Pregnancy Prevention
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Pregnancy Prevention


So at some point our ancestors figured out putting the penis in a vagina leads to pregnancy. And since then, we’ve been trying to do one without the other. Not everyone of course, but most. Ancient Egyptians took to wine and garlic douches, or suppositories made from spoiled milk and crocodile turds. Yup, feces in the vagina. It makes slightly more sense though if you know that the Egyptian god of fertility is associated with the Nile crocodile. Luckily, we’ve expanded our options. Ancient Greeks and Romans figured out that covering the penis was useful, like condoms, and they added their version of the modern day sponge to the list. A list which includes over two dozen options for preventing pregnancy. With all these options there’s a better chance of finding a method that suits the user. What you have to consider? Overall health, how often you have sex, the number of sexual partners you have, if you eventually want to have children, how well each method works or is it effective in preventing pregnancy, any potential side effects, your comfort level using it and cost. With these considerations in mind, I’m gonna do a quick run-through of the methods currently on the market. The number that shows up here is the method’s effectiveness which I’m gonna start at a hundred, the rate it would be if I weren’t having sex. It’s much lower if I use one of these fancy-schmancy things. This is typically known as a female condom, but I prefer to call it an in-condom. It is worn inside the receptive partner and because it is so heavily lubricated on the inside and out, it makes for smoother sex. Inserted like this, this part stays on the outside of the body and then penetration occurs safely like this. Male condoms, or on-condoms, are also in this sex shields episode. There can be a lot of user error here so if you want them to be effective, learn how to use them. Condoms, except lambskin, have the added benefits of preventing sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and HIV. Downside, they’re one-time use, so the amount of sex you can have is limited to quantity of condoms accessible. Then there are other barrier methods which create a barrier between the sperm and the cervix, the tip of the uterus. This would include caps, diaphragms, sponges, Lea’s shields which I don’t have, and many of these are paired with another form of birth control called spermicide. So you know that the suffix “-cide” refers to killing, pesticide are pest killers, spermicides are sperm killers and there are many weapons of destruction to choose from. Jelly. This is film, meant to be folded up and put inside the vagina to dissolve, foam which comes in this canister with an applicator to fill it up like this, then inserted like a tampon. There are also these little suppositories spermicide which are like waxy bullets. None of these are going to be used at the same time. The active ingredient in all these spermicidal methods is nonoxynol-9 which while it’s great for killing sperm can also be an irritant. Then there are the hormonal methods which release synthetic hormones into the female body and communicate the message, “Don’t release an egg!” This includes the pill, patch, ring, shot, implant and some IUDs. These are all forms of the pill. There’s a pill for each day of the menstrual cycle. Take one orally everyday, same time. The patch is like a sticker that adheres to the skin, here, here, here, here, away from elastic bands or other things that can rub it off, like bra straps. It stays on for a week, or it’s supposed to, then you take it off and put on a new one, again, again until week four where you don’t wear it. You bleed and then start again. The ring, which looks a lot like the one in the in-condom, is inserted the same way but has hormones. That’s why it’s kept in this packaging because hormones are activated to release it when it heats up and gets wet, as in your internal body temperature and vaginal moisture. The shot, which you may know as Depo-Provera, is a needle injection of hormones that last up to 3 months. This is a demo of an implant. Implants are tiny matchstick sized tubes with hormones in them designed to release hormones over multiple years. This part of the demo is meant to show how it’s implanted by a clinician, under the skin, in the upper arm. You’ll notice this is green because it’s a demo but they’re not actually that color. Another device that is placed in the body for long durations is the intrauternine device, or IUD. Here’s one trapped in the plastic uterus. Get it? In the uterus device. Some are made of copper and lasts for 10 years, zapping sperm and disorienting them, others are made of plastic like this fun one and release egg halting hormones in addition to directionally impairing the sperm. Sterilization is intended to be a permanent option and entails cutting, cauterizing and/or tying off the tubes that transport egg or sperm cells to places where they can unite. Vasectomy impacts the vas deferens in the scrotum and tubal ligation impacts the fallopian tubes. You’ve probably heard of not having sex as a birth control method; this is abstinence. Abstinence as a birth control method is abstaining from sex until you decide you want to have children. People abstain before and during ovulation which is using the rhythm method or calendar method. Doing it effectively includes tracking vaginal discharge and basal metabolic temperatures. There are apps to help and thermometers Lactational amenorrhea is another technique people maintain the period of infertility following childbirth by breastfeeding their infants. Do you see how effective that can be? Then there’s withdrawal, withdrawing the penis before ejaculating. Video here and in the description. And if pregnancy happens with any of these options , there’s still more options to control birth, which I’ll take about more later, but you probably know them as the emergency contraceptive pill and abortion. When it comes to pregnancy prevention options, there are really awesome online assessments that will suggest methods that are best for you! This is the video of me going through the Planned Parenthood version which is posted on my daily vlog, DoeEyes. Stay curious.

