Whether you’re interested in family planning or simply want to practice safer sex, contraception advice can be very useful.
Of course, there are many different types of contraception and you need to decide which method is most suitable for you. A doctor will be able to talk you through your options and address any worries you might have.
What Sort Of Contraception Is Right For You?
Contraception can prevent pregnancies and guard against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). There are many forms of contraception that will stop you or your partner from getting pregnant, both don’t offer any protection against STIs, so it’s important to check that you’re using a suitable method.
Commonly-used options include:
One of the best and most widely-used ways to protect you and your partner from STIs and unwanted pregnancies. They are available in both male and female varieties.
If your primary goal is to prevent unwanted pregnancy, the contraceptive pill has been shown to be over 99 percent effective for women.
There are several different kinds of contraceptive pills, so even if you’ve tried one variety and experienced side effects, other types may be more suitable.
A record of your most recent height, weight and blood pressure from the last 6 months will be needed before a contraceptive pill can be prescribed. Your blood pressure can be checked using home devices, booking in to see your practice nurse or healthcare assistant, or by using an automatic blood pressure machine, available in gyms and some GP waiting rooms.
A matchstick-sized flexible rod placed into the upper arm. just below the skin, lasting for three years.
The contraceptive implant is completely reversible, capable of being taken out at any point during the three years. It works by steadily releasing progestogen, a hormone that prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg each month, and then both thickens cervical mucus and thins the lining of the uterus to reduce the chance of an egg being fertilized.
This is stuck to the upper arm, allowing the body to absorb the necessary chemicals through the skin. Each patch lasts for one week.
When applied correctly, the contraceptive patch is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy – releasing a daily dose of oestrogen and progestogen hormones into the bloodstream through the skin to prevent the release of eggs each month.
A soft, plastic ring placed inside the vagina that releases a continuous dose of oestrogen and progestogen hormones into the bloodstream, preventing the monthly release of eggs.
The contraceptive ring provides contraception for a month, and when used correctly, is 99% effective.
Contraceptive Cap or Diaphragm
This is inserted into the vagina before sex and must not be removed until six hours afterwards. While it offers 92-96 per cent effectiveness against unwanted pregnancies, neither the cap nor diaphragm offer protection against STIs.
Works in a similar way to the cap and diaphragm and can be effective for five to 10 years.
Each of these methods has its advantages and its downsides (e.g. some require a lot of forward planning to prepare correctly). Some of them can also cause side effects, which you should make sure you fully understand before proceeding.
There are two types of emergency contraception that you're able to get if you've had unprotected sex. The morning after pill can be taken within three or five days, depending on what type you're prescribed. But the sooner you take either pill, the more effective it will be.
You're also able to get the IUD coil fitted at a clinic. This can be done up to five days after you last had unprotected sex. The IUD can be left in, and used as your regular contraceptive solution. Our GPs will be able to tell you more about this.
If, for any reason, you decide you don’t wish to have any (or any more) children, there are methods of permanent contraception available, such as sterilisation. This is naturally a very big, life-changing decision and is certainly not an option you should take lightly.
Talking things through with a doctor can help you gain some perspective on just how important this decision is. If you decide to proceed, a doctor can also provide helpful advice as to your potential options.