To avoid childbirth, contraception is used. Now while most couples opt for the pill or the male condom, there are other options that can be considered as well. A diaphragm, the combined pill, the progestogen-only pill, the vaginal ring, the emergency pill, the contraceptive injection, contraceptive skin implant, Intra Uterine Device (IUD), sterilisation are some of the many methods of contraception that prevents the sperm from reaching the uterus and fertilizing the egg. However, while this may work for women with no health conditions it may not for women with medical problems. Contraception for women should, therefore, be chosen to keep in mind methods that do not harm their health.

Contraception for Women with Medical Problems

Hypertension: There are some forms of birth control that should be avoided by women with hypertension, and they rely primarily on “combined” hormone methods, i.e. hormone-containing estrogen and progesterone as estrogen may further increase the blood pressure. Experts also advise women with hypertension to avoid the birth control patch and the vaginal ring. This makes Progesterone-only or non-hormonal methods the best options here.

Diabetes: Progestogen-only contraceptive pill, IUD (hormonal and copper), Jadelle contraceptive implant, ECP, condoms are some of the methods that are suitable for all diabetic women irrespective of the complications.

HIV: For women with HIV barrier methods like the use of male condoms, or the female condom which is a polyurethane sheath consisting of two flexible rings at both ends. one ring is inserted into the upper vagina and the other covers the introitus. Diaphragm, vimules, and caps are other options available. The WHO cautions against using IUD and LNG-IUS for women with HIV.

Migraines: An estrogen-containing contraceptive can worsen the headache. The WHO suggests avoiding the use of Combined hormonal contraception (CHCs) in women at any age who experience migraines with aura. The use of IUD and LNG-IUD is considered safe to use in women with headaches but should be discussed with a medical professional before making the choice.

Epilepsy: Some treatments for epilepsy require taking anti-seizure drugs that make some options of contraception less effective. Other birth control options include birth control pills or Depo-Provera injections, condoms, a diaphragm, or an intrauterine device (IUD)

Most women with medical problems have successful contraceptive options that do not speed up the progression of their illness or impact medical therapy. Such women need a careful examination of their medical history and a full assessment of their current state of illness. The physician will create an individualized reproductive health plan in accordance with the patient that discusses her particular disease process and prognosis, her complications from pregnancy, potential teratogenicity of her medical treatment and the best time to prepare for a future pregnancy. Efficient contraception, while not inherently risk-free, is also an option that is much healthier than an unplanned pregnancy.