All sexually active adults must consider family planning issues. According to the World Health Organization, family planning is not just about preventing pregnancy, but also about timing conception so that every baby is wanted and planned. The birth control method you choose must take into consideration personal preferences, habits and health concerns. Complete abstinence is the only method that prevents pregnancy 100 percent of the time, but most contraceptive methods have a very high success rate when practiced correctly.
The birth control pill is a type of oral contraceptive that women must take every day. This method is best for women who can remember to take a pill every day and who want the advantage of restoring fertility quickly. According to the website Fertility Friend, 54 percent of women were fertile in their first cycles after discontinuing the pill, though it took up to nine months for full fertility to return. However, this method has risks and not all women can tolerate the hormones.
Barrier methods include male and female condoms, cervical caps and diaphragms. These methods prevent sperm from uniting with an egg. According to the website WomensHealth.gov, barrier methods must be in place before penetration, which can inhibit spontaneity. However, male condoms allow men to share responsibility for birth control and also prevent disease. Barrier methods have no side effects or long-term effects on fertility.
When people do not want to worry about contraception on a regular basis, but may want the ability to conceive in the future, several long-term contraceptive methods can prevent pregnancy. Some of these methods include the contraceptive shot, vaginal ring, implantable rod and intrauterine device, also called an IUD. All of these methods are hormonal and are not easily reversible, but fertility returns after discontinuation.
Natural family planning, or NFP, is the only option that is free and has no impact on health. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, NFP requires learning the body's cycles to recognize when a woman is most fertile. This is used to achieve pregnancy by timing intercourse for fertile times, or to avoid pregnancy by remaining abstinent during fertile periods. The main disadvantage of this method of birth control is that it requires couples to remain abstinent during the time when women are biologically most interested in sex.