Contraception

Updated: Apr 27


Contraception Methods

Let's talk contraception! Everyone knows there is methods for both males and females to prevent pregnancy, but do you know all the methods, their effectiveness and how they work? We also share with you the methods that are safe while breastfeeding. Please remember all method statistics are based on the recommended use.


Combined Pill

The Pill

Effectiveness: 91%

Regimen: Daily

Pro's:

- Highly effective when used as directed

- It’s easy to use

- It permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex

- Some pills may reduce heavy and painful periods

- Some pills may have a positive effect on acne

- Can be taken over a long period of time

Con's:

-It may cause some women to experience headaches and mood swings

- It requires keeping track of the number of days taken

- It may cause breast tenderness, nausea, headache, weight gain

- It may cause changes in your menstruation cycle

- It is not common, but some women who take the pill develop high blood pressure

- It is rare, but some women will have blood clots, heart attacks and strokes

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Taken at the same time every day, the combined pill stops the ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens cervical mucous to prevent sperm from entering the uterus.



Mini Pill

The Mini Pill - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 91%

Regimen: Daily

Pro's:

- Highly effective when used as directed

- It’s easy to use

- It permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex

- Some pills may reduce heavy and painful periods

- Some pills may have a positive effect on acne

- Can be taken over a long period of time

- Breastfeeding safe

Con's:

-It may cause some women to experience headaches and mood swings

- It requires keeping track of the number of days taken

- It may cause breast tenderness, nausea, headache, weight gain

- It may cause changes in your menstruation cycle

- It is not common, but some women who take the pill develop high blood pressure

- It is rare, but some women will have blood clots, heart attacks and strokes

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Taken at the same time every day, the combined pill stops the ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens cervical mucous to prevent sperm from entering the uterus.



IUD (Mirena)

Intrauterine System (mirena) - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 99%

Regimen: 3-5 years

Pro's:

- It can stay in place for either 3 or 5 years (depending on the type) but can be removed any time.

- It doesn’t interrupt sex

- Heavy periods can become lighter and less painful

- Some women may have shorter lighter or less frequent periods, which reduces the chances of becoming anaemic

-Suitable for women who want long-acting reversible contraception for up to 3 or 5 years and wish to avoid daily, weekly or monthly regimens

- It can be used when breastfeeding

- Fertility returns to its previous level once the IUS is removed

Con's:

- It requires a trained healthcare provider for insertion and removal

- Irregular bleeding and spotting can be common in the first 6 months of use

- Some women experience headaches, tenderness and acne after an IUS is fitted

- It may cause cramps and/or irregular bleeding

- Small risk of infection at insertion and removal

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Releases low doses of progestin into the womb. Thickens cervical mucous to prevent sperm from entering the uterus and thins the uterine walls.



Male Condom

Male Condom - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 82%

Regimen: Every time

Pro's:

- It can be used on demand

- It can be easily carried with you

- It isn’t affected by other medications

- It can be used when breastfeeding

- Hormone free

- It’s easy to use

- It protects against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Con's:

- It interrupts sex

- It can tear or come off during sex if not used properly

- Some people are allergic to latex condoms

- It may lead to irritation or allergic reactions (if you are allergic to latex, you can try condoms made of polyurethane)

How does it work?

Placed over the entire penis there is a reservoir at the tip that catches sperm preventing it from entering the vagina or uterus.



Contraceptive Patch

Contraceptive Patch

Effectiveness: 91%

Regimen: Weekly

Pro's:

- It's easy to put on and to remove

- It doesn't require daily attention

- It permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex

- You don’t have to remember to take it every day


Con's:

- It's visible and may come loose or fall off

- It requires keeping track of the number of weeks used

- It may cause some itching and redness at the application site

- It may cause some people to suffer headaches and mood swings

- It may cause headache, weight gain

- It may cause disrupted periods

- It is rare, but some women may suffer blood clots, heart attacks and strokes

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Continuous release of hormones through the skin preventing ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens cervical mucous preventing sperm from entering the uterus.



NuvaRing

Contraceptive Ring (NuvaRing)

Effectiveness: 91%

Regimen: Monthly

Pro's:

- It's easy to insert and remove

- It doesn't require daily attention

- It permits sexual spontaneity and doesn't interrupt sex

Con's:

- It requires keeping track of the number of weeks inserted

- It may cause vaginal discharge, discomfort in the vagina and irritation

- It may cause some people to suffer headaches and mood swings

- It may disrupt periods

- It may cause weight gain

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Releases hormones at the cervix to stop ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens cervical mucous. Stays in place for 3 weeks with a 1-week break before a new one is inserted.



Implanon/Nexplanon

Contraceptive Implant (implanon) - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 99%

Regimen: 3-5 years

Pro's:

- Suitable for women who want long-acting reversible contraception for up to 3 or 5 years and wish to avoid daily, weekly or monthly regimen

- It doesn’t interrupt sex

- It can offer an alternative to those affected by the hormone estrogen

- It can be used when breastfeeding six weeks after childbirth

- It may reduce heavy and painful periods for some women

Con's:

- It requires a trained healthcare provider for insertion and removal

- It may initially cause a change in bleeding patterns

- It may cause weight gain, breast and abdominal pain

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Placed in the skin of the upper arm it releases hormones constantly preventing ovaries from releasing eggs and thickening cervical mucous.



