What can you drink to prevent pregnancy?
There have been so many stories about some unconventional ways of preventing pregnancy. Some women even testify to the success of these methods. But are these claims true? Are these methods safe? What does science say? What are the most effective and safe methods of preventing pregnancy?
- Contraception is the use of methods and devices to prevent unintended pregnancy from occurring.
- Some things people claim to drink to prevent pregnancy include a ginger drink, Andrews Liver Salt, and lemon or lime juice. However, studies have shown that most of these unconventional methods of contraception can harm the body and cause multi-organ damage.
- Contraception can be achieved using available medical options like oral pills, injectables, and intrauterine devices.
Contraception, also known as birth control or fertility control, is the use of different methods to prevent unintended pregnancy. Contraception has been practiced since ancient times, but effective and safe methods became available in the 20th century.
In 2019, out of the 1.9 billion women of reproductive age (15–49 years), 1.1 billion had a need for family planning, i.e., they were either using contraceptives at the moment or had unmet needs for family planning. Of these 1.1 billion women, 842 million were users of modern methods of contraception, and 80 million were users of traditional methods of contraception.
Additionally, global statistics show that about 73 million induced abortions take place worldwide each year. Six out of 10 (61%) of all unintended pregnancies end in an induced abortion. This may be attributed to the fact that many sexually active people are wrongly informed about contraceptives for preventing pregnancy.
Hence, there's a need to create more awareness about safe and effective methods of contraception to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies and abortions worldwide.
This article will dispel myths while revealing the truth about what works for preventing pregnancy.
What drinks prevent pregnancy? Are they claims or scientifically proven?
There's no manufactured or homemade drink approved or scientifically proven to prevent pregnancy. Here are some drinks people claim help them prevent pregnancy:
There are claims that drinking juice made from neem can prevent pregnancy. However, the role of Neem in female fertility is not fully understood. Some studies propose that Neem can interfere with the production of sperm by reducing the amount, motility, and structure of the sperm, making it unlikely to fertilize the ovum. Another study hypothesized that it can inhibit implantation in women.
There is a popular claim that ginger can prevent pregnancy by preventing implantation or inducing uterine contractions, but there is no reliable evidence that backs this up.
While ginger can help relieve menstrual disorders such as dysmenorrhea by reducing the production of prostaglandins (a hormone responsible for inflammation and uterine contractions), there is no study that shows it is effective in preventing pregnancy.
3.Salt and water
Some women believe that taking high amounts of salt mixed with water will prevent pregnancy from occurring. On the contrary, high amounts of salt and water will only predispose one to hypertension and may lead to kidney disease. Hence, it is dangerous to the body system and should be avoided.
4.Andrews liver salt
Andrews Liver Salt is an antacid that works by neutralizing stomach acid and aiding digestion. It is usually recommended in cases of heartburn and indigestion. It can also be used as a laxative (a type of medicine that can help loosen your stool and empty your bowels if you have trouble toileting). Therefore, it has no effect on fertility.
5.Lemon and lime juice
Lemon and lime are believed to have spermicidal effects, and there are claims that they prevent pregnancy by reducing the quality of sperm. This is said to be more effective when the juice from these citrus fruits is inserted into the vagina before or after sexual intercourse. Some women also soak clothes, sponges, or tampons in the juice before inserting it into the vagina.
However, research has shown that douching (washing) the vagina with lime or lemon juice causes cervical dysplasia (abnormal development of cells), which can predispose one to cervical cancer. Also, the acidity of lime and lemon can disrupt the normal vaginal flora (microorganisms), leading to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. This may lead to infection.
One of the active contents of the parsley herb, apiole, is believed to stimulate uterine contractions and induce abortion. Based on this notion, it is claimed to have contraceptive effects. Nevertheless, research has shown that excessive intake of parsley, in any form, can lead to liver and kidney damage.
