Forms of contraception

When it comes to contraception, many people only think of male condoms or the contraceptive pill. While these forms of contraception may be working for you, it’s important to consider all your options.

Contraception Consultations

We offer personalised and friendly consultations covering all forms of contraception with you. We understand that it can be a minefield and we are here to really take the time to consider your worries and apprehension as well as your medical history.

Each person will have a different experience with each method of contraception, so you may have to try a few before you find one which works for you.

Women have about 40 years of fertility to look after during the course of their lifetimes, so it’s very likely that they will change contraception methods along the way.

Find out more about our fees

8 methods of contraception the pros and cons

Icon of a male condom

Male Condoms

98% if used correctly

PROS

CONS

  • Only used when having sex
  • No serious health risks
  • Easily available/free in some areas
  • They protect both partners from STIs including HIV

  • Risk of splitting or slipping off
  • May cause irritation due to material used

Icon of female condom

Female Condoms

95% effective

PROS

CONS

  • Only used when having sex
  • No serious health risks
  • Risk of penis not inserting fully into the condom
  • Risk of condom splitting, slipping off or being pushed into the vagina

Icon of copper coil

IUD (the copper coil)

  < 99% effective

PROS

CONS

  • No hormones
  • Works instantly
  • Can last up to 10 years (dependent on IUD type)
  • Instant return to original fertility level when removed
  • Can be used during breastfeeding
  • IUD fitting requires an internal examination to check suitability
  • Periods may be heavier/irregular in the first 6 months
  • Small risk of infection after fitting
  • Small risk of the IUD moving
  • Does not protect against STIs

Icon of needle for contraception injection

Contraceptive Injection

  < 99% effective

PROS

CONS

  • Progesterone only
  • Can be used during breastfeeding
  • Lasts 8 – 12 weeks depending on the brand (Depo-Provera lasts 12 weeks)
  • Can reduce painful periods 
  • Offers some protection from pelvic inflammatory disease and may also give some protection against cancer of the womb
  • Can’t be removed from the body once it has been injectedWeight gain for some women
  • Weight gain for some women
  • Periods and fertility may take time to return after stopping it
  • Does not protect against STIs

Icon of the contraceptive implant

Contraceptive Implant

 < 99% effective

PROS

CONS

  • Progesterone only
  • Lasts for three years
  • Can be taken out sooner
  • Fertility returns to normal once removed
  • Can be used during breastfeeding
  • Can’t be seen
  • Can be ‘felt’ in the arm
  • May increase chances of acne in some women
  • Does not protect against STIs

Icon of IUS hormonal

IUS Intrauterine system

< 99% effective

PROS

CONS

  • Progesterone Only
  • Works for 5 years (Mirena) or 3 years (Jaydess)
  • Can be taken out sooner
  • Can be used for women who cannot use combined contraception (for example migraine sufferers)
  • Can make periods lighter and shorter or stop altogether
  • Hormones are localised, and only small amounts enter your body 
  • Can cause irregular bleeding or spotting for the first six monthsSmall chance of getting an infection in the first 20 days after insertion
  • Small chance of getting an infection in the first 20 days after insertion
  • Does not protect against STIs

Icon of contraceptive patch

Contraceptive Patch

 <99% effective

PROS

CONS

  • You don’t have to think about it every day
  • It can make periods lighter and more regular
  • It can improve acne for some women
  • It is not suitable for very overweight women or smokers over 35-years-old
  • It has a low risk of serious side-effects such as blood clots, breast and cervical cancer
  • It can cause temporary side-effects such as headaches, nausea, mood changes and breast tenderness
  • Does not protect against STIs

Icon of vaginal ring for contraception

Vaginal rings

The contraceptive vaginal ring is a small plastic ring a woman inserts into her vagina every month and releases hormones to stop ovulation.

 

< 99% effective

(if used correctly but 91% for the average woman)

PROS

CONS

  • Used for 3 weeks out of 4
  • The ring is still effective if you have vomiting or diarrhoea (unlike the contraceptive pill)
  • May ease premenstrual symptoms and bleeding
  • Side effects can include vaginal discharge, breast tenderness and headaches
  • Can come out of its own
  • Does not protect against STIs

Personalised Contraception Consultations

We offer specifically designed contraception consultations to help you assess which contraception method might be right for you.

View our contraception consultation fees.  

Can't find what you're looking for?
Looking for a list of our trusted support agencies?