The accessibility and availability of Birth control is a growing concern. It is an issue that affects every adult of marriage age significantly. Away from its moral and ethical issues, birth control presents a practical and fertility control methods, a practical and cost effective health intervention practice. This research paper aims at understanding what birth control is an intensive and detailed coverage on birth control, the methods of birth control, its evolution, its advantages, disadvantages among other issues related to birth control.
What Is Birth Control
Birth control is also known as contraception or fertility control. It is a device or a method used to prevent pregnancy. Birth control has been practiced since time immemorial and has a very wide range. There are natural and artificial ways of practicing birth control. Artificial ways are either temporary on short term or long term basis or permanent. Since birth control is a timeless practice, it has evolved developed and changed over the years dating all the way back to the medieval ages.
Evolution of Birth Control
The idea of birth control is not modern. It also does not date back to the invention of the birth control pill in the 50s. In fact, a lot of modern-day birth control methods are a modification of what was invented many centuries ago. It has been in existence since time immemorial and dates back to the ancient ages. Research into some of these has revealed some astonishing and pretty bizarre facts. Research into the past has shown the use of elixirs and concoctions among other methods used. Some of these elixirs were made of very inedible things such as lead and leeches. Ancient Egyptians used a mixture of acacia leaves, honey, and lint to block the inside of the vagina. The Greek used a plant called silphium which became extinct due to its use. In India, the women fumigated their vagina with neem wood smoke or inserted rock salt dipped in oil. (History of the evolution of birth control by Carolyn Todd).
The condom was not used widely up until the 1900s, however, there was a condom made of animal gut that was used back in the 1700s. Apart from condoms, there are also pessaries used to block the cervix. There was also use of the contraceptive sponge which was inserted in the vagina and blocked the cervix preventing sperm from getting to the uterus. After many decades of this primitive, do it yourself kind of birth control, the condom was manufactured using latex and was much safer and of much higher quality than other birth control methods. Surprisingly, birth control for women in the United States was illegal and it took a fight and bravery by women like Margaret Sanger to legalize it.
After years of research, the pill was invented as doctors were searching for a cure for infertility. The pill was effective in that it suppressed ovulation and tricked the body into believing it was pregnant. Hence, a body cannot get pregnant twice so it was a much more favorable option to elixirs and fumigation. It was released into the market after years of experiments.
Types of Birth Control
Natural Birth Control
Withdrawal is one of the ways to control births naturally. This is a method where the penis is withdrawn from the vagina before ejaculation. This means that the ovary will not get fertilized. The risk for pregnancy is 22 out of 100 for this method. The basal body temperature involves taking the temperature of the woman every morning. This is because the body temperature drops around twenty-four hours before ovulation and that dropped maintained for the subsequent forty-eight to seventy-two hours. Intercourse should be avoided during this period. Breastfeeding is also one of these methods. It works only when you have not received your periods and are exclusively breastfeeding. A lady has to breastfeed for four hours during the day and six hours at night for it to work. It is not a certainty that it will work.
Artificial Birth Control
These are numerous. They are either temporary or permanent. They have long-term temporary and long-term temporary. They also have hormonal and non-hormonal methods that are either short term or long term. Below are some of these methods.
The pill, which is taken eve day for twelve week reduces the frequency of pregnancy from one every month to one every three months. There is also the birth control patch that is worn for one week at a time and releases hormones that are absorbed into the bloodstream. It is worn on the upper outer arm, or on the upper torso or the buttocks.
There is also the Depo- Provera shot administered once every month by a health care provider. There are also barrier methods. They include male and female condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and sponges. These are used each time during sex. In addition to these, there are intrauterine devices, otherwise, known as IUD’s. They are used on long-term and last up to five to ten years. They are classified into copper IUD’s and hormonal IUD’s. They are inserted by a medic.
Permanent Birth Control
Tubal ligation for women is where the fallopian tubes are blocked or cut. The procedure is performed in hospital while the subject is asleep. Vasectomy for men where the vas deferens is burnt blocked or cut thus sperm is not transported from the testes.
Reasons for Birth Control Pill
It reduces menstrual cramps. It reduces the risk of anemia by reducing the frequency in which periods are received. It helps manage endometriosis, a condition in which the endometrium grows anywhere else except the in the uterus and bleeds any time you have your period no matter where it is. It helps control migraines caused by hormonal imbalance. Reduces risk of ovarian cysts by preventing ovulation hence the cysts do not form. It can banish hormonal acne caused by hormonal imbalance.
Disadvantaged of Birth Control Pill
It causes temporary side effects such as mood swings, breast tenderness, mood swings, and headaches. It may increase your blood pressure. It does not protect against sexually transmitted disease. Spotting and breakthrough bleeding is common in the first few months
- Carolyn Todd, The Evolution and History of Birth control in America, Allure Magazine, July 13, 2018
- Margret Sanger, The case for Birth Control: A Supplementary Brief and Statement of Facts,New York ,Modern Art Print.Co,1917
- Barbara Kass- Annesse, R. N. ,C. N P. ,Hal C. Danzer, Natural Birth Control Made Simple, Oakland, Turner Publishing Company, May 26 2003,print
- Gladys M. Cox, Clinical Contraceptives, Butterworth- Heinemann, 1937