In a bid to improve sexual reproductive health, the Ministry of Health has introduced two more contraceptive methods. The two methods – implanon NXT & Jadelle and the vaginal ring both fall under the implants category. Implanon NXT is composed of tiny flexible plastic rods, with about 4cm radius. They are inserted under the skin on the upper arm and are effective for three years while Jadelle drags up to five years of usage. Both can be used by any sexually active woman regardless of her age.
Majority of the available modern contraceptives offer protection against unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. Family planning is important to couples as it enables them to space children accordingly and not to have more children than they can afford. Through the use of contraceptives, couples are able to govern the number of children they want and can even stop the reproduction cycle once they have reached their target. Modern technology found at advanced fertility centers have developed new innovative ways of conception through which couples can decide when to fall pregnant, the sex of the child and even if you want twins.
As explained by an officer from the Ministry of Health, Ms Tshegofatso Maotwe, the vaginal ring which is flexible is placed inside the vagina in order to prevent one from being pregnant. Nuva ring is tagged as a second name for the vaginal ring. When used consistently and correct, inserting once a month before being removed, the method works very effectively.
“Just like any other contraceptives, these methods do have their own advantages as well as disadvantages,” she said.
Following the launch, a few questioned with interest while most were against the soon to be practiced method. The main concerns were with the side effects. As much as contraceptives have played a beneficial role to many Batswana women’s reproductive lives since its invention, they have also had adverse effects on others.
According to Planned Parenthood care, some women may have no side effects while using the birth control implant, however many women adjust to it with little or no problems. Note should also be taken that the implant should not be taken by women with breast cancer. Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect especially in the first 6 to 12 months of use.
For most women, periods become lighter and less frequent. After one year, one out of three women who use the birth control implant will stop having periods completely. Some women will have heavier and longer periods while some have increased spotting and light bleeding between periods. These side effects are completely normal. Some woman may worry that they are pregnant if they do not have a regular period.
When it comes to the advantages of the implant, once the rod is inserted, you do not have to worry about getting pregnant and do not have to remember to take daily preventative measures (like with the pill).
The Implanon rods are reversible; once the rod is removed you can usually quickly become pregnant again.
Educating on how the implant works, Maotwe said “The Implanon rod releases a steady dose of progestin into your body. Progestin is a synthetic (artificial) hormone that prevents ovulation (the ovary from releasing the egg) and thickens the mucus of the woman’s cervix. The thickened mucus prevents the sperm and egg from joining and fertilizing in case the egg is released”.
She said the vaginal ring prevents pregnancy by continuously releasing hormones which are absorbed into the bloodstream. “These hormones known as estrogen and progestin then prevent ovulation. When there is no egg release, pregnancy cannot occur. Estrogen and progestin also thicken the cervical mucus, which prevents sperm from passing through.” Acting Director, Department of Public Health called for a joint effort as the Government introduces the new contraceptives.
“Majority of the available modern contraceptives offer protection against unplanned and unwanted pregnancies therefore it is crucial to ensure dual contraception by using any of the available methods together with one of the condoms, to protect ourselves against sexually transmitted infections including HIV and HPV.”