99 Comments

  • stashdancer

    I love the ring! It has worked for me, and I'm much better at keeping track of it then the pill. 

    I was wondering, I don't know if you already have one planned, but could you do a video on infertility. I know a few people who suffer from different infertility issues as well as I have my own fears of being infertile. Both my grandmother and mother had issues carrying babies to full term.

    Thank you so much for your lovely content!

  • Ie Dineen

    Dr. Doe, I have the implant down as being 99.95% effective with one tenth the failure rate than sterilization. Is this incorrect?

    For anyone interested in the implant, it's a great option if you forget about your pills sometimes. We got tested and decided to have a fluid bonded relationship, and I'm super forgetful and wanted the lowest possible failure rate, so this was PERFECT.

  • Remy F

    Funny story, my mom actually got pregnant with my baby brother while she was breast feeding my other little brother. lol She knew there was such a small chance of getting pregnant while breast feeding she didn't think she would get pregnant. Then only 4 months after my brother was born, she found out she was pregnant with my youngest brother. haha So my mom was that 1% that got pregnant while breastfeeding. 

  • Tuffy Logan

    According to the iPledge program used by the FDA for approved drugs that cause major birth defects and/or injury to woman during pregnancy, a biological woman must use TWO forms of birth control simultaneously. These are referred to as a primary and secondary.

     Your primary would be something like the sterilization(male or female), IUD, the pill, the ring, etc.

    A secondary would be the sponge with spermicide, condoms, diaphragms with spermicide, etc. Female condoms are not accepted.

    Abstinence is the only form of birth control that does not need a secondary.

    The rhythm method, "safe time" of the month, and pulling out are not considers effective means of birth control at all.

  • TheSilverVixen

    Depo Provera is amazing.  I've been on it for a couple years now, and one major added bonus is that I haven't had to worry about my period since I started, which is great because mine were pretty awful (super heavy flow and cramps so bad I could barely function).  I've stuck with it mainly because it works to manage periods.  It also doesn't give me any of the bad side effects that The Pill did.

  • Rachel Prunty

    Well, breastfeeding definitely doesn't always work as birth control. That's how I got my little sister. She's only 14 months younger than me. She was a surprise! 

  • Ariella B

    Pharmacist told me spermicide is not effective on it's own – true?

    Also, natural family planning (the rhythm method) totally failed me; one day off and I got preggo.

  • Anita C.

    The IUD is the best for me, only thing was the insertion was EXTREMELY painful and I spotted for a month after I got it, but now I'm worry free. I have my boyfriend check for my strings a couple times a month to make sure they are there and I'm good to go! I was on the pill 6+ years and I hated it. When you have a hectic schedule it's hard to take it at the same time every day. And so many of the pills gave me bad side affects from lumpy breasts to zero sex drive.

  • armygirl1991

    Please help. I have a condition that runs in my family that I can not currently remember then name of although I have never been officially diagnosed even though I have all the symptoms (my doctor is university provided and does not seem interested in diagnosing me or most things for that matter). The condition causes my menstrual cramps to be debilitatingly painful and they can even cause internal bleeding. Because of this I am currently taking the pill form of birth control. The estrogen levels work at lessening the pain of the cramps to tolerable levels for a few months but I eventually keep needing high doses to keep the effect. Unfortunately, at the level the doctor has me on, I went from 5'8" and 135 lbs to 185 lbs and keep gaining at a fast rate even though I am eating healthier and in smaller portions, and am exercising more. I am currently fatter than any woman in my family has even been as far back as we know on both sides so I have no genetic predisposition for this weight gain. This weight gain and the resulting stretch marks are crippling my self esteem and the dose is already starting to not work anymore requiring a higher dose. My doctor is uncaring and shaming, but I can not afford to go to a not provided doctor. Is there any other option to help with these cramps other than to get a hysterectomy like the rest of my family eventually had to do? I'm only 23 and would like to have kids with my husband after I finish grad school.

