Written by C. Fookes, BPharm on Jul 5, Other names: Birth control What are Contraceptives? Contraceptives are the name given to medicines and other devices that are used to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Contraceptives may also be referred to as birth control. COCs prevent pregnancy by inhibiting the normal process of ovulation the release of an egg from an ovary and by altering the lining of the uterus the endometrium so that it is unable to support a fertilized egg.
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Throughout the history of medicine, thousands of drugs have been developed, but only one has been influential enough to earn the title of simply, the pill. Introduced in May , the oral contraceptive pill is a medical innovation that has dramatically transformed generations. Women have gained incredible freedom and reproductive autonomy. The birth control pill separated sexual practice from conception, forcing re-assessment and reevaluation of social, political, and religious viewpoints. The plus women involved in the trial received little information about the safety of the product they were given, as there was none to give, and no one thought that it might be necessary to provide such information.
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All A-Z health topics. View all pages in this section. Several types of health care professionals can prescribe birth control. They include doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. We call all health care providers "doctor" to keep the information short and easy to read.
There are many different types of contraception, but not all types are appropriate for all situations. The most appropriate method of birth control depends on an individual's overall health, age, frequency of sexual activity, number of sexual partners, desire to have children in the future, and family history of certain diseases. An intrauterine device IUD , also known as an intrauterine system IUS , is a small, T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy.