Reproductive Health

Amniocentesis and Birth Control

Estimations suggest every six person in the world is an Indian. No wonder India is the second most populated country in the world. This population explosion in our country can lead to scarcity of even basic necessities. This is the reason that from the past two decades, the Indian government has come up with several campaigns, strict measures and birth control options to check the ever-growing population growth rate of our population. In this topic, we will study about birth control and the different options available for birth control.

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Birth Control

Birth Control is the process of avoiding pregnancy for individuals who do not want to have a baby even after sexual intercourse. There are many birth control methods that help in avoiding pregnancy. Birth Control techniques have been present since ages but it was not until 20th century that effective and safe birth control techniques have come upon a larger scale.

Birth control methods vary according to the preference of the people and it also depends upon the health of the people opting for birth control method. One thing to note here is no birth control method except abstinence and surgical sterilization is an absolute sure technique for preventing pregnancy.

Population Explosion and the Need for Birth Control

It is very important to understand why it is important to opt for birth control methods. Yes, the reason is the ever-growing population growth rate in India. Past few decades have brought an overall development in different sectors thereby improving the standard of living of the people and the quality of life.

Moreover, the advancement in medical facilities in combination with better standard of living has led to an explosive impact on the population. According to estimations, the population of the world in 1900 increased to almost 6 billion by the year 2000. The pattern was similar in case of India and now the population in India is the second highest population in the world.

Another reason for the increase in population growth rate is decreased in death rate. Maternal mortality rate and Infant mortality rate have gone down significantly. Moreover, there was also an increase in the number of people falling in the reproducible age category.

Help from the Government

Different programmes by the government have led to a decrease in population growth rate but it is just marginal. The alarming growth can bring absolute scarcity even in the basic necessities such as shelter, food, clothing, etc. even after progressing towards development.

This led Government to take serious measures to overcome the problem of population explosion. Therefore, the government initiated campaigns related top smaller families and use of different contraceptives methods to overcome the problem of population explosions. Additionally, the government came up with incentives for couples having small families.

The statutory raising of marriageable age was another measure taken by the Government the bring a check on population explosion. However, birth control methods are one of the most effective measures. Birth control methods fall into the category of Natural or Traditional Methods, Barriers, Oral Contraceptives, IUDs, Injectables, Surgical Methods, and Implants.

Properties of an Ideal Contraceptive

The ideal contraceptive must be

  • user-friendly
  • effective
  • easily available
  • with no long-term side effects.

Natural Methods

Natural Methods describes processes that avoid chances of the meeting of sperm and ovum.

  • Period Abstinence: This method is when a couple abstains from coitus during the estimated date of ovulation in the menstrual cycle, usually from day 10 to day 17. This time period of the menstrual cycle is the fertile period where the chances of fertilization are high. Thus, avoiding coitus during this time period can decrease or even prevent the chances of the conception of pregnancy.
  • Coitus Interruptus: This natural method of birth control is possible by avoiding insemination. In this method, the male partner withdraws penis prior to ejaculation in the vagina of the female.
  • Lactational Amenorrhea or Absence of Menstruation: This method is possible during the high lactation period just after parturition because at this time the ovulation does not occur. Thus, the cycle does not occur. Hence, chances of conception are nearly nil during the time when the mother breastfeeds a child entirely. However, the efficacy of this method is around for six months after parturition. There are nil chances of side effects in this method due to the absence of any medicines and device. However, there is a very high chance of failure by this method.

Artificial Methods

These methods include barrier method, hormonal method, IUDs and Surgical Methods.

Barrier Method

A barrier between the female sex cells and male sex cells is put up in this method that helps in blocking the sperms from reaching the eggs/ova present. Therefore, barrier methods help to avoid fertilization of ova and the sperm and prevent conception. It is available for both men and women.

  • Barrier Method for Women to Avoid Birth Control: Items like a diaphragm, cervical shield, female condom, cervical cap, contraceptive sponge are a few examples of natural barrier methods in case of women that helps to prevent the sperm fertilize with the ova thereby avoiding conception.
  • Barrier Method for Male to Avoid Birth Control: Use of male condoms helps to prevent conception.
  • Hormonal Methods to Avoid Birth Control: This birth control method interferes with a woman’s hormonal balance in the body. Interference of hormonal balance may result in prevention of ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of fertilized egg. Hormonal interference is possible to achieve by contraceptive pills, birth control injections, vaginal rings, and progestin-releasing patches.


IUDs or Intrauterine devices are examples of implantations. They resemble small T-shaped devices that can be planted in the uterus. They are mainly of two types

  • Copper IUD- This device can release minute quantities of copper in the uterus which in turn help in the prevention of sperms reaching the ovary.
  • Hormonal IUD- This type of IUD releases progestin hormone in the body and thus prevents egg formulation.
birth control

(Source: Wikipedia)

Surgical Methods

Surgical Operation is one of the accurate methods to avoid pregnancy because this method renders both men and women (whoever is undergoing the procedure) infertile. In case of women, the surgical procedure refers to as Tubal Ligation. In case of men, the process is known as Vasectomy.

  • Tubal Ligation: This surgical procedure involves the sealing or cutting of the fallopian tube. Therefore, the eggs will not reach the uterus thus avoiding the chances of pregnancy entirely.
  • Vasectomy: In this method, the vas deferens cut and sealed so that the sperms are unable to get into the ejaculation stream.


Amniocentesis or Amniotic Fluid Test is a prenatal diagnostic medical procedure. This test helps in the determination of genetic arrangement by studying the chromosomal pattern of the cells. The amniotic fluid is taken out from a pregnant woman’s uterus to conduct this procedure.

Amniotic fluid envelopes the developing fetus in the womb of the mother and it contains fetal cells and waste from the fetus. Hence, this fluid helps in the mapping of prenatal diagrams for the determination of genetic disorders, chromosomal abnormalities, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and anaemia.

The test is conducted between 14-16 weeks of pregnancy. The fluid can also be tested in the 11 to 13 weeks of pregnancy. However, this test is often misused to determine the sex of a fetus in India. If the test results indicate the fetus to be a female, then it leads to female foeticide in India.

The Actual Purpose of Amniocentesis

  • To help in getting timely medical treatment of a child before or after birth
  • In case of abnormalities, the test gives the parents an opportunity to abort the fetus.
  • It also helps the soon to be parents to prepare economically, psychologically, socially and medically in case of any health problem in the fetus.

Solved Question for You

Question: The percentage ratio of natality over mortality is

  1. Population Density
  2. Vital Index
  3. Total Count
  4. All of the above

Solution: Option 2. The percentage ratio of natality over mortality is Vital Index.

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