Contraceptives

Key Words to Know 

Fertilization: The process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both.

Miscarriage:  The spontaneous expulsion of a fetus (latin for young one) from the womb before it is able to survive independently.

Abortafacient: An agent (as a drug) that induces abortion

Endometrium: The mucous membrane lining the uterus

Cervical mucus: The viscous, slippery substance that consists chiefly of mucin, water, cells, and inorganic salts and is secreted as a protective lubricant coating by cells and glands of the mucous membranes.

Ovum: A female gamete: Macrogamete; especially: a mature egg that has undergone reduction, is ready for fertilization, and takes the form of a relatively large inactive gamete providing a comparatively great amount of reserve material and contributing most of the cytoplasm of the zygote

Ovulation: The discharge of a mature ovum from the ovary.

Ectopic pregnancy: Gestation elsewhere than in the uterus.

Embryo: An unborn or unhatched offspring in the process of development, especially an unborn human in the first eight weeks from conception.


How do different types of birth control work?

(According to the Mayo Clinic)     

Various types of birth control work in different ways. Birth control may:  

  • Prevent sperm from reaching the egg 
  • Inactivate or damage sperm 
  • Prevent an egg from being released each month
  • Alter the lining of the uterus so a fertilized egg doesn't attach to it
  • Thicken cervical mucus so sperm can't easily pass through it  

Contraceptive Options

What is Depo-Provera?

Depo-Provera is a form of progesterone, a female hormone that prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). Depo-Provera also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

What is NuvaRing?

NuvaRing contains ethinyl estradiol and etonogestrel, a combination of female hormones that prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). They also cause changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

What is “The Pill”?

“The Pill,” i.e. Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Yaz, etc. contains a combination of female hormones that prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). “The Pill” also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

What is Ortho Evra?

Ortho Evra is a contraceptive skin patch containing a combination of female hormones (estrogen and progestin), that prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). Fertility depends on regular fluctuations in the levels of these hormones. Ortho Evra also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

What is Implanon?

Implanon contains etonogestrel, a hormone that prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). Etonogestrel also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

Implanon is used as contraception to prevent pregnancy. The Implanon implant is a small plastic rod that is implanted into the skin of your upper arm. The medicine is released slowly into the body. The rod can remain in place and provide continuous contraception for up to 3 years.

What is IUD?

Paraguard is an intrauterine device (IUD) that's inserted into the uterus for long-term contraception. A T-shaped plastic frame that continuously releases copper, ParaGard prevents sperm from entering the fallopian tubes. If fertilization occurs, ParaGard keeps the fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus. After insertion, ParaGard's plastic strings protrude from the cervix.

Mirena is a plastic device containing the female hormone levonorgestrel. This hormone causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus  and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus. The Mirena intrauterine device is placed in the uterus where it slowly releases the hormone to prevent pregnancy for up to 5 years. Mirena is meant for use in a woman who has had at least one child and is in a stable sexual relationship with someone who has no other sexual partners. Mirena releases levonorgestrel into the uterus, but only small amounts of the hormone reach your blood stream.


Some important facts often overlooked…

  • A Mayo Clinic study said that women who use hormonal contraceptives for a minimum of 4 years prior to their first full term pregnancy have a 52% higher risk of developing breast cancer
  • Women who use a hormonal contraceptive for more than 5 yrs are 4 times more likely to develop cervical cancer
  • Prior to the sexual revolution and "The Pill" there were known to be 5 sexually transmitted diseases: Today there are more than 30.
  • There are over 50 medical studies which indicate that use of oral contraceptives and Depo-Provera place women at higher risk for almost all known risk factors of HIV.

****Sources: Manufactures of each contraceptive, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary, Reuters and Mayo Clinic