Birth control methods encompass a diverse range of approaches designed to empower individuals with the ability to manage their reproductive choices. These methods are aimed at preventing unintended pregnancies and, in some cases, providing protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). With options spanning from hormonal contraceptives and barrier methods to intrauterine devices and permanent solutions, individuals can choose the method that aligns best with their preferences, lifestyles, and health needs by first consulting with an OBGYN.
An OBGYN can best advise you on how to choose a birth control method as each one operates on distinct mechanisms, effectiveness rates, and considerations, ensuring that people can make informed decisions about their reproductive health. Whether prioritizing hormonal balance, ease of use, long-term protection, or non-hormonal alternatives, the array of available birth control methods underscores the importance of personalized choice and comprehensive sexual health education.
Because of Filipino socio-cultural factors and limited sex education, birth control is not often openly discussed in the Philippines. However, this blog will do a deep dive into the different birth control methods available to Filipinas –– many of which can be accessed on Kindred.
Here are the types of birth control methods in the Philippines:
Birth control pills
Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptives, stand as one of the most widely used hormonal contraceptive methods. These pills contain synthetic hormones, usually a combination of estrogen and progestin or sometimes just progestin, which work together to prevent pregnancy by suppressing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus to hinder sperm movement, and altering the uterine lining to make implantation difficult.
When taken consistently and correctly on a daily basis, birth control pills provide a highly effective means of contraception, with a success rate of over 90%. Besides preventing pregnancy, birth control pills can also bring about lighter and more predictable periods, alleviate menstrual symptoms, and offer certain non-contraceptive health benefits.
Injectables offer a discreet and effective way to prevent pregnancy. These injections contain synthetic hormones, usually progestin, that are administered into the muscle by a healthcare provider at regular intervals, typically every three months. Progestin in injectable form works by inhibiting ovulation, thickening cervical mucus to impede sperm movement, and altering the uterine lining to discourage implantation.
This method provides a high level of contraceptive protection, with an effectiveness rate of around 94%. One of the benefits of injectables is their convenience, as they eliminate the need for daily administration. They can also lead to lighter periods for some individuals. Hormonal injections are available and are effective for several weeks or months, depending on the type. They require regular visits to healthcare providers for re-administration.
Implants offer a highly effective and long-lasting hormonal contraceptive solution for those seeking reliable birth control. These small, flexible rods are inserted just under the skin of the upper arm by a healthcare professional. They slowly release a synthetic hormone, usually progestin, into the bloodstream over a period of typically three years. The hormone works by preventing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus to hinder sperm movement, and altering the uterine lining to make implantation difficult.
With a success rate exceeding 99%, implants are among the most dependable forms of contraception available. Apart from their contraceptive benefits, many individuals experience lighter periods and reduced menstrual discomfort. The convenience of long-lasting protection and the relatively simple procedure for insertion make implants an attractive option for those seeking a low-maintenance and discrete method.
Other common alternatives
Condoms, a barrier contraceptive method, stand as a widely accessible and effective means of preventing both pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These thin sheaths, typically made from latex or polyurethane, are worn over the penis during sexual intercourse or placed inside the vagina or anus.
Condoms serve as a physical barrier, preventing sperm, semen, and other bodies from coming into contact with the partner's body and reducing the risk of STIs by preventing direct contact between skin and body fluids. With correct and appropriate use, condoms can provide a success rate of 85-95% in preventing pregnancies. Incorporating condoms into sexual activity can be a responsible and practical choice for those looking to safeguard their reproductive health and prevent unintended pregnancies.
Intrauterine device (IUD)
These small, T-shaped devices are inserted into the uterus by a healthcare professional, and can either be non-hormonal or hormonal. Non-hormonal IUDs available in the Philippines are the copper IUDs, which have a copper wire wound around a portion of the IUD. Its contraceptive effect is exerted by causing inflammation that is toxic to the sperm and that causes the uterine lining to be unsuitable for implantation.
