Prevention of pregnancy during sexual intercourse.
Contraception is a matter that will concern everyone of us in one way or another during our lives, but many people are ignorant of the basic principles involved. Contraception is possible through three basic methods:-
1. Preventing the sperm from reaching the egg.
Coitus interruptus -
This is withdrawing the penis from the woman's vagina before the sperm are discharged at ejaculation. This is very unsafe as some sperm are released before ejaculation is felt by the man.
Penile sheath -
Also known as the condom or French letter, the penile sheath is a fine latex rubber glove that is fitted over the penis before intercourse. Used correctly and carefully it is a quite reliable form of contraception, although it may come off or rupture occasionally. It has the added advantage of giving some protection against venereal diseases including AIDS.
The diaphragm -
This is a rubber ring with a loose, thin sheet of rubber covering the hole in the ring. It is fitted very carefully into the woman's vagina to cover the opening into the womb (the cervix) so that it is impossible for sperm to swim around it. Initial fitting and instruction should be by a doctor. Reasonably safe and effective, particularly if used with spermicidal creams or foams.
Spermicidal creams and foams -
These are placed in the woman's vagina before intercourse, and kill the sperm that contact them. Not highly reliable when used alone, and best used as additional protection.
Cervical cap -
This is a small rubber cap fixed firmly and semi-permanently to the cervix by a doctor. Not widely used in Australia.
Medroxyprogesterone injections -
This injection is given every three months to prevent ovulation. Only recently made generally available in Australia, but widely used overseas. Trade names include Depo-Provera and Depo-Ralovera (see Medication Table).
3. Prevention of implantation of the egg in the wall of the womb. There is only one contraceptive that works this way.
There is no diet that can act as a contraceptive.
It is much safer to take the contraceptive pill for many years than it is to have one pregnancy, and that is the realistic basis on which to judge the safety of any contraceptive.
Family Planning clinics exis in every major city. Public and private women's clinics are widely available. Centres promoting the Billing's and other methods of natural family planning are run by the Catholic Church.
Medical curiosity :
Casanova de Seingalt, the 18th. Century adventurer and philanderer, was one of many who have used the ancient form of contraception now known as the condom. Casanova's success was possible due to the fact that he refined the device by using a thin pig's bladder to fashion a malecontraceptive, rather than the coarser leather or gut devices used in earlier times. One of the oldest methods of contraception known to womankind is the intrauterine device (IUD). In the era of Egypt's Cleopatra, small gold trinkets were inserted by the court physicians to prevent pregnancy in the courtesans. At the same time, camel herders pushed pebbles into their female camels' wombs to stop them conceiving while on long caravan treks.