To have or not to have children? Access to family planning is a right guaranteed by law, and involves a set of actions and services of the public health network with the objective of helping to reflect on the best time to assume parenthood, if there is such a desire, and which also involves the availability of contraceptive methods to men and women.
After all, whatever the case or life plans, it is important to take care to avoid the risk of a pregnancy happening unexpectedly or unwantedly. Contraceptive methods can be reversible or permanent, daily or long-term, hormonal or not, barrier or not. They may or may not have contraindications. See the main methods offered by the Unified Health System (SUS), to which men and women can have access, from the Basic Health Units (UBSs).
Internal and external condoms – are the main barrier method, that is, they prevent the sperm from meeting the egg through a physical barrier, as well as protecting against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). They are distributed free of charge at Basic Health Units (UBSs).
The contraceptive pill – one of the most used contraceptive methods around the world, marked an important advance in terms of increasing female autonomy. The most used pills are the combined pills, composed of synthetic estrogen and progesterone, similar to the hormones produced by women. This type of pill prevents ovulation and also acts on the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to enter. The use of hormones has contraindications in some cases, so it is important that the woman talks to the doctor about the pros and cons of adopting this method.
Injectable hormonal contraceptive – consists of an injection given every month or every three months, with the aim of preventing the body from releasing eggs and making the mucus of the cervix thicker. Like the pill, it is made up of one or two types of hormones (progesterone or a combination of progesterone and estrogen).
Hormonal implant – a long-term hormonal method that works through a stick inserted into the inner part of the arm, releasing hormones that prevent the release of eggs and the arrival of sperm.
IUD – Intrauterine Device. The most common type is copper, which promotes an intrauterine inflammatory reaction that kills sperm. It is one of the most effective forms of contraception because it is internal and does not require discipline. It also contains no hormones and lasts up to ten years.
Tubal ligation and vasectomy – are irreversible methods, surgical ways to avoid contraception, by cutting the channels that would be the pathways through which both sperm and eggs could pass. In the case of women, it involves cutting the tubes and tying their ends. In a vasectomy, the vas deferens in a man is closed, which carries sperm from the testicle to the other glands that produce sperm. Both are safe and effective, but, as they are definitive, they have criteria to be carried out, such as family planning sessions and consultations with a multidisciplinary group of professionals.
Going through a medical consultation, whether with a general practitioner or gynecologist, is the first step towards finding the best contraceptive method, according to age, health conditions and other aspects to be evaluated.