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Non-hormonal birth control can prevent you from becoming pregnant either by stopping the sperm fertilizing an egg or preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg into the lining of the womb. There are several different types of methods available. The main methods are:
- The barrier method
- Intra-uterine device (IUD)
- Natural gamily planning (NFP)
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Male condoms are a barrier method that prevent pregnancy by stopping the sperm from reaching the egg. They reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and are thought to be 98% effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly.
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Female condoms are inserted into the vagina and, like male condoms, create a barrier so that the sperm cannot reach the womb. They are stronger and less likely to tear than male condoms. It reduces the risk of contracting an STD and is effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly.
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The Diaphragm and Cervical Caps
Diaphragms and cervical caps fit inside the vagina and prevent sperm from getting into the womb. To be effective in preventing pregnancy, they need to be used together with spermicides, a chemical that kills sperm.
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Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)
The IUD, also called a coil or loop, is a small T-shaped device that is fitted inside the womb and prevents the sperm from reaching the egg. It is effective against preventing pregnancy, but it does not protect against STDs. It can stay in the womb for five to ten years.
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Natural Family Planning
Natural family planning works by learning to read the body’s natural signs of fertility during the menstrual period. The main fertility indicators are body temperature, changes in cervical mucus and the length of the menstrual cycle. It helps identifying the woman’s most fertile periods and can be helpful for couples trying to avoid pregnancy. It is not a reliable form of non-hormonal birth control when used on its own, and if the woman’s menstrual period is irregular it will be even less reliable.
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Withdrawal is a form of natural family planning and involves the penis being withdrawn from the vagina before ejaculation. It is, however, not a safe option in preventing pregnancy during the woman’s fertile period, as some of the pre-cum that is present on the tip of penis before ejaculation contains sperm.
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Female sterilization is an effective and permanent form of non-hormonal birth control. The operation usually involves sealing or blocking the tubes which prevents the sperm from reaching the egg. Sterilization should only be considered as a birth control option for women who do not want to have any more children.
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Surgical vasectomy is an effective form of male sterilization. Sperm is prevented from reaching the semen that is ejaculated from a man’s penis during sex. It has no effect on sex drive and the man will still have an erection and ejaculate normally. It is considered to be a permanent option of contraception, but can be reversed in some cases.
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BUPA: Contraception - http://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/directory/n/contraception
NHS: Contraception - http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Contraception/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Menstruation: Barrier Methods - http://www.menstruation.com.au/fertility/barriermethods.html
Netdoctor: Natural Family Planning - http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/health_advice/facts/naturalfamilyplanning.htm