basically a form of long-acting reversible birth control.
  • It requires a doctor or a nurse for the proper insertion of an intrauterine device and the procedure involved is quite simple and quick.
  • IUDs can be non-medicated (made of plastic or stainless steel) or medicated (that involves copper-containing IUDs and hormone-releasing IUDs).
  • The main action of this method of birth control involves the release of hormones that prevent the fertilization of an egg by the sperm.
  • With proper and adequate use, hormonal birth control is more than 90% effective.
  • It requires a prescription for using this method of contraception.
  • Various types of hormonal contraceptives include:
  1. Oral contraceptive pills– It must be noted that combined OCPs are the most effective reversible methods of birth control.
  2. Injectable – DMPA is available in India and the dose has to be repeated every 3 months.
  3. Subdermal implants – injected into the upper arm and are active for many years.
  4. Transdermal patch
  5. Vaginal ring
  • If you are certain that you don’t want to have a baby in the future, permanent birth control methods can be brought into use.
  • Each of these offers 99-100% efficiency.
  • In the case of females, tubal ligation is the method of choice in which the fallopian tubes are closed in order to prevent eggs from reaching the ovaries.
  • An ideal time of tubal ligation is following the menstrual period, in the proliferative phase.
  • This process is done under general anesthesia.
  • For males, the method used for permanent birth control option is vasectomy.
  • During this procedure, a permanent interruption is created in the vas deferens (the tube that allows the sperm to enter into the semen).
  • It is advisable to use additional contraceptive methods for 3 months until the semen becomes free of sperm.
What is Emergency Contraception?
  • This method is used in order to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse and should not be considered as a form of regular birth control.
  • Also known as ‘morning after contraception’.
  • Most of the methods of emergency contraception involve post-coital pills; however, copper-containing IUCDs can also be used for this purpose.
  • An IUCD needs to be inserted within 5 days of unprotected intercourse and is by far the best method of emergency contraception.


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