There are a variety of effective methods that can be used for avoiding pregnancy. Completely abstaining from sex is the most effective solution, though this is not necessarily a realistic option for everyone. One way to avoid pregnancy is by understanding the body's signals that ovulation is occurring, which can allow a woman to avoid sexual intercourse at the times when she can become pregnant. Choosing a good form of contraception and using it consistently is also an effective way to keep from conceiving. Options such as tubal ligation or vasectomy may also be right for some people, but do require surgery and can involve some risk.
Sexual abstinence is perhaps the simplest and most certain way of avoiding pregnancy. Without the presence of sperm to fertilize an egg, a woman cannot become pregnant. While actual sexual intercourse is the most important type of contact to avoid, there is also the possibility of becoming pregnant just from genital contact, so women trying not to get pregnant should avoid this as well.
There are several physical changes that occur in a woman's body at the time of ovulation; knowing and being aware of those changes is another effective way of avoiding pregnancy. Many women have fairly regular monthly cycles and so can typically estimate when ovulation will happen. As it approaches, the woman's basal body temperature will increase, her cervical position will change, and the appearance and texture of her cervical mucous will change. Some other, though somewhat less certain, signs include breast tenderness, mild abdominal pains, and increased interest in sexual activity. Women who are cognizant of these signs of ovulation can either avoid sexual intercourse during this time or use additional contraception to keep from getting pregnant.
Choosing an effective contraceptive method is a good option for avoiding pregnancy for many people. There are numerous options available, each with varying degrees of effectiveness and each with pros and cons. It is important to choose the method that best suits one's needs, and to also use it consistently, to best stop pregnancy from occurring. Some popular contraceptive options include condoms, birth control pills, and diaphragms.
For some, surgical sterilization may be a viable option for avoiding pregnancy. Women may choose to have a tubal ligation, where the fallopian tubes are closed off or severed to keep sperm from reaching eggs released from the ovaries. A vasectomy, in which the vas deferens is severed or sealed, stops a man's sperm from being released during ejaculation.