Whether you’re looking for a method you don’t have to worry about remembering every day, are not happy with your current method or are looking to start using contraception for the first time, there’s a wide range available so you can find an option that fits with your body, sex life, health and lifestyle.

Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)

These contraceptives can offer you protection from pregnancy from 2 months to up to 10 years, depending on the type of LARC. If you don’t have any plans to have a baby in the near future, one of these might be the option for you.

This is an online guide for women who are seeking information regarding their contraceptive choices. It is not a replacement for the prescribing information leaflet included with your contraceptive medication. Please adhere to the prescribing information and direct any questions to your doctor.
Apart from condoms, all of the contraceptive methods below will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use a condom as well to help protect you against most STIs.

IUD or coil (intrauterine device)

Fitted into the womb – lasts for 5 or 10 years depending on the type

Does not contain hormones so does not interact with other medication

Advantages

Drawbacks

Typical and perfect use effectiveness: over 99%*

For women who want longer-term contraception but do not want to take hormones

Fertility should return to levels expected for you after removal

Women may have changes In menstrual patterns (periods)

Insertion and removal must be performed by trained healthcare professionals

The IUD
Contraceptive implant

Fitted just under the skin in the upper arm – lasts for up to 3 years

Contains progestogen

Advantages

Drawbacks

Typical and perfect use effectiveness: over 99%*

Fertility should return to levels expected for you after removal

Women may have changes in menstrual patterns (periods)

Insertion and removal must be performed by trained healthcare professionals

The Implant
IUS (intrauterine system)

Fitted into the womb – lasts for 3 or 5 years depending on the type

Contains progestogen

Advantages

Drawbacks

Typical and perfect use effectiveness: over 99%*

Fertility should return to levels expected for you after removal

Women may have changes in menstrual patterns (periods)

Insertion and removal must be performed by trained healthcare professionals

The IUS
Contraceptive injection

Injected into the buttocks, arm, leg or abdomen every 8 to 13 weeks, depending on the type

Contains progestogen

Advantages

Drawbacks

Typical effectiveness: around 94%; Perfect use effectiveness: over 99%*

Short-term LARC for women and couples awaiting sterilisation or vasectomy

Women may have changes in menstrual patterns (periods)

Can take some time for fertility to return to normal

The Injection

Monthly

If you don't like the idea of taking a pill every day and don't want a long-acting method, then the contraceptive ring may be for you.

This is an online guide for women who are seeking information regarding their contraceptive choices. It is not a replacement for the prescribing information leaflet included with your contraceptive medication. Please adhere to the prescribing information and direct any questions to your doctor.
Apart from condoms, all of the contraceptive methods below will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use a condom as well to help protect you against most STIs.

Vaginal ring

Flexible ring which is placed inside the vagina

Contains oestrogen and progestogen

Advantages

Drawbacks

Typical effectiveness: 91%; Perfect use effectiveness: 99%*

Only needs to be replaced once a month (one week following removal)

Not affected by vomiting and diarrhoea

Need to learn how to insert, a doctor or nurse can show you how to put it in

Oestrogen component may not be suitable for some women depending on medical history

Vaginal ring

Weekly

If a weekly option sounds appealing then the contraceptive patch may be an option for you.

This is an online guide for women who are seeking information regarding their contraceptive choices. It is not a replacement for the prescribing information leaflet included with your contraceptive medication. Please adhere to the prescribing information and direct any questions to your doctor.
Apart from condoms, all of the contraceptive methods below will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use a condom as well to help protect you against most STIs.

Patch

A small patch stuck onto the skin that releases hormones

Contains oestrogen and progestogen

Advantages

Drawbacks

Typical effectiveness: 91%; Perfect use effectiveness: 99%*

Applied once a week for 3 weeks each month

Not affected by vomiting and diarrhoea

May be seen on the skin

Oestrogen component may not be suitable for some women depending on medical history

The Patch

Daily

The pill has been around for more than 50 years and there are two main types; the combined pill and the progestogen only pill. The clue about the difference between the two is all in the name; the combined pill contains both progestogen and oestrogen whilst the progestogen only pill contains only progestogen.

