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What are contraceptive methods available in India? This is a question all of us need to ask. Here is some handy information about what you can choose from, and make an informed decision for preventing a pregnancy.
“The best contraception in the world is a good education.” ~ Joycelyn Elders, American pediatrician and public health administrator who served as Surgeon General of the United States from 1993 to 1994
While I agree with the quote, a good education alone will never provide you with all the answers you want or need. Even among educated urban women, there is a low awareness of what contraceptive methods are available, and this is compounded by the fact that traditionally, Indian families do not consider it important to talk about contraception.
It isn’t very easy to go to a gynaecologist for this information either, especially for sexually active single women, or even for married women in a family with a traditional mindset. We hear so many horror stories of how even gynaecologists and other health care workers can be judgemental, rather than giving you the information you need.
Given this background and conditioning, most women find it hard to discuss contraception, even with a partner, when it should, indeed, be one of the most important conversations. Add to this the fact that most women do not have autonomy over their bodies, and no say in their pregnancy or even if they want to have sex or not.
It can be a HUGE help in such a scenario if you can get all this information on what contraception is available, where to look for it, which ones can give you full control, what you can do in case you want to prevent a pregnancy after sex, and where you do not need to be dependent on a partner to cooperate, correct? In short, what is YOUR ideal contraceptive of choice, suitable for your individual needs, which might change over time.
An ideal contraceptive should be effective, safe, acceptable, easy to use, should not be permanent, should be inexpensive, and should not require the cooperation of a partner during the act of sex.
Contraception has been the big thing of the 20th century that has truly freed women to follow their dreams. What are contraceptive methods available in India?
In this piece, you will get information on what are different contraceptives available to you in India, and a couple of them which are still undergoing trials and will be available soon.
We will cover barrier contraceptives of which the most commonly known, easily available, and easy to use one is the male condom, which is useful not just as a contraceptive, but also crucial for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Other barrier contraceptives discussed will be the female condom, the cervical diaphragm and cap, vaginal sponges, and an upcoming one which is effective for a month.
We will cover hormonal contraceptives – which by definition means they act by affecting the hormone levels in a woman’s body to make it impossible for a pregnancy to occur. Commonly known names are the oral pills, the IUD (more commonly known as a Copper T), vaginal rings, emergency contraceptives (the morning after pill), and hormonal contraceptives that can be either injected, or placed under the skin – giving long term protection.
We will also cover permanent contraception methods, which are important in their own way.
This article is meant as a guide to what contraception is and the various methods available to the women in India. However each woman is unique in comfort levels as well as medical and personal choices, beliefs and practices. This “cafeteria approach” is to familiarise the reader to the many methods available for taking control of her destiny and body.
*All names in the stories included have been changed for privacy.
*Arti, a 20-year-old young adult is sexually active. She is not yet in a committed relationship but is open to the idea of marriage and motherhood later in life. “ I know it will take me a while to find someone I love enough to spend the rest of my life with. But I am young and have a healthy sexual life”, she says. Her quest is for a temporary method that also affords her protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
Arti is a sexually active single adult, and the best option for her (and for all sexually active single adults, of any gender), is the barrier method of contraception, of which the most popular is the male condom.
The condom is also crucial for preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), especially HIV (AIDS virus) and the Hepatitis B virus, both of which can be life threatening.
There are many varieties of condoms easily available over the counter everywhere – chemists’ shops, supermarkets, and online stores. There are also condoms available now that are thinner for increased sensitivity that also allow for a more ‘natural’ skin-on-skin touch feel, more break resistant, and easier to use. For increased lubrication as well as for its spermicidal action, you could use a water based gel like KY Jelly, again easily available at most chemists and online.
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This exclusive article details the following topics about contraceptives in India:
The factors that are a hurdle to contraceptive education for women.
Various types of contraceptives and how they work.
Usage, advantages, side effects, available brands and costs of
How to access and use emergency contraception, and what are their side effects?
What are the different permanent contraceptive methods?
What is the natural contraceptive method?
Why are contraceptives important for women?
A Gynecologist by profession n blogger by passion, I love words!
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