September 26th marks World Contraception Day.
There are so many questions young people have about contraception. And this is one of those issues where ignorance is not bliss. A lack of knowledge could lead to having an unwanted pregnancy, STIs, or both.
You have heard of the ‘P2 moms’ – the ones who had unprotected sex and thought an emergency contraceptive (P2 – Postinor, e-pill, morning after pill) would prevent unwanted pregnancy. But no, they ended up pregnant. Because P2 does fail sometimes.
If you have no desire to have a baby at this time, you have to take charge of your reproductive life and use the right form of contraception for you.
The reasons some young women do not use contraceptives vary, from misconceptions about them to recklessness and pure ignorance on how to and which method to use.
Alice, 24, says, 'I’d rather my boyfriend uses a condom so I don’t have to stress about taking the pill, but he says intercourse is not as sweet when he wears one. That puts the family planning burden on me.
I once forgot to take the pill and ended up pregnant, but neither he nor I wanted a baby.
So I went to a well-known family planning clinic and procured an abortion. I didn’t know I could get pregnant again so fast and before I knew it, I was pregnant once more. I was back at the clinic to terminate the pregnancy. I feel guilty about it, but I just wasn’t ready.'
The dilemma on whether to keep or terminate an unwanted pregnancy is no fun, so avoid it by using any of these methods of contraception:
In the African culture, there’s a myth that condoms make sex ‘less sweet’, but as stated, it is just a myth. A condom is effective if used properly and prevents both pregnancy and STIs – so you kill two birds with one stone.
An IUD is a small device inserted into a woman’s uterus by a doctor. It can last for up to 10 years but won't protect you from STIs. The Copper-T IUD is also a very effective form of emergency contraception.
Some women complain of severe menstrual cramps and headaches. If this method doesn’t work for you, try another form of contraception.
- The pill
The pill could lead you into trouble if you don't follow the strict schedule. You need to take the pill every day for 21 days, then stop for seven days. During this week you have a period-type bleed. You start taking the pill again after seven days. You also need to take the pill at the same time every day. If you don’t follow the strict schedule, you could get pregnant. It is also not effective against STIs.
Yes, this is actually a thing. If you want to save yourself from the hassle of worrying every time your period is one day late, you might want to abstain altogether until you are ready to start a family or follow a contraceptive method religiously.
In case you are still wondering if you can use the pull-out method to avoid pregnancy – the answer is better not try it. It is a high-risk method that is really not worth it.
Also, the P2 pill should not be your go-to method of family planning. It is called emergency contraceptive for a reason – we all can slip up once in a while, and this is a great solution in such a case, but it should not be your regular form of birth control.
Whichever method of contraception you decide to use, make sure you use it correctly and consistently!
Do you have questions about family planning? Head to our discussion board.