Know Your Birth Control: Types of Contraceptives in the Philippines
by: The Beat Asia
October 05, 2022
When the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act (Republic Act No. 10354), also known as the Reproductive Health or RH Law, was passed in 2012 by the late former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, it was nothing short of groundbreaking and historical. It signaled the beginning of a change in attitude and predisposition, a sign of readiness for a predominantly Catholic country such as the Philippines to the transforming times despite the Catholic Church's declaration then that "contraception is corruption."
The road to the passing of the RH Law was long and not without its challenges. It was first filed on Aug. 16, 1999, in the 11th Congress, as per a report by Rappler on Dec. 30, 2012. Known then as the "Integrated Population and Development Act of 1999" or House Bill 8110, it was championed by solons Cielo Krisel Lagman, Luwalhati Antonino, Carlos Cojuangco, Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, Nereus Acosta, and Edith Yotono-Villanueva — but nothing came out of it.
The passage of the RH Law paved the way for Filipinos to have complete access to reproductive health care, with local government units, with the Department of Health, mandated to ensure its provision.
This included, among others, family planning information and services that included a full range of modern family planning methods; prevention, treatment and management of sexually transmittable infections (STIs), HIV and AIDS, and reproductive tract infections (RTIs); the proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications; age- and development-appropriate sexual and reproductive counseling and education, and the mental health aspect of reproductive health care.
Today, access to a variety of birth control methods in the Philippines has been made easy and convenient it runs the risk of being taken for granted. Here are the types of contraceptives or birth control methods available for you!
We advise you to visit a gynecologist or the nearest women's health clinic in your area to inquire about the different types of contraceptives available for you so you can choose which one suits your lifestyle and health best.
Types of Contraceptives in the Philippines
Modern Methods of Family Planning
Condoms (Male and Female)
The condom is a form of barrier method. While we're more familiar with the male condom, there are also condoms for females. Male condoms are worn over the penis and help in preventing pregnancy by keeping semen from getting into a woman's vagina. According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, a male condom has a use failure rate of 13%. Apart from preventing pregnancy, it's also effective in protecting one from sexually transmitted diseases, as well as HIV. As male condoms are commonly made of latex, it is recommended to avoid oil-based lubricants which can cause the condom to tear.
Female condoms, on the other hand, are worn by a woman and prevents sperm from getting into her body. As per the CDC, it can be worn eight hours before sexual intercourse and also helps in preventing STDs. Its use failure rate is 21%. Condoms are one-time use only. Male and female condoms should also not be used together as this can cause the condoms to break.
Birth control pills come in two types: combined oral contraceptives and progestin-only pills. Combined oral contraceptives, known as "the pill," contain estrogen and progestin hormones and must be taken daily at the same time. As per the CDC, its typical use failure rate is 7%. The progestin-only pill, as its name suggests, only contains one hormone and is suited for women who cannot take estrogen. It's also called the mini pill.
The implant, known as Nexplanon, is a low-maintenance contraceptive. It comes in the form of thin, small rod that releases hormones into your body once implanted in your upper arm. Unlike pills and injectables, implants can last a long time (up to three to five years!), so you can have it inserted and just forget about it. Its typical use failure rate is 0.1%, although it does not protect one from STDs and HIV. Unless with a long-term partner, it is recommended to use double protection, such as a condom with another form of contraceptive like the implant.
The injectable or "shot," also known as Depo-Provera, is an injection of the progestin hormone, which you must get every three months. According to the Department of Health (DOH), it is injected either into the woman's upper arm or on the buttocks. It is effective with a use failure rate of 4%, although you must remember to get your shot on schedule, otherwise you can get pregnant as its effects wear off.
Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)
The intra-uterine device, or the IUD, is another low-maintenance birth control method. It is a small T-shaped device that is implanted inside the woman's uterus. You can choose between the levonorgestrel intrauterine (LNG) IUD, a hormonal IUD that releases progestin in your uterus, or the non-hormonal copper IUD. The latter is best suited for women who do not want to take hormones, since copper acts as a spermicide. The hormonal IUD can stay in your uterus for three to six years with a use failure rate of 0.1-0.4%, whereas the copper IUD lasts up to 10 years with a use failure rate of 0.8%. Women who wish to get pregnant may simply have their IUD removed by a doctor or nurse.
Fact: the copper IUD also functions as emergency contraception in the event of unprotected sex. As per the World Health Organization, a copper IUD may be inserted in the uterus within 120 hours of unprotected sex, which is "more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy." Apart from IUDs being one of the most effective contraceptives, the copper IUD is also considered the most effective type of emergency contraceptive, better than the morning after pill.
Hormonal patch, hormonal vaginal ring, contraceptive sponge, diaphragm or cervical cap, and spermicides.
Natural Family Planning Methods
Withdrawal or the pullout method, as the name suggests, is the withdrawal of the penis from the vagina upon ejaculation. The catch, however, is that a woman can still get pregnant from just pre-ejaculation. The DOH deems withdrawal as not that effective as a birth control method and "may make sexual union less satisfactory for the couple."
This method involves tracking your menstrual patterns by counting the days that you are fertile and infertile in a month, and only having intercourse on the days you are not fertile. Since this is not a modern method of birth control, the DOH does not recommend the rhythm/calendar method for couples.
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