This is an online guide for women who are seeking information regarding their contraceptive choices. It is not a replacement for the prescribing information leaflet included with your contraceptive medication. Please adhere to the prescribing information and direct any questions to your doctor.
Apart from condoms, all of the contraceptive methods below will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use a condom as well to help protect you against most STIs.

Combined pills (COC)

Taken orally

Contains oestrogen and progestogen

(Many types available containing different combination of oestrogen and progestogen in different dosing schedules)

Advantages

Drawbacks

Typical effectiveness: 91%; Perfect use effectiveness: 99%*

For women who do not want a long term contraceptive method and are able to comply with the daily medicine schedule

Often reduces bleeding and period pain, and may help with premenstrual symptoms

Oestrogen component may not be suitable for some women depending on medical history

May not be suitable for women who could forget to take their pill

Effectiveness can be affected by vomiting or diarrhoea

The Combined Pill
Progestogen-only pills (POP)

Taken orally

Contains only progestogen (Many different types available)

Advantages

Drawbacks

Typical effectiveness: 91%; Perfect use effectiveness: 99%*

May be suitable for women who do not want to or cannot take oestrogen e.g. due to medical history

Women may have changes in menstrual pattern (periods)

Effectiveness can be affected by vomiting or diarrhoea

May not consistently prevent egg release

POP

Other

If none of the above seem right for you, don’t worry, there are more options for you to choose from - barrier methods like the condom or the cap, as well as natural contraceptive methods and also sterilisation. You can also find out about emergency contraception in this section – but do remember that it is only for an emergency and not intended to replace the use of a regular contraceptive choice.

This is an online guide for women who are seeking information regarding their contraceptive choices. It is not a replacement for the prescribing information leaflet included with your contraceptive medication. Please adhere to the prescribing information and direct any questions to your doctor.
Apart from condoms, all of the contraceptive methods below will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use a condom as well to help protect you against most STIs.

Condoms (male and female)

Barrier method that the man or woman can use

Does not contain any hormones

Use is not restricted due to your medical history

Advantages

Drawbacks

Typical effectiveness for male condom: around 82%; Perfect use effectiveness: around 98%*

Typical effectiveness for female condom around 79%; Perfect use effectiveness: around 95%*

May be useful for those who wish to avoid taking hormones or, as additional protection

The only contraceptive that offers protection against many sexually transmitted infections

Putting them on can involve interruption of intercourse

The male condom can split or rupture

The female condom could be accidentally pushed aside

Condoms
Diaphragms & Caps

Barrier method of contraception, that fits inside the vagina

Does not contain hormones

Use is not restricted due to your medical history

Advantages

Drawbacks

Typical effectiveness: 71–88%*

Effective in 92–96% of women when used perfectly and with spermicide

For women who do not want a long term contraceptive method but who wish to avoid taking hormones

Can take time to learn how to use it

Involves forward planning or interruption of intercourse

Can be messy as you need to use spermicide as well

The Cap
Natural methods

Recognising the fertile and infertile times of your cycle to plan when you should avoid intercourse

Does not involve hormones

Advantages

Drawbacks

Typical effectiveness: around 76%*

May be useful for those who wish to avoid devices or hormones

Can be used at all stages of reproductive life

Can take up to 6 months to learn effectively

Stress or illness can make the method unreliable

Need to avoid intercourse at certain times of the month and be highly motivated

Natural Method
Sterilisation (male and female)

The fallopian tubes in women or the tubes carrying sperm in men (vas deferens) are cut, sealed or blocked

Does not involve any hormones

Advantages

Drawbacks

Failure rate is about 1 in 200 or 1 in 500 for females (depending on method) and 1 in 2,000 for males

Maybe suitable for those who want a permanent method of contraception that involves no hormones

Cannot be easily reversed

Involves an operation/procedure

Sterilisation is not effective immediately

Sterilisation

*These are "typical" effectiveness rates which is how effective the method is with an average person. Typical rates tend to reflect real life usage (including inconsistent and incorrect use). "Perfect" effectiveness rates is how effective the method is when used perfectly. Refer to the patient information leaflet for "perfect" use.

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Job code WOMN-1160817-0002 Date of preparation: July 2017