You’ve decided to wait. You’re not ready yet, you need the stars to align. Maybe a child isn’t the right thing for your relationship and you’ve decided against it. Maybe you’ve had just the right number of children and want no more.
Here’s an overview of the available methods that you and your wife/partner can employ to stand by your decision and be safe. There is nothing worse than being pressured into childbirth or being the victim of accidental parenting.
Abstinence & Outercourse
While these mean different things to different people, for the purpose of making the birth control distinction, abstinence is the avoidance of sex and outercourse is the avoidance of vaginal sex. Non-penetrative sexual activity like oral, anal and masturbating will keep the semen away from the egg and help avoid a pregnancy.
Vasectomy or Tubal Ligation
In a vasectomy you (the man) will get your tubes tied (to block the sperm) and in a tubal ligation your partner/wife will her tubes tied (to block the egg). They are safe, simple and permanent ways to avoid getting pregnant and involve a simple surgery.
Male and Female Condoms
A male condom is a thin, stretchy pouch you wear on your penis during sex. It is easy to use, easy to find and comes in a variety of shapes, colors, flavors and sizes.
A female condom is a thin, stretchy pouch your partner can wear inside her vagina. Harder to come by, they give a woman control over the use of a condom and protects her sexual health.
Natural Family Planning
Also known as fertility awareness, this method requires your wife/partner to track their menstrual and ovulation cycles. Together you can plan and avoid sexual intercourse (or use condoms) on the days she is fertile (likely to get pregnant).
If your child is exclusively breastfed (every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night), your wife’s body will stop ovulating. No ovulation means no pregnancy. This method must be done in a very particular manner and requires the guidance of a qualified medical professional.
Female Hormonal Methods
Birth Control Implant - a tiny, thin rod that releases hormones.
Birth Control Shot – a once-in-three months shot of progestin to prevent pregnancy.
Birth Control Vaginal Ring – a small, flexible ring worn inside the vagina that releases hormones.
Birth Control Patch – Transdermal release of hormones to be worn on the skin every three weeks.
Birth Control Pill – A daily oral intake of hormones.
Your wife/partner may also insert a Diaphragm, Birth Control Sponge or Cervical Cap inside her vagina before sex. These are paired with Spermicide, a chemical used to slow down the sperm and stop it from reaching the egg, thereby preventing pregnancy. It is also possible to for her to have an Intra Uterine Device (IUD) inserted into her uterus which changes the way sperm move so they can’t get to the egg.
Remember, by staying safe we mean avoiding the risk of pregnancy. Being safe from an STD (sexually transmitted disease) requires a more detailed understanding of the individual methods.
Always consult with a qualified medical care professional to evaluate your birth control options. Never take a decision without the opinion and guidance of your trusted doctor.