Choosing the Right Contraception For You

 

When it comes to choosing a form of contraception the choices available can be a little overwhelming. While historically we were fairly limited by what was available, there are now several options available to couples. All have their own benefits and drawbacks, and it’s often a case of trial and error to find which works best with your body.

While condoms are always recommended for safe sex (particularly with a new partner), those looking to avoid pregnancy have various other options available. Here we’ll take a look at some of the most common contraceptive methods and the pros and cons of each.

The Pill

A popular method of contraception, the contraceptive pill uses a combination of hormones to stop your ovaries releasing an egg. The pill is only available if prescribed by a doctor, and must be taken at the same time each day.

Pros

If taken correctly, it can be up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Some versions of the pill can even make your period lighter or reduce menstrual cramps. Popular pills include Microgynon and Cilest, but it’s important to find what works best for you as everyone reacts differently to the pill.

Cons

Forget to take the pill at the right time and you risk getting pregnant as the pill becomes less effective the longer you leave it. There can sometimes be side effects such as bleeding between periods, nausea/vomiting, weight gain and reduced sex drive. The more popular ‘combined’ pill (eg. Microgynon) is not suitable for some people, for example smokers or those with high blood pressure who may need to take a pill that contains lower levels of oestrogen.

The Implant

The contraceptive implant is inserted by a medical professional into the skin of your upper arm. Much like the pill, it thickens the cervical mucus and releases hormones into your body to prevent your ovaries from producing eggs.

Pros

Once inserted, it lasts up to three years and is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. It can help to reduce menstrual cramps and heavy flow.

Cons

While they are less common, there is still the risk of side effects commonly associated with the pill, such as nausea, weight gain and changes in sex drive.

Contraceptive Injection

Administered by a professional healthcare provider, the injection is carried out every 3 months and contains hormones that thicken the cervical mucus and thin the lining of the womb to try and prevent eggs being released.

Pros

Unlike the pill, you do not need to remember to take something every day and it is over 99% effective. Due to the lack of oestrogen, it is often suitable for those unable to take the combined pill.

Cons

You have to go to the doctor every 3 months as this isn’t something you can do at home. Likewise, this obviously isn’t a great option if you’re scared of needles! Despite the lack of oestrogen, there can still be side effects similar to those with the pill.

The IUD (or Coil)

The IUD (Intra-Uterine Device) is a small t-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus by a medical practitioner. The length of time you can have the IUD varies but can be up to 12 years depending on the type you choose. It works by preventing sperm from surviving in the womb.

Pros

The IUD can be a longer-lasting solution and, once inserted, there is nothing more you need to do. Some IUDs (the longer-lasting type) can be completely hormone-free so may be suitable for people who react badly to certain hormones or who have existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure. It is usually over 99% effective.

Cons

Not everyone will feel comfortable with having something inserted into the uterus and the process can be a bit uncomfortable at first.