  • Alberto Sierra

    Hello! Any bids on actually getting pregnant? Me and my wife are going on 2+ yrs trying and no luck. She does have POS, I am healthy

  • Henrique Maximo

    Lindsey, I could say I'm a fan of yours, but that would be silly. My admiration of you and your work easily transcends this concept. 

    Thank you for being such an awesome educator!

    Love to stay curious! 

    Henry, from Brazil!

  • Cody Clark

    Is there a reason that Vasalgel was not listed? I mean I would guess due to it not having US trials yet? It is a 'polymer hydrogel' that is injected into the vas deferens.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2750650/First-male-contraceptive-injection-available-THREE-years.html#ixzz3OqznONan

  • MsAquamonkey

    I was told about the copper coil. But when I researched it, every single woman, and this was thousands upon thousands said it hurt, as in debilitating pain, can make you bleed, and makes you feel very sick. I was thinking about getting one, up until researching it. 

  • Zizka Zenit

    Abstinence is not 100% effective, because rape happens.
    In fact, an abstinent female is more likely to get pregnant from rape than a sexually active female using an implant. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/08/abstinence-a-birth-control-method-that-is-100-effective.html

  • whatareallofthis

    Spermicides increase the risk of urinary tract infections in biosex females, which is already pretty high when sex is involved. Just so everyone knows.

  • CrimsonSight

    I'm disappointed transitional hormones weren't covered, sure, most women don't want to grow a beard and have their voice drop but there are plenty of men and non-binary people who might want to go that route as well, even if by itself it isn't as effective as some other methods.

  • Socrates Raramuri

    Covered very briefly AND WITHOUT PERCENTAGES […], the ovulation or Billings Method has been used by the Australian Aborigines for millennia. It has many advantages, one of which is that it can help to DETERMINE GENDER of the child you wish to put into the world (and your life for the next decades…). Personally i'm guessing it will give one 100% as long one understands the principle of how it works, which is that vaginal excretions are in direct link with ovulation cycles. So that principle will also give control over gender. Knowledge of this method is mandatory among many Catholics (this Irish bloke told me) so that should give you an idea of how seriously they appreciate it.

  • Demian Haki

    When I travelled to Namibia I learned that one particular ancient method of contraception was to use a cone-shaped "condom" made from dried, braided corn fiber. Can't really see anyone involved enjoying this. Must feel a bit like fucking a cheese grater…

  • Jessica Guest

    It's worth mentioning that breastfeeding is only effective as a birth control under specific circumstances (i.e. on demand 24 hour breastfeeding before solids are introduced to a child's diet).  I have conceived during breastfeeding more than once (which I was happy with) and usually started ovulating as soon as my babies started eating solid food.

  • Audrey1700

    I would love for there to be a Sexplanations video talking more about the pros and cons of IUDs. As with most things, there are a lot of negative stories floating around from people who have supposedly used this form of birth control, but I'd be interested to hear the gathered facts as opposed to just the hearsay.

  • Jazz Sheffer

    The video on how to control birth will be deeply, deeply appreciated. I've watched your videos from the beginning because of my curiosity and how amazing they are, but now I really need them. The timing of this video is crazy. Thank you so much Dr. Doe.

  • tigeress1001

    Options to control birth? The Emergency Contraception Pill and Abortion can not be grouped into the same category. Emergency Contraception is used to prevent pregnancy and Abortion terminates pregnancy. If anything, they should be separate conversations. I still have women coming into the pharmacy asking for Emergency Contraception thinking it will cause an abortion. I loved the video Lindsey, but the ending did not sit very well with me. I hope you clear this up in your next video. 

  • Whiltierna - The Patient Pet Parent

    Big fan, love your videos! I've been more aware of more and more videos not CC'd in English. Sometimes I watch videos silently so not to disturb those around me. Dr. Doe, have you ever thought about close captions? You could be missing out on multiple audiences, including but not limited to deaf, hard of hearing, and those who may not want people around them to hear videos. (Sleeping, phone, embarrassed, etc)
    Maybe volunteers if the auto CC's are incorrect?

