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Birth Control Behavioral Methods

Birth Control Behavioral Methods Facts

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  • The practice of birth control or prevention of pregnancy is as old as human existence. For centuries, humans have relied upon their imagination in order to avoid pregnancy.
  • With no method of birth control during sexual intercourse, a woman of childbearing age with normal fertility has an 85% chance of conceiving within 1 year.
  • Behavioral forms of birth control do not employ hormones (e.g. oral contraceptives or mechanical devices such as condoms). They are in use throughout the world, especially in underdeveloped nations.
  • They often have high failure rates, indicating that they do not work effectively, and the chances of an unwanted pregnancy are increased.

Continuous Abstinence

Abstinence refers to complete avoidance of sexual intercourse. There are no hormonal side effects, and it is endorsed by many religious groups.

This method is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy, and it also avoids sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Women who are abstinent until their 20s and ultimately have fewer partners are less likely to get STDs, become infertile, or develop cervical cancer. Abstinence costs nothing.

Abstinence may be difficult for some couples to maintain. It is important to discuss this decision with your partner before sexual situations arise.

Coitus Interruptus

Coitus interruptus involves withdrawal of the entire penis from the vagina before ejaculation (i.e. when sperm is released from the penis). Fertilization is prevented because sperm does not contact a woman’s egg. This method remains a significant means of fertility control in less advantaged countries.

  • How effective: This depends largely on the capability of the man to withdraw prior to ejaculation. The failure rate is estimated to be approximately 4% during the first year of proper usage. In reality, the rate approaches 19% during that time period. The failure rate refers to how often the method is unsuccessful, and an unwanted pregnancy occurs. The higher the failure rate, the more likely a woman is to have an unintended pregnancy.
  • Advantages: This method can be used at any time, as no devices or chemicals are employed. There is no cost.
  • Disadvantages: There is a high risk for unintended pregnancy. This method does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2017
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