Hormonal IUDs contain a form of progestin that is released in low steady doses consistently over a period of years. This hormone-based IUD works by thickening cervical mucus, inhibiting sperm movement, and thinning the uterine lining, thus preventing fertilization and implantation. The IUDs offer a remarkable advantage in their long-lasting effectiveness, typically ranging from three to ten years depending on the type and specific brand. They also boast a high success rate of over 99% when used correctly.
While all IUDs require a medical procedure for insertion, their set-it-and-forget-it nature appeals to those seeking a low-maintenance, reversible, and highly effective form of birth control. In addition, apart from their contraceptive benefits, hormonal IUDs often lead to lighter periods and reduced menstrual discomfort for many individuals.
Natural Family Planning (NFP) methods
Natural family planning methods center on familiarizing oneself with the physical changes in an individual’s body during different phases of the menstrual cycle. With the rise and fall of different hormones especially around the time of ovulation, these subtle changes in our bodies become evident to those who keenly look out for them. However, each method on its own may have a lot of variations, so for those who prefer a natural way to prevent pregnancy, it is best to use the following NFP methods together.
Also known as the rhythm method, it involves tracking menstrual cycles to predict fertile days and abstaining from intercourse during those times. While this method offers a hormone-free approach to birth control, its effectiveness largely depends on consistent and accurate tracking, making it less reliable than some other methods. It requires a strong commitment to tracking and abstaining from intercourse during fertile days, making it more suitable for those with regular cycles who are dedicated to meticulous monitoring and communication with their partner.
Basal Body Temperature method
Basal body temperature (BBT) tracking is a natural birth control method that involves monitoring the body's lowest resting temperature upon waking each morning. This method relies on the subtle temperature rise that occurs after ovulation due to increased progesterone levels. By observing this shift, individuals can identify their fertile window and avoid unprotected intercourse during that time to prevent pregnancy. However, the effectiveness of the basal body temperature method hinges on consistent and accurate temperature measurements taken at the same time each day, and it requires several cycles of data collection to establish patterns.
Cervical mucus method
The cervical mucus method is a natural approach to birth control that focuses on tracking changes in the consistency and appearance of cervical mucus throughout the menstrual cycle. As a woman's body prepares for ovulation, cervical mucus becomes clearer, more slippery, and stretchy, resembling egg whites. This indicates fertile days when conception is more likely. Conversely, when the woman’s body is not close to its ovulation or fertile period, cervical mucus becomes thicker, stickier, and more opaque, usually appearing as a thick white snot-like discharge. By observing these changes, individuals can identify their fertile window and abstain from unprotected intercourse during this time to prevent pregnancy.
Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure for women that blocks or cuts the fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from reaching the uterus. By preventing eggs from meeting sperm, fertilization is effectively hindered. Tubal ligation is a highly effective form of contraception, with a less than 1% failure rate. It is permanent and irreversible, and needs to be performed by trained medical professionals in a hospital setting and under anesthesia.
A vasectomy is a permanent birth control method for males seeking a definitive solution to prevent pregnancy. In this minor surgical procedure, the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra, are cut or sealed. This prevents sperm from being ejaculated during sexual activity, effectively eliminating the chance of fertilizing an egg. Vasectomy is a highly effective method of contraception with a very low failure rate. While it's considered a permanent decision, some individuals may explore options for sperm retrieval and assisted reproductive techniques if they later decide to have children.
Regardless of the array of birth control methods available, it's important for individuals and couples to consult healthcare professionals to determine the most suitable birth control method based on their health, preferences, and lifestyle. Additionally, understanding the cultural, social, and religious factors that influence contraceptive choices in the Philippines is essential for promoting effective family planning practices and ensuring reproductive health for all.
Kindred is here for any of your birth control needs. While it may be tempting to just get one over the counter, working closely with a professional can help you assess the method's effectivity and impact on your body, especially in the long term. Book OBGYN consults, IUD and implant insertions, injectable contraceptives, and purchase birth control pills or condoms today and be empowered to take charge of your health.
Last medically reviewed on August 11, 2023.