  • Lindsay Hancock

    "And if pregnancy happens with any of these options, there are still more options to control birth […] the emergency contraceptive pill and abortion."
    NOOOOOOOO. NO. This is really wrong and really important. ECP and abortion do not belong in the same category. ECP is a contraceptive pill that you take after intercourse, in order to prevent pregnancy, in the same way that regular oral contraceptive pills are taken on a daily basis in order to prevent pregnancy. Once someone is actually pregnant, it is far too late for ECP, and the only remaining option to prevent birth is abortion. This includes both medical abortions (which may involve pills or injections or both) and surgical abortions.

  • ChaosKitchen

    There was another method of permanent birth control/sterilizing where they place metal spirals into the fallopian tubes which cause them to produce scar tissue and seals them up. Thoughts on that one?

  • Jess Jordan

    I'm a 21-year-old cis woman and I've known for many years that I don't want to give birth. I'm interested in eventually getting a tubal ligation but I'm wondering about the side effects. Does it effect hormone levels? I've chosen the pill for now because it regulates my period and I don't want to give up that benefit.

  • sara wang

    I was taught that women can get pregnant every day of the month. So I was just curious, how effective is the rhythm method?

  • Mooncrown

    What about hormones for men though?? They exist and are really effective – even though you can't get them over the counter yet I wish you would've mentioned them!

  • Sarah Edwards

    My uncle is only just under 11 months (10 months and 22 days) younger than my dad; therefore my grandma got pregnant again just 7 weeks after giving birth. I know this is possible; but I'm amazed at how she could have been ovulating again so quickly! My uncle was born on Friday the 13th in March of '53, and claims he gave my grandparents a good scare by being born on a Friday the 13th!

  • pegasister42

    Thanks to the my method demo, I was able to pick the nuvaring as my effective method that i don't need to think about constantly, and also regulates my periods. The funny thing is, even though I don't have to remember it and I can't feel it, I still think about it a lot, because birth control in general is so cool.

  • Legendaryknight2

    I don't like this episode. The printer behind her is just like mine, and I can't fix it because I need a fucking allen key of the same size.

  • weaslestakeflight

    I've been doing a lot of research on NEEM as birth control and i would greatly appreciate your input on the subject as well. This plant is wonderful and the oil has been known to work wonders against sperm intra vaginal. They are still researching the possibility of NEEM as a male pill too! I think you'll find it super interesting please let me know what you think and if you find more info than me id like to hear it 🙂

  • Paula den Ouden

    How do these percentages work exactly? Is it the percentage of women who don't get pregnant using that particular pregnancy prevention method over a period of time? Or percentage of women who have used the method and successfully prevented pregnancy? Or is it per instance of use?

  • StrunDoNhor

    I really wish my Sex Ed classes were more like this.  They weren't bad, mind you, but the lady they brought in treated sex with the mentality of your average 12 year old:  Annoyingly immature, with a sort of, "LOLDICKS!!!" tone about her.  I guess she assumed the attitude would resonate better with the hip, young, crowd?
    These videos maintain light-hearted overtones, but they don't over-do it, and the actual content is always kept to-the-point.

  • qualinseler

    Pulling out has really LOW efficiency, as well as calendar method. You 'might not' get pregnant using these methods, but it is crazy to rely on them.

  • bird

    I liked your videos before I was sexually active, and now that I have recently become sexually active, they're even more helpful (: Thank you so much for making them!

  • ninajmisfit13

    Can you take double the amount of birth control pills as an emergency contraception? I read somewhere you can?

  • azigz

    Hi Lindsay! (or anyone who can answer this for me) ive been on birth control for the past 5 months and i have 4 sugar pills at the end of my pack. this month i exprienced some light bleeding the last day of my hormone pill which went to a normal flow the first day of my placebo (usually it takes a full day after the first placebo to start my flow.) is a slightly early period normal?

  • Impybutt

    For a long time from when I became sexually active, I used a subdermal implant as a form of birth control. Unfortunately, this completely neutered me; killed my sex drive, stunted my sexuality, made me feel more like a potato than a human. Beginning of last year, I switched to a progestogen-only contraceptive, one that doesn't regulate my hormones at all. Since then I've rediscovered my sexuality/gender identity, and my husband and I are more intimate than ever.

