Contraception is used to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Some of the things you might want to think about when choosing your contraception are:
- How contraception will suit your lifestyle.
- Whether you want to use the method every day, every time you have sex or less often.
- Whether you want to become pregnant soon, many years away or not at all.
There are several different types of contraception that can prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Condoms are available FREE from our drop-in centres.
If you are using the pill or injection and are happy with these methods, you can see your GP for repeat supplies.
There are methods you can use which are long lasting, these are called LARC (Long-acting reversible contraception). These are marked with a star in the list below.
Benefits of using the LARC method
The following contraceptives are widely available:
An Intrauterine device (IUD) is a small plastic and copper device that is put into your uterus (womb). It has one or two threads on the end. These thin threads hang through the opening at the entrance of your uterus (cervix) into the top of your vagina. There are different types and sizes of IUD to suit different women. An IUD can stay in for 5–10 years, depending on the type. It should only be fitted by a trained doctor or nurse. An IUD is sometimes called a coil.
An Intrauterine system (IUS) is a small T-shaped plastic device that is put into your uterus (womb) and releases a progestogen hormone. This is similar to the natural progesterone that women produce in their ovaries. The IUS has two threads at one end which hang through the opening at the entrance of your uterus (the cervix) into the top of your vagina.
There are two types of IUS – Jaydess and Mirena. Jaydess is smaller than Mirena and has a lower dose of progestogen. It works for up to three years. Mirena works for up to five years.
The combined pill is usually just called the pill. It contains two hormones – estrogen and progestogen. These are similar to the natural hormones produced by the ovaries.
There are a number of different combined pills. Come and speak to us about which type of pill would best suit your needs.
Progestogen only pill
The progestogen-only pill (POP) contains a progestogen hormone which is similar to the natural progesterone women produce in their ovaries.
POPs contain different types of progestogens and are different to combined pills because they do not contain any estrogen.
An implant is a small flexible rod that is placed just under your skin in your upper arm. It releases a progestogen hormone similar to the natural progesterone that women produce in their ovaries and works for up to three years.
Contraceptive injections contain a progestogen hormone which is similar to the natural progesterone produced by the ovaries.
There are three types of injection. DepoProvera and Sayana Press protect you from pregnancy for 13 weeks. Noristerat protects you for eight weeks; it’s not commonly used in the UK.
Male and female condoms
Male and female condoms are barrier methods of contraception. They stop sperm meeting an egg.
A male condom fits over a man’s erect penis and is made of very thin latex (rubber), polyurethane (plastic) or polyisoprene.
A female condom is made of polyurethane or nitrile polymer (synthetic rubber). It is put in the vagina and loosely lines it.
Condoms are available FREE from our drop-in centres, or you can buy them from most supermarkets and pharmacies.
Diaphragm or cap
Diaphragms and caps are barrier methods of contraception. They fit inside your vagina and cover your cervix (entrance to the uterus – womb).
They come in different shapes and sizes. Vaginal diaphragms are circular domes made of thin, soft latex (rubber) or silicone with a flexible rim. Cervical caps are smaller and are made of latex or silicone.
To be effective, diaphragms and caps should be used with a spermicide. Spermicides are chemicals that kill sperm.
The contraceptive vaginal ring is a flexible, transparent plastic ring. It’s placed in the vagina where it releases two hormones – estrogen and progestogen. These are similar to the natural hormones produced by the ovaries and are like those used in the combined pill.
* If you would like your coil changed or removed it is important you don’t have sex or use an additional method of contraception 7 days before your procedure otherwise you will be at risk of unplanned pregnancy.