Contraceptives: A cheaper alternative to sending your kid to college

By now you’ve likely heard (perhaps excessively) about how important it is to practice safe sex to not only prevent pregnancy but also STIs and STDs. With such a large variety of options available, sometimes it can be hard to know what provides the most protection and will work best for you. Listed below are some of the most popular and some of the most effective methods of birth control and contraceptives that can be considered as an option.


The only method that is 100 per cent effective, having no sex at all prevents the risk of unplanned pregnancies and STIs.

Intra-Uterine Device

An IUD is a T-shaped device that is inserted in the uterus and releases hormones that prevent the sperm from fertilizing an egg. IUDs must be inserted by a health care provider and can last up to 12 years depending on the type used. The benefit of this contraceptive is you don’t have to worry about using a contraceptive every time you choose to have intercourse and the IUD can be removed at anytime. They have a high success rate at preventing pregnancy at 9andper cent and another benefit is they reduce period flow substantially, and sometimes even completely throughout the time it is in place.


Not the most successful form of preventing pregnancy (78 per cent success rate), the male withdraws just before ejaculation. The problem with this method is that sperm can be released before ejaculation, and sometimes it is difficult for a male to predict when ejaculation will occur. For this reason, it is best to couple other forms of contraception when using this method, such as the pill.


Probably the most popular, cheapest and widely used form of birth control, condoms come in both male and female form. They are the best type of contraception to lower transmission of STIs and have a 98 per cent success rate at preventing pregnancy when used exactly according to instructions. The success rate decreases when other products such as an oil-based lubricant or spermicide are used at the same time. Female condoms can be inserted a few hours before intercourse whereas male condoms must be put on just before penetration. Keep in mind that some materials (especially latex) can cause allergic reactions.

Birth control pills

Another popular form of birth control is the pill. The pill must be taken once a day except for the days a person is on their period. With perfect use, the pill has a 99 per cent success rate; however, this decreases if you forget to take a pill or take it late. A benefit to the pill is it helps regulate menstrual cycles and makes flow lighter. You will need to get a prescription from your health care provider.

Dental dams

A contraceptive used for oral sex, dental dams help prevent the transmission of STIs and STDs. They are usually made of latex and provide a protective barrier. Dental dams can be bought or easily made by cutting a condom into a flat rectangle shaped piece.

Plan B

As a last minute resort, Plan B (also called the morning after pill) can be used up to 72 hours after unprotected vaginal sex. It works by preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg and also reduces the likelihood that the sperm will reach the egg. It should only be used for emergency purposes, and should not be treated as a regular routine contraceptive. It is available over the counter in most drugstores. Information for this article was derived from Young Women's Health website.