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Birth Control Comparison
Chapter 2

Method: Norplant
What is it?: 6 small plastic rods containing progestin that are implanted in the upper arm.
How does it work?: The rods are inserted in a fan like pattern and slowly releases progestin, which prevents ovulation and prevents the uterus wall from being able to accept a fertilized egg.
Effectiveness: 99%
Advantages: Implants last for five years, human error in misuse of contraceptive is eliminated, fertility is immediate after implants are removed, menstrual cramps decrease and menstruation is lighter, easily reversible, allows for spontaneous sexual activity.
Disadvantages: requires minor surgery, quite expensive, bleeding and spotting during first year, possibility of irregular periods, possible weight gain, may cause acne, may be visible or may cause scarring in the arm at site of implant, removal may be costly.

Method: Intrauterine Device (IUD)
What is it?: A small plastic or copper device inserted into the uterus by a physician.
How does it work?: The full effects of the IUD are still not completely understood, but it is thought that the copper that some IUD's have impedes the movement of the sperm in the uterus, preventing fertilization. There are also some IUD's that contain progesterone , thereby interfering with ovulation and thickening of the uterine walls. The copper IUD's can have a life of up to 10 years, while the ones that release progesterone must be replaced yearly.
Effectiveness: 97-99% effectiveness.
Advantages: effective immediately, no chance of forgetting a pill, lasts a long time, allows for spontaneous sexual activity.
Disadvantages: periods become longer and heavier and cramps worsen, spotting between periods, body may expel the device, risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), increased risk of vaginal infections, must be inserted by a health care professional.

Method: Diaphragm
What is it?: A soft rubber dome like object supported by a spring that fits over the cervix and is held in place by the vaginal muscles.
How does it work?: The diaphragm must be filled with spermicidal cream or jelly and in combination therefore creates both a physical and chemical barrier, stopping and killing any sperm that attempt to enter the cervix. The diaphragm must be inserted up to 2 hours before intercourse and must be left in for at least 6 hours afterwards, and additional spermicidal jelly or cream must be added without removing the diaphragm before having repeated intercourse. Your doctor must fit you for the correct size.
Effectiveness: 85-90% effective.
Advantages: No interference with the body's hormones, resulting in no real side effects, does not affect fertility, spermicidal jelly acts as lubricant.
Disadvantages: Some men and women have allergic reactions to the latex of the diaphragm, can be messy, does not allow for spontaneous sexual activity, increased risk of bladder infection.

Method: The Cervical Cap
What is it?: Similar to the diaphragm, the cervical cap is made out of latex and fits snugly over the cervix.
How does it work?: Your physician must fit you for a cervical cap, which is best used with a spermicide and fits over your cervix to provide a physical barrier to prevent sperm from entering the cervix and uterus. It may be left in for up to 2 days.
Effectiveness: 80-90% effective
Advantages: Does not interfere with your body's natural hormones, does not affect fertility, allows for somewhat spontaneous sexual activity.
Disadvantages: May become dislodged during intercourse, can be messy, may be difficult to insert, possible latex reaction may develop.



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