  • Robyn MacKinnon

    Are there any figures for how effective the rhythm method is specifically? My parents were on the rhythm method when they conceived me. I'm guessing that's one you really have to be careful about in order for it to be effective (or maybe I was just a very tenacious embryo 😛 ).

    I love this channel, by the way. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  • TheCyberwoman

    My mother got pregnant with my brother soon after I was born while she was still breast feeding me. Me continued to breast feed me throughout her pregnancy till my brother was born when she weened me and started feeding him. She was under the impression that she wouldn't get pregnant while breast feeding so soon after birth. I don't know if she did it wrong, or if she was just an anomaly, but I feel the need to include this anecdotal evidence.

  • Holly Taylor

    I got the implant a few months ago and I LOVE it. It only hurt a little to be put into my arm (local anaesthetic needle was the worst of it), and now I don't have to worry about forgetting the pill or buying condoms! Also I've found that it has stopped my period, which is a plus, and it seems to have even less negative side effects than the pill. If you already use the pill without any trouble I can definitely recommend looking into it as a longer-term alternative 🙂

  • Yvonne S

    Non-hormonal implanted copper IUDs such as Gynefix (not available in every country, unfortunately) are missing which are having the benefit of not messing with the hormone levels nor any hormone emissions into the environment, and are great for women who didn't give birth yet and remove the issue of the IUD of moving out of place.

  • Johannah West

    I appreciate the helpful information in this video, thanks 🙂 Just wanted to add that there is spermicide available that relies on a PH hostile to sperm instead of nonoxynol 9.

  • Johannah West

    I know, I know, I'm being one of those people who only comments when there's a problem 😛 But YouTube's click-based right? So you might get some kickback 😉

    The "Rythme" or "Calendar" method has a lot of negative baggage since it usually means projecting times of fertility based on an average, not actual data from one's own body at the current time. Usually what you're referring to that monitors symptoms like basal temperature and vaginal discharge is called "Charting."

  • Samanta A

    I take birth pills but sometimes i forget to take them at the same time. I take them generally around 9 to 11 pm every day. Can this affect my risk of pregnancy?

  • Ideal Maia Rocha

    I'm confused, I looked up the wine and garlic douche and egyptians used that (as far as my little research shows) to either treat vaginal infections or BOOST fertility, not fight it. Does anyone have any better sources on the topic?

  • Beks Kristiansen

    Hey doc.. I have pcos. I was on depoprovera 12 years ago and it actually helped me conceive children. In fact I got pregnant with twins. Is there any chance that having this disorder and the birth control helped create my children due to the hormones?

  • Karen Jensen

    Why I watched this IDK. I’m 68 have been through menopause and had a tubal ligation when I was 30 which kept me pregnancy free since then. While all my female reproductive organs are there I liken my getting pregnant to the immaculate conception, except I am sexually active. Lol I wish every teenager or even those entering puberty no matter what their age could see this video.

  • Dominique Mitchell

    Can you please do a video on the implant? There's so many questions I have as to how it works and I just can't find anything about it. Like I know it releases hormones, but HOW??? And how does it last for four years???

  • Timmy B

    you are ugly as fuck. who the fuck are you to make videos. stick a corn cob in your stinky lonely snatch and be happy that it doesn't reject you

  • Khrashing Phantom

    Is there a video talking about concerns of women having children after age 35. From what I've been reading, and watching it makes it seem nearly impossible to have a healthy baby without nearly killing a woman after the woman is past age 35. Please help!

  • AmusingMike

    I have a question . But don’t judge: If my girlfriend is on the arm implant , can I still ejaculate inside of her ?

  • Black Swan

    I went on the pill at 14 and it was great until I started forgetting to take it. So I went on the patch, which was great until I forgot what week I was on. Then I went on the Nuva Ring, which was great until I forgot what week I was on. Then I got the Mirena. Five years of pregnancy prevention without having to worry about remembering stuff? Heck yes! When those five years were up I got sterilized. =)

  • Anthony J

    Hey, If you want to be dominating, wild and powerful in bed for 30 minutes in bed, take a look at Greyzar Drinbo’s website. It usually works within the first week, and yes, she’ll be yelling for you to give her much more.

  • u12play007

    I like to take control of each situation. For this, I got the "snipped" treatment and can creampie without the worries of the additional cost…………….LMAO

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