Contraception is the deliberate use of artificial methods or techniques that are designed to prevent pregnancy as a consequence of sexual intercourse. Contraception is also a way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and therefore help you to maintain your sexual health.

When buying contraception it is very important to know about the different types, and also which method will best suit you or your partner. This depends on a variety of factors, including age, medical history, medicines you are taking and whether or not you smoke. So, when choosing the right type of contraception, it is important to consider those things.

Combined Pill

When taken correctly, the pill is over 99& effective at preventing pregnancy. This means that they are one of the most effective types of contraception. You usually take the pill every day for 21 days, and then stop for 7 days, in order to have your monthly period.

You are suppose to take the pill around the same time every day. If you don’t do this you could end up getting pregnant. You may also get pregnant if you miss a pill, vomit or have severe diarrhoea.

Some medicines may make the pill less effective, so if you are about to take something else, make sure you check with your doctor to confirm that it is OK.

Although the pill is incredibly effective, there are some drawbacks. This includes mood swings, nausea, breast tenderness, and headaches.

Diaphragm or Cap

A contraceptive diaphram is a circular dome made of thin, soft silicone, and is designed to be inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse.

It is designed to cover the cervix in order to prevent sperm from entering the womb who fertilise an egg.

When you use a diaphragm correctly they can be between 92 and 96% effective at preventing pregnancy. 

One of the best benefits of using a diaphragm is that there are no serious health risks, and you only have to think about it when you have sex.

Some negatives of a diaphragm is that you can develop cystitis if used incorrectly. They also do not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases.

Female Condoms

Female condoms are made from soft, thin latex, or a synthetic version. They are designed to be worn in the vagina in order to prevent semen from getting in the womb.

When used correctly, these condoms are 95% effective, and they also prevent against STIs.

Female condoms can get pushed into the vagina during sex, if this does happen they are easy to be removed. They are designed to be used once, and should not be reused.


The contraceptive implant is a small and flexible plastic rod that is placed under the upper arm by a doctor. It slowly releases progestogen into your bloodstream in order to prevent pregnancy. The implant usually lasts for around three years.

The implant is more than 99% effective, and once the implant is in you don’t have to worry about contraception for the next three years. This makes it a great product for women who struggle to take the pill daily. 

Another added bonus of the implant is that it can be taken out if you find yourself suffering from side affects. Some of which includes irregular periods, or periods that completely stop. Another negative is that it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections, meaning that your partner should also wear condoms.


The contraceptive injection releases progestogen into your bloodstream in order to prevent pregnancy. The most common injection given in the UK is Depo-Provera and lasts for 13 weeks.

If used correctly, the contraceptive injection is more than 99% effective. It is a useful contraception for women who find it difficult to take a pill everyday. It can also be used by women who can’t use contraception that contains oestrogen.

Side effects of the injection includes weight gain, headaches, mood swings and irregular bleeding. It can also make your periods become irregular, and can take up to one year for your fertility to return to normal.

IUD (coil)

The IUD or Intrauterine device is a small t-shaped plastic and copper device that is designed to be inserted into the uterus by a doctor. They release copper which stop you getting pregnant. They usually last for between 5 to 10 years.

IUDs are more than 99% effective and they start working as soon as they are put in. It can be taken out at any time by a doctor, once removed it is possible to get pregnant straight away.

The IUD can cause your periods to get heavier, longer, and even more painful for the first 3 to 6 months after it is inserted. You may also get slight bleeding or spotting between periods.

Unfortunately, there is a small risk that you may get an infection after it is put in. They are also very uncomfortable to put in.

IUS (hormonal coil)

An IUS or Intrauterine system is a small, T-shaped plastic device that a doctor inserts into your womb. It releases progestogen in order to stop you from getting pregnant for between 3 to 5 years.

This device is 99% effective and it can be taken out any time. It can help to make your periods lighter, shorter or stop altogether. This makes this type of contraception popular by women who have heavy or painful periods.

Some women may experience side effects from the IUS, including mood swings, skin problems and breast tenderness. It can also be uncomfortable when put in.

Male Condoms

Condoms for men are 98% effective, making them a great type of contraception. Whats great about condoms is that you can usually get them free from a lot of sexual health clinics.

When using condoms, make sure that you don’t use oil-based lube and other products as these can damage the product. As such, water-based lubricant is usually recommended with male condoms.

Unfortunately, it is also possible for condoms to fall off or break during sex, if this happens to you then we suggest that you take emergency contraception and also have a sexual health check.

Natural family planning

Natural family planning is where you monitor your fertility signals during her menstrual cycle in order to work out when she is likely to get pregnant. If this is done correctly, and the time of sexual intercourse is timed right then it can be up to 99% effective.

There are no physical side effects, making this a fairly popular method. However, you do have to keep daily records of your fertility signals e.g. your temperature, cervical fluids and more. It can take 3 to 6 months for you to learn your menstrual cycle.

One big negative in our eyes is that if you want to have sex during the time when you get pregnant, you’ll need to use contraception like condoms.


The contraceptive patch is a small sticky patch that slowly releases hormones into your body through the skin. When you use the patch correctly, it is more than 99% effective. Each patch is designed to last one week, and you change the patch every week for three weeks, then have a week off without the patch.

If you have heavy or painful periods then the patch can help.

Wearing the patch can cause your blood pressure to rise, which results in some temporary side effects like headaches. The patch may protect against ovarian, womb and bowel cancer. 

Some women do develop a blood clot when using the patch. The patch also does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

Progestogen-only pill

The progestogen-only pill or POP is designed to prevent pregnancy by thickening the mucus in the cervix in order to stop the sperm reaching the egg. If taken correctly, the POP is more than 99% effective. It is designed to be taken everyday, and cannot get taken if you’re over 35 and you smoke.

You need to take this pill at the same time everyday, if you miss the time slot by over three hours then then it may become ineffective.

Side effects of this pill include spotty skin and breast tenderness, but this should clear up after a couple of months. It also does not prevent you from getting sexually transmitted infections.

Vaginal ring

The vaginal ring or nuva rings is a small soft plastic ring that you place in your vagina. It is designed to release a constant dose of oestrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream in order to prevent pregnancy.

If used correctly the vaginal ring can be more than 99% effective, and one ring provides contraception for a month.

Unlike the pill, the ring works if you have vomiting or diarrhoea. 

Female sterilisation

Female sterilisation is an operation that permanently prevents pregnancy. It is a precess where the fallopian tubes are blocked in order to prevent the eggs from reaching the sperm, meaning they cannot be fertilised.

It is an operation that usually involves general anaesthetic, meaning that you are asleep and won’t feel any pain.

Vasectomy (male sterilisation)

A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that is designed to seal the tubes that carry a man’s sperm in order to prevent pregnancy.

It is an operation that is designed to be carried our under local anaesthetic, and will take around 15 minutes.

If you have any more questions on the different types of contraception then feel free to contact us and one of our sex educators will get back to you as soon as possible.

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