CONTRACEPTION AT A GLANCE
- Different methods suit different people according to their age, life stage, finances and personality.2
- With 15 methods to choose from, you can find one that suits you best.3
WHAT IS IT?
What Is Contraception?
Contraception aims to prevent pregnancy. A woman can get pregnant if a man's sperm reaches one of her eggs (ova).3
Contraception tries to stop this happening by:
keeping the egg and sperm apart, stopping egg production, stopping the combined sperm and egg (fertilized egg) attaching to the lining of the womb.3
With different methods to choose from, you can find one that suits you best.3
WHAT DO I DO IF…
THE CONDOM BROKE
I FORGOT MY PILL
WE HAD UNPROTECTED SEX
DON’T MYTH WITH ME
Can I use an IUS if I haven’t already had children?
Of course you can. You shouldn’t get an Intrauterine System (IUS) if you’re trying to get pregnant, otherwise it’s a suitable form of contraception for anybody to consider using.
Will taking the pill make me gain weight?
Taking the pill does not have a noticeable long-term effect on body weight. Some women experience small changes in weight after starting the pill, but this is not proven in clinical studies looking at its long-term effect on body weight. If you're concerned talk to your healthcare provider about your options.
Do I need to use contraception if I’m breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding can prevent pregnancy for up to six months if periods have not resumed and the baby is solely breastfed frequently day and night. This doesn’t make pregnancy impossible though and as soon as any one of this criteria is not met, you can become pregnant again.
Will being on the pill for a long time affect my fertility later on in life?
It’s actually possible to get pregnant as soon as you stop taking the pill so no, taking the pill long-term will not affect your fertility.
Can I get pregnant if I’m on my period?
Expert opinion says yes, you can get pregnant while menstruating. The fact that there are a number of stages of a period and that sperm can survive inside a woman`s uterus for up to six days means you should always protect yourself if you don’t want to get pregnant.
Can the IUS move about inside me and cause problems?
The Intrauterine System (IUS) is an effective method that is inserted by a well-trained healthcare provider and it stays in place for up to 3 or 5 years. The risk of uterine perforation is rare (i.e. <1/1000).
Can I get pregnant if I don’t have an orgasm?
The pleasure of sex isn’t connected to the science of sex at all. If you have sex without contraception you can get pregnant, whether you enjoy it or not.
Can taking hormonal contraceptives make me infertile?
Hormonal contraception does not cause infertility. It may take a bit of time for your body to return to a state where you can become pregnant again but this is only temporary. Fertility returns to healthy women to its previous level no matter how long you have taken a hormonal contraceptive method.
Can I reuse a condom?
No, condoms are not coffee cups that you can rinse out and reuse. They might look ok, but they are made of very thin material that deteriorates with use and can split if used more than once. Also the spermicide inside which helps to stop sperm will have gone, so use a new one each time.
Is emergency contraception 100% effective?
No contraceptive is 100% effective. It is most effective when taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex, ideally up to 12 hours after, if it’s taken more than 24 hours later, it’s already much less effective. The more prepared you are before sex, the less likely you’ll be to need emergency contraception at all.
Do I need to give my body a break from taking oral contraceptives?
From a medical point of view, there is absolutely no reason to make a pill break if you tolerate it well. The only reason to take a break from taking the pill is that you want to get pregnant. Other than that, you can stay on your chosen method of contraception for as long as you want.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Many women have heard that it's good to have a break from hormonal contraception. Women might want to check that their periods are still normal, or to give their bodies a rest.4
It does no harm to be on contraception for many years. There is no medical need to have a break from hormones, and it's safe to be on hormonal contraception as long as a woman wants to (unless her health changes).4
Even if hormonal contraception changes the pattern of periods, fertility will come back once contraception is stopped.4
Most combination pills come in 28-day or 21-day packs. Take 1 pill every day for 28 days (four weeks) in a row, and then start a new pack on day 29. The last pills in 28-day do not have hormones in them called "reminder".5
Take 1 pill every day for 21 days (3 weeks) in a row. Then don’t take any pills for seven days (week 4). There is no reminder (hormone-free) pills.5
Progestin-only pills only come in 28-day (4 week) packs. All 28 pills have hormones. You must take every pill in a progestin-only pack to be protected from pregnancy there is no hormone-free week.5
Having an IUS fitted can be uncomfortable, but you can have a local anesthetic to help. Discuss this with a GP or nurse beforehand. Some women experience headaches, acne and breast tenderness after having the IUS fitted. Some women experience changes in mood and libido, but these changes are very small.6
Pulling out is exactly what it sounds like: pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation. If semen (cum) gets in your vagina, you can get pregnant. So, ejaculating away from a vulva or vagina prevents pregnancy. But you have to be sure to pull out before any semen comes out, every single time you have vaginal sex, in order for it to work. The best way to make the pull- out method effective is to use it with another type of birth control.7
If you have taken all pills correctly and have a very light or miss a period, keep taking your pills. If you miss two periods in a row, call the clinic. If you miss any pills and miss a period, call the clinic. You may need a pregnancy test.8
Douching is not an effective method of contraception. After ejaculation, the sperm enter the cervix and are out of reach of any douching solution. Also, douching is not recommended as it can disrupt the delicate bacterial balance of the vagina, causing irritation or infection.9
1-WHO. Family planning/contraception methods. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/family-planning-contraception, Last Accessed : (7/7/20210.
2-Newzeland Family Planning. HOW EFFECTIVE IS YOUR CONTRACEPTION. Available at: https://www.familyplanning.org.nz/news/2014/how-effective-is-your-contraception, Last Accessed : (7/7/2021).
3-NHS. What is contraception?. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/what-is-contraception/, Last Accessed : (7/7/2021).
4-Contraception Choices. Taking a break. Available at: https://www.contraceptionchoices.org/did-you-know/taking-break, Last Accessed : (7/7/2021).
5-Planned Parenthood. How do I use the birth control pill? . Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-pill/how-do-i-use-the-birth-control-pill, Last Accessed : (7/7/2021).
6- NHS. Intrauterine system (IUS). Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/ius-intrauterine-system/, Last Accessed : (7/7/2021).
7-Planned Prenthood. Withdrawal (Pull Out Method). Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/withdrawal-pull-out-method, Last Accessed : (7/7/2021).
8-University of IOWA. Birth control pill fact sheet. Available at: https://uihc.org/health-topics/birth-control-pill-fact-sheet, Last Accessed : (7/7/2021).
9-Clevlandclinic. Contraception Myths. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9137-contraception-myths, Last Accessed : (7/7/2021).