What is Contraception?
Contraception describes the methods that a woman can use to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.
There are more than one type of contraception and each type has varying effects on preventing unplanned births. They also come in a variety of costs and methods of use. Depending on your pregnancy plans or personal health, you will likely prefer one type of contraception over another.
Different types of contraceptive methods in Singapore
Our clinic offers different birth control options available when it comes short or long-term reversible contraception. These methods that we offer are reversible and this means that it can be stopped anytime when you wish to start a family!
Speak to our female doctor who will guide and assist you to make the most appropriate choice to meet your expectations.
Available options such as:
When it comes to the pills, they come in small tablets that have to be taken every day to prevent pregnancy. Most of the pills are made of two female hormones, estrogen and progestin.
The pills work in the female body by preventing ovulation from occurring and preventing the sperm from reaching the egg by causing the cervix lining to thicken. These pills are easy to take but must be taken daily.
The good news is that if you start to take these pills on the first day of your period, then you will be protected immediately from an unplanned pregnancy. Make sure to discuss this with your doctor to find out if they are the best choice for you.
This is an small patch that sticks onto your skin. The patch contains hormones that are synthetically made that are naturally occurring in a woman’s body. This patch has a similar effect to oral contraceptive pills. You should put on a patch every week for three weeks and then go one week without wearing any patches.
Interestingly, the patch although being absorbed through the skin, provides a 60% higher concentrated dose when compared to oral pills.
These injections are periodic injections of female hormones. If you are considering long-term contraception, then this may be a good option for you. The injections work by preventing the pituitary gland in the brain from producing hormones that stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs.
Unlike other more frequently methods, the injections are usually provided once every three months. The injections do not affect your long-term fertility.
However, if you are planning to become pregnant immediately after stopping your injections, this may not be your best option. It can take up to 18 months before you are able to become pregnant after stopping the injections.
This is a more recent type of contraception that can be placed under the skin in a woman’s arm. The implants contain a synthetic version female hormones which prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs and makes the mucus in the cervix thicker. This prevents the sperm from reaching the egg.
Your doctor will have to place the implants and you may have some mild discomfort during this procedure. The good news is that the implants can last up to 3 years for contraception. If you are considering this, then you should discuss with your doctor. The implant is about the size of a toothpick and is a good option if you don’t plan to become pregnant within three years.
The morning after pill or emergency Contraception pill works by delaying or stop ovulation (release of an egg). By doing so, the sperm cant reach the egg and fertilisation will not be able to take place. However, if you are already pregnant, it will not cause a termination of pregnancy.
There are 2 different types of emergency contraception pills available such as the single or dual tablet option. The emergency contraception pill comes with potential risks and side effects such nausea vomiting, menstrual irregularities etc, so speak to your doctor to understand further.
Despite having a success rate of approximately 90%, it shouldn’t be used as a regular form of contraception as it shouldn’t be taken more than once a month. You should always consider other suitable methods of contraceptive if you find yourself having to take the morning after pill multiple times.
Speak to your doctor who will discuss with you to determine if emergency contraception is suitable for you.
How do I choose a contraceptive method?
There is no one right method of contraception for women today. Discuss with your doctor to determine which contraception choice will be best. Factors that should be considered include:
- Personal & family medical history
- Smoking history
- Past experience with contraception
- Desired period of birth control and family planning
Your doctor will discuss the various options available along with each one’s benefits and its side effects so that you can make an informed choice.
How effective are contraceptive options in preventing pregnancy?
If used as directed, contraception methods are fairly effective. These are the breakdown of the failure rates of each method:
- Oral contraceptive pills: 0.2-4%
- Hormone patches: <1%
- Injections: 0.4%
- Hormonal implants: 0.07%
As you can see, all of these methods have a very low failure rate although the implants have the absolute lowest.
What are the side effects of birth control pills?
The most common side effects include vagina spotting, nausea, vomiting, bloating, breast tenderness, and a headache.
The good news for women is that if you experience any of these side effects, they will go away when you stop using that contraception method.
Am I too old or young for birth control?
The optimal time for women to be using birth control is during their reproductive years and when they are sexually active. This range is usually from teenage years up to 40-50 years. Make sure to discuss this with your doctor as well.
Will birth control affect my ability to get pregnant in the future?
This is a common concern but is largely a myth. Using birth control does not affect your long-term ability to have a child. You will be able to resume your previous state of fertility after stopping your birth control.
However, there may a delay with certain methods of birth control before you start your normal cycle again.
Does birth control cause cancer?
What are the other benefits of using birth control?
If I am using any of these birth control methods, can I still contract sexually transmitted infections?
Birth control does not prevent STIs so you should always make sure to practice safe sex. If you have any concerns in this area, make sure to discuss them with your doctor for further recommendations and protection. If you suspect any symptoms, our clinic provides for discreet screening for STIs.
Is it true that birth control pill can lower sex drive in women?
It is possible although it is not experienced by all women. The science behind this occurring is that the combination of progestin and estrogen in the pill has the effect of lowering testosterone levels in women. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for your sex drive. You may have guessed by now that even though testosterone is a “male” hormone. Women produce testosterone albeit in smaller amounts than men. However, low testosterone is not the only cause of decreased libido.
So you should have a conversation with your doctor if you have any concerns.
Does the birth control pill cause depression and mood swings in women?
While this is not a common side effect of the Pill, some women have experienced OC dysphoria. This is the name given to the mood swings and associated depression brought about by oral contraceptives.
In a Harvard Medical School study, it was discovered that less than 20 percent of women experienced mood issues with the pill. However, women who suffered from depression were more prone to experience these unpleasant symptoms.
Those who experienced depression or mood swings discontinued use before their monthly supply ended. If you notice changes in your mood, you should let your doctor know, so that an alternative could be explored.
What do I do if I missed taking my birth control?
Make sure to talk to your doctor if this happens and do not double up or make other changes on your own. Your doctor may recommend additional birth control methods to prevent pregnancy.
In the case of birth control failure, there is an option to have emergency birth control or morning after pill options. However, these pills will have to be taken within 3-5 days of your last sexual contact in order to be effective.
If you’re concerned about having an unwanted pregnancy, please seek out medical consultation immediately for optimal results.
Can I use the morning after pill as long-term contraceptive birth control?
This type of birth control is designed to be used in an emergency contraception moment and not long-term. If you notice that you are frequently having to use the morning-after pill, then your current method birth control is likely not working adequately.
When this happens, make sure to talk to your doctor about why your current method is not working along with long-term options that will improve your birth control effectiveness.
If you find yourself in need of emergency contraceptive or birth control options, you may make an appointment with us here. Your doctor will provide personalized help for all of your birth control needs.