Turmeric is proven to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which makes it very beneficial to the body. Its active ingredient, curcumin, is found to have great benefits for the female reproductive system, especially in cases of conditions like endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and premenstrual syndrome, among others. However, turmeric has no contraceptive effect and cannot prevent pregnancy.
8.Lime and potash
Some people also believe that ingesting these substances can prevent pregnancy. But a mixture of lime and potash has no contraceptive effect. In fact, it can be harmful to the body's system and may lead to the development of kidney diseases.
Other claims include:
- Douching with apple cider vinegar can prevent pregnancy.
- Eating papaya within 2–3 days of having sex can prevent pregnancy.
- Eating pineapple after sexual intercourse and within 3 days has contraceptive effects.
- Drinking Coca-Cola and aspirin can prevent a person from getting pregnant.
- Taking antibiotics after sex can prevent pregnancy.
These claims are false and, in fact, involve practices that are detrimental to health. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid the use of these concoctions and also consume fruits to provide our body with nutrients rather than as a method of contraception.
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What can you take to prevent pregnancy?
There are several available methods of contraception that are safe and effective. These contraceptive methods exist in different forms: oral pills, injectables, and implants.
Oral contraceptive pills
Oral contraceptives are birth control pills that you ingest through the mouth. There are different types:
- Emergency contraceptive pills: As the name implies, emergency contraceptives are designed to be used in emergencies. You should take them within 3-5 days after intercourse, depending on the brand. In fact, the earlier you take the pill, the higher its chances of preventing pregnancy are. Emergency contraceptives can prevent up to 95% of pregnancies when taken within 5 days after sexual intercourse. Examples include Postinor and Postpill.
- Progestin-only pills: These pills contain only progesterone. It can also be called 'mini pills'. Some people may prefer this. It is also the best oral birth control option for those who cannot use pills that contain estrogen.
- Combined oral contraceptives (COCs): COCs are oral contraceptives that contain both progesterone and estrogen.
Contraceptives also come in the form of injections. These injections are given at intervals, depending on the type. Some examples are Depo-Provera and Noristerat.
Implants and intrauterine devices
They are of different types. Implants are placed under the skin (e.g., Jadelle and Implanon), while intrauterine devices are inserted into the womb (e.g., Copper-T).
Implants and intrauterine devices do not contain estrogen and are safe even while breastfeeding.
How to practice safe sex
Safe sex practices are ways you can protect yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, genital warts, herpes, and HIV. Safe sex can also protect one from an unintended pregnancy. Some of the practices to adopt to ensure safe sex include:
- Use condoms and other barrier methods properly.
- You can use other contraceptive methods to prevent unintended pregnancy. But keep in mind that only the barrier method and abstinence from sex protect against STDs.
- Get tested regularly for STDs, whether there are symptoms or not.
- Treat STDs once diagnosed and avoid sex until your treatment is complete.
- If you notice any sores, rashes, blisters, or discharge on you or your partner—especially in your private parts—ensure you or your partner visit the hospital for proper check-ups and treatment.
- Be aware of your sexual partner's STD status.
- Limit the number of sexual partners you have. Practicing a monogamous relationship is safer.
- Practice abstinence from sex if possible.
- Ensure to clean yourself up before and after sex. Also, wash your hands before you engage in any sexual activity that involves touching the genitals, e.g., Fingering.
- If you're using sex toys, ensure you keep them clean and avoid sharing them.
- Talk openly with your partner about your sexual health.
Speaking to a doctor about contraception
It is important that you speak to your doctor about the available contraceptives that are best for you. Your doctor might ask you certain questions to determine which method is best for you.
Research has shown that the claims surrounding some unconventional methods of contraception are ineffective and may harm the body and predispose you to certain diseases if used over a long period of time or consumed in high doses. You should avoid these methods.
Consequently, there are safe and effective methods of contraception approved by the WHO that can be used to prevent unintended pregnancies and protect against STDs. If you're looking for the best contraceptive method to use, visit a doctor to discuss the available options that are best for you and your partner.