Tags

, , , , , ,

With the limited sexual and reproductive health education most of us receive in grade school and high school, it’s no wonder that so many people have no clue which birth control methods are available to them and how much they cost. We have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Asia, and our population has ballooned to more than 100 million as of 2014. So I’ve compiled a list of readily available birth control methods in order of ease of access for regular Filipinos like you and I. This list is by no means comprehensive. Some methods like birth control pills and the IUD will be discussed more extensively in other posts. If you need to know more, follow the links provided, conduct your own research, and talk to your OB-GYNE.

Most stats here are based on the NYT article, “How Likely Is It That Birth Control Could Let You Down?” which provides great information for both typical and perfect use. Quoted here are stats for typical use over a year only.

Abstinence (100%)

  • Who can use it: Everybody
  • What it does: Well you can’t conceive without intercourse
  • Where to get it: Deep within your soul
  • When to use it: All day, every day
  • How to use it: Just don’t engage in vaginal penetration
  • Cost: None

Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (76%)

  • Who can use it: Women
  • What it does: Makes you aware of your cycle and your basal body temperature
  • Where to get it: You can learn charting from sites like this, and buy a thermometer from any drugstore
  • When to use it: Every day
  • How to use it: Chart your menstrual cycle responsibly
  • Cost: Notebook and thermometer… 100 PHP

Withdrawal (78%)

  • Who can use it: Men
  • What it does: Prevents (most of) the sperm cells from reaching the egg cell
  • When to use it: Right before ejaculation
  • How to use it: Pull out on time, every single time
  • Cost: None

Male Condoms (79%)

  • Who can use it: Men, although it would help if women insisted on it
  • What it does: It’s a barrier method that prevents sperm cells from reaching the egg cell
  • Where to get it: Most drugstores nationwide
  • When to use it: During intercourse
  • How to use it: Like this
  • Cost: Varies wildly among different types of condoms… 50 PHP and up
  • Note: Recommended for use along with any other type of method for STD prevention

Birth Control Pills (91%)

  • Who can use it: Women (although the male version is underway)
  • What it does: It does three important things, namely (1) tricking your body into thinking you’re pregnant, thereby stopping you from releasing egg cells, (2) thickening the cervical mucus so the sperm can’t enter, and (3) keeping the lining of your uterus thin so that a fertilized egg can’t attach to it even if it gets through the first two mechanisms
  • Where to get it: Most drugstores nationwide, consultation visit to OB-GYNE and prescription recommended
  • When to use it: Every day
  • How to use it: Take one active pill at the same time, every day
  • Cost: Varies wildly among different types of pills… 45 PHP and up
  • READ: Let’s Talk About BC Pills for more information

Emergency Contraception/Plan B (“95% when taken within 24 hours” – WHO)

  • Who can use it: Women
  • What it does: Levonorgestrel prevents (1) the release of an egg from the ovary, (2) a sperm from fertilizing the egg, and (3) a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb.
  • Where to get it: Unfortunately, we don’t have easy access to the real Plan B OneStep. What we do have is access to is the Yuzpe Method, which means taking BC pills with a high levonorgestrel content, like Nordette.
  • When to use it: Within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse
  • How to use it: You need 1.5 mg of levonorgestrel in two doses, 12 hours apart
  • Cost: Less than 200 PHP for a pack of Nordette
  • READ: Emergency Contraception 101 for more information and alternatives to the pill

The Shot (94%)

  • Who can use it: Women
  • What it does: The same thing the BC pill does, except with less room for human error because you get an injection and that’s it
  • Where to get it: Your OB-GYNE
  • How to use it: Get a new shot every 3 months
  • Cost: About 500 PHP per shot

The Patch (91%)

  • Who can use it: Non-smoking women under 198 pounds and below 35 years old
  • What it does: The same thing the BC pill and the shot does, but in patch form
  • Where to get it: Your OB-GYNE
  • When to use it: Once a week
  • How to use it: Stick one new patch on the skin of your buttocks, stomach, upper outer arm, or back once a week for 3 weeks in a row (skip the 4th week)
  • Cost: About 600 PHP for 3 patches

The Copper IUD (99%)

  • Who can use it: Women — it lasts for up to 12 years (stats say you should probably change it in 10 years though)
  • What it does: It (1) releases copper into the uterus which works as a spermicide and (2) changes the lining of the womb, making it less suitable for a pregnancy
  • Where to get it: Your OB-GYNE. This one requires a minor but painful 10-minute procedure.
  • How to use it: After your procedure, just get another ultrasound a month later, and a yearly ultrasound after that.
  • Cost: About 2500 PHP

The Hormonal IUD (99+ %)

  • Who can use it: Women — it lasts for up to 5 years
  • What it does: The same thing that the BC pill does
  • Where to get it: Your OB-GYNE. This one requires a minor but painful 10-minute procedure.
  • How to use it: After your procedure, just get another ultrasound a month later, and a yearly ultrasound after that.
  • Cost: About 5000 PHP

The Implant (99+ %)

  • Who can use it: Women — lasts up to 3 years
  • What it does: The same thing that the BC pill does
  • Where to get it: Your OB-GYNE
  • How to use it: A matchstick-sized rod is inserted under the skin of your upper arm
  • Cost: About 8000 PHP, but may soon be available for free through local health centers and the DOH

So there you have it. As I said, this is just an overview, but I hope that this helps you make a more informed choice about the methods you’re using and let you plan your future better.

Advertisements