Pregnancy can be desired or undesired. Approximately 40% of pregnancies worldwide accounting for 85 million pregnancies, were unintended in 2012. 21.6 million women experience unsafe abortion worldwide each year with associated complications, while 18.5 million of these occur in developing countries. In addition, 47 000 women die from complications of unsafe abortion each year. There are various ways to prevent pregnancy. These are;

1. Abstinence

This is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity. Most of all, this is the only method that is 100% safe and effective. It is the best method for unmarried people.

2. Natural method

This method doesn’t require the use of devices or drugs. They include

  • Safe period: This is the period you can have sex without worrying about getting pregnant. It is from day 1 to 7 and day 21 to the rest of the cycle in a woman with a 28-day cycle. However. a woman with an irregular cycle should not practice this method.
  • Withdrawal method is when the man pulls the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation. If semen, however, gets in your vagina, you can get pregnant. Also, as many as 41% of men have sperm cells in their pre-ejaculate (fluid that a man involuntarily releases before ejaculation).(1) 

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3. Barrier method

This involves the use of

  • Male condoms; around 18 in 100 women will get pregnant in a year.
  • Female condoms; around 21 in 100 women will get pregnant in a year.
  • Diaphragms and cervical caps; Between 12 and 29 women in 100 using a diaphragm or cap will get pregnant in a year


4. Use of drugs

These are drugs a woman takes every day to avoid pregnancy. They work by preventing the sperm from meeting the egg and some inhibit ovulation. Some of the types of drugs you can use are;

  • Early morning pill: This is a form of emergency contraceptive that you shouldn’t use more than twice a month. It must be taken within 3-5 days after having unprotected sex. However, the sooner you take them, the better they work.
  • Combined oral contraceptive: This contains oestrogen and progesterone which usually comes in a 28-day pack. Around 9 in 100 women using the combined pill properly will get pregnant in a year
  • Progesterone only pill: This can also be called mini-pills which they contain progesterone. They must take progestin-only pills within the same three hours every day.

5. Injectable

These are injections women take every 2 or 3 months depending on the type your health provider prescribes. They help to prevent the release of eggs from the ovary (ovulation).

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6. Insertion of intra-uterine devices

This is a form of long-acting reversible contraception for women. It is usually a small t-shaped device covered with copper or contains hormones. It can last for 5 years. Less than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant in a year, depending on the type of IUD.

7. Implants

These are hormone-based forms of contraceptives a woman usually insert in the arm. They inhibit release of eggs from the ovary (ovulation). It can last 3-5years. This depends on the type your care provider prescribes. Less than 1 in 100 women using the implant will get pregnant in a year.

8. Sterilization

This is a permanent way of avoiding pregnancy whereby the doctor ligates the woman’s fallopian tubes or the man’s spermatic duct.

In conclusion, it is important to note that contraceptives are not 100% effective. As a result, if a man ejaculates near the vagina of a woman, there is a possibility of getting pregnant (though very rare)once the environment is conducive for the sperm and the woman is in her peri-ovulatory or ovulatory period.



1)Killick SR, Leary C, Trussell J, Guthrie KA (2011). “Sperm content of pre-ejaculatory fluid”. Human Fertility. 14 (1): 48–52. PMC 3564677 Freely accessible.PMID 21155689. doi:10.3109/14647273.2010.520798.


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