Should you stop using a condom if your partner takes birth control pills?

There are many misconceptions surrounding birth control and the options and measures available to ensure it. While there are many different contraception choices, a lot of people are unaware of what to choose and when; it does not help either that there is little awareness about sexual and reproductive health. It is always a wise idea to reach out to an expert who can guide a couple as to what would work best for them if they are looking to delay a pregnancy.

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One of the most commonly-asked questions about a birth control method is if a man can stop using a condom during sexual intercourse if their partner is on a birth control pill. Both of these are popular contraception methods around the world. But, according to Dr Nagaveni R, consultant – obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, HRBR Layout, Bangalore, they work differently.

“A lot of people, who start using a birth control pill, wonder if they need to use a condom to provide extra protection against any unwanted pregnancy. The answer to this would be that while birth control pills are 99.7 per cent effective against pregnancy, they do not provide any protection against a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or any other infection,” the doctor explains, adding that condoms act as a barrier to STDs or infections.

“Moreover, there are high chances your body will take some time to adjust to a pill once you start consuming it and the results will take time to show. So, it becomes even more important that you use a condom to protect against pregnancy in the initial few days after taking the pill.”

Pills are effective in altering the lining of the uterus that makes it difficult for an implantation to occur. Condoms act as a physical barrier. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

What are the specific contraceptive uses of both?

Dr Nagaveni explains that birth control pills contain “small quantities of hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone that prevent pregnancy in the body by stopping ovulation”.

“In the absence of ovulation, it is impossible to get pregnant,” she states, adding that these hormonal contraceptives also alter the cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for the sperm to penetrate the egg.

“These pills are also effective in altering the lining of the uterus that makes it difficult for an implantation to occur. Condoms, on the other hand, act as a physical barrier and do not let sperm to enter the vagina, thereby preventing fertilization.”

Prevention of STIs and STDs

As mentioned earlier, condoms are one of the best ways to protect yourself from an unwanted pregnancy, but also against any sexually transmitted infections or diseases. “The latex condom, which is used to cover a penis, provides protection against most STDs or STIs. Physical protection is a good means to practise safe sex,” the doctor concludes.

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