What is the most effective method of contraception?

April 12, 2023 | 04:13 pm PT
Friends introduced me to many methods of contraception after I gave birth, but I don’t know which one actually works. I hope a doctor can give me some advice on this. (Lan, 25, HCMC)


The Implanon implant is said to be the most effective (temporary) birth control today. Endocrine sticks (etonogestrel) are implanted under the skin and are effective for three years. After removing the stick, the reproductive organs will quickly recover and you can get pregnant again.

When using this type of contraception, women may experience some menstrual changes such as prolonged menstruation, some bleeding, occasional mid-cycle hemorrhages or amenorrhea. Some other side effects include headaches and mood swings. However, the side effects will eventually become stable and will disappear after a few months.

You can also get sterilized (permanent contraception) if you and your husband do not plan to have more children. Sterilization (tubal or vasectomy) is highly effective, and it can be performed postpartum or during a cesarean section.

In fact, most methods such as contraceptive implants, IUD insertion, and taking daily pills or injections are highly effective at preventing pregnancy.

With the IUD insertion method, this object will be inserted into the uterine lumen and have a contraceptive effect for 10 years. This approach is low cost and easy to use.

As for daily pills, if they contain only progestin, women can start taking them immediately after giving birth, regardless of whether you breastfeed or not. If birth control pills combine estrogen with progestin hormones, when you can start using the pill depends on whether you breastfeed or not.

However, a combination of contraceptives are associated with the risk of stroke and myocardial infarction, so this method is not recommended for women over 35 years of age that smoke, have hypertension have a family history of strokes, have myocardial infarction or deep vein embolism, migraine headaches, breast cancer or a family history of breast cancer.

Injectable contraception works for 3 months, but has the risk of causing osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, so this should not be used by women who are at risk of these diseases. Some other side effects include irregular menstruation, headaches, and weight gain.

Other methods such as condoms will have lower effectiveness, depending on whether they are used correctly or not. The advantage is that besides the effect of birth control, condoms can help prevent sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV and more.

Another method of birth control is lactational amenorrhea, which is based on the body's natural non-ovulation mechanism when a woman breastfeeds. This is a natural and inexpensive way of contraception, with no risks to the mother's health nor side effects.

However, this method requires strict requirements on the frequency and duration of breastfeeding. You must exclusively breastfeed, and the intervals between two breastfeeding sessions should not exceed four hours during the day and six hours in the evening. This method is only effective for the first six months after giving birth, after which you need to use another method of birth control.

Some other methods of birth control that can be used after birth, but which have very low effectiveness, include avoiding the date of ovulation, external ejaculation, or taking emergency contraceptive pills.

*Dr. Le Vo Minh Huong

Social Affairs Department, Tu Du Hospital

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