Contraceptives are methods you can use to prevent pregnancy and Sexually transmitted infections. There are many contraceptive methods available for women today, so before you decide to settle on any choice, make sure you receive contraceptive counseling from a medical professional. If you are a woman and in need of a contraceptive method, the first thing you need to do is go to the health care center and ask to be counseled about contraceptives.

Why do we need contraceptive counseling? Because currently there are many methods available that can prevent pregnancy. To make a choice that is just the right one for you, you need to be informed about each contraceptive method. Once educated, you can then make an informed choice.

During this counseling session, your healthcare provider will explain each contraceptive method, describe the ways they work, how long each contraceptive method can last, as well as what side effects you can expect. After being provided with this information, you will then decide on which contraceptive agrees best with you. 

Out of the many methods available, the condom is the only contraceptive that protects against both STIs and pregnancy. Other than sterilization, the condom is also the only contraceptive method that is available for both sexes.

The condom can be made of several materials. The most common one and heavily available in Ethiopia is the latex condom, but if you are allergic to latex, it’s important to note that there are condoms not made of latex, that will be of use to you. One of the many things that make condoms popular is that they are so easy to use.

If you are an organized person and would remember to take a pill every day, then the Combined oral contraceptive is the best choice for you. The combined oral contraceptive/birth control pill is a contraceptive method that works by affecting your ovulation cycle. But for it to work effectively, it must be taken every day around the same time. Other than its contraceptive benefits, the birth control pill can also be given to women with irregular menstrual cycles to help regulate their periods, and it can also help with acne. 

The injectable is a contraceptive method that works much like the birth control pill in that it causes hormonal changes that would affect the ovulation cycle of a woman, but it constitutes going to a health center and getting injections every 3 months. However, it’s not an ideal choice for women who intend to get pregnant immediately after stopping contraceptive use because it can cause a delay that would last about 9-10 months.

The implant is a contraceptive method that gets buried in the arm of a woman and works for up to 3-5 years. The way it works is similar to the birth control pill and the injectable, all three contain hormones and as such might result in side effects like weight changes, acne, mood swings, and menstruation irregularities.

If hormonal imbalances are already a headache for you and you would rather avoid hormonal contraceptives altogether, the copper-bearing IUD is a good choice for you. It contains no hormones and so causes no side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives.

Choosing a contraceptive is all about knowing your body and your preferences, and being well informed about each contraceptive method. This is why a contraceptive counseling session is so important because it sets the platform for a woman to be empowered enough to make her own choices.

One important thing to always bear in mind is that even though many contraceptive methods can prevent pregnancy, Condoms are the only method, other than abstinence, that can protect from pregnancy as well as STIs. Therefore to enjoy a healthy, safe sex life, having open communication with your partner so that you can pick a contraceptive method that works just right for you, is an important part of the process.