Depo Prevara

Contraceptive Injection (depo) - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 94%

Regimen: 1-3 months

Pro's:

- It lasts for 1 up to 3 months

- It permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex

- It doesn't require daily or weekly attention

- It can offer an alternative to those affected by the hormone estrogen

- It can be used when breastfeeding

- It may reduce heavy and painful periods for some women

Con's:

- It requires keeping track of the number of months used

- It may cause some people to suffer headaches and mood swings

- It may cause headache, weight gain, abdominal discomfort

- It may take up to one year for your period and fertility to return after stopping injection

- It may cause disrupted periods

- You may lose bone density if you get the shot for more than 2 years in a row

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Single hormone injection prevents ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens cervical mucous.



IUD (copper)

Intrauterine Device (copper IUD) - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 99%

Regimen: 5-10 years

Pro's:

- It can stay in place for up to 5 or 10 years (depending on the type), but can be removed any time

- Suitable for women who want long-acting reversible contraception for up to 5 or 10 years and wish to avoid daily, weekly or monthly regimen

- It doesn’t interrupt sex

- It isn’t affected by other medications

- It can also be used as emergency contraception, if inserted within five days after unprotected sex

- It can offer an alternative to those affected by the hormone estrogen

- It can be used when breastfeeding

- Fertility returns to previous levels once the IUD is removed

Con's:

- It requires a trained healthcare provider for insertion and removal

- It may cause cramps and/or irregular bleeding

- Some women experience headaches, tenderness and acne after an IUD is fitted

- Small risk of infection at insertion and of expulsion

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Copper ions are release immobilizing sperm. In the event of egg fertilization, the copper ions prevent the egg from implanting in the uterine wall.



Female Condom

Female Condom - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 79%

Regimen: Every time

Pro's:

- It can be used on demand

- It can easily carried with you

- It isn’t affected by other medications

- It can be used when breastfeeding

- Hormone free

- It protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Con's:

- It interrupts sex

- Using it can take practice

- Not as effective as male condoms

- It can tear if not used properly

- It may lead to irritation or allergic reactions

How does it work?

Placed inside the vagina, it catches sperm preventing it from entering the vagina or uterus.



Diaphragm

Diaphragm - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 88%

Regimen: 24 hours max

Pro's:

- It can be used on demand

- It can easily be carried with you

- It isn’t affected by other medications

- It can be used when breastfeeding

- Hormone free

Con's:

- Using it can take practice

- It requires keeping track of the hours inserted

- Not always suitable for women who have given birth

- Needs spermicide to be fully effective

- It can interfere with spontaneity

- It requires initial fitting by healthcare provider

- It may cause irritation, allergic reactions, and urinary tract infection

- If you keep it in place longer than 24 hours, there is a risk of toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock is a rare but serious infection

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Placed inside the vagina, with the combination of spermicide it acts as a barrier surrounding the cervix preventing sperm from entering the uterus.



Rhythm Tracking

Fertility Awareness - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 76%

Regimen: Daily

Pro's:

- It can be used when breastfeeding

- It’s hormone free

- If you want to get pregnant, it can help you to know on which days you should have sex

Con's:

- Using it can take practice

- It requires keeping track of your menstruation cycle all the time

- It requires a very regular lifestyle

- It’s open to mistakes

- It can interfere with spontaneity

- It’s unreliable as it does not take variations in your cycle into account

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Tracking your menstrual cycle, your basal body temperature, your cervical mucous and many other factors is a good way to know when your body is fertile or ovulating. By avoiding sex during fertile periods, you avoid conceiving however it is not an exact science and the slightest upset in routine or your body could change your cycle.


Cervical Cap

Cervical Cap - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 84%

Regimen: 48 hours max

Pro's:

- It can be used on demand

- They are easily carried with you

- It isn’t affected by other medications

- It can be used when breastfeeding

- Hormone free

Con's:

- It can interfere with sexual spontaneity

- Using it can take practice

- It requires keeping track of the hours inserted

- Not always suitable for women who have given birth

- Requires initial fitting by healthcare provider

- Effectiveness increases when used in combination with spermicides

- Low efficacy even when used as directed

- The cap may cause irritation or allergic reactions

- If you keep it in place longer than 48 hours, there is a risk of toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock is a rare but serious infection

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Inserted into the vagina it creates a plug around the cervix preventing sperm from entering the vagina. For maximum protection the cervical cap should be used with spermicide.



Sponge

Sponge - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 76%

Regimen: 30 hours max

Pro's:

- It can be used on demand

- They are easily carried with you

- It isn’t affected by other medications

- It can be used when breastfeeding

- Hormone free

Con's:

- It can interfere with sexual spontaneity

- Using it can take practice

- It requires keeping track of the hours inserted

- Some women may have a hard time taking the sponge out.

- Not always suitable for women who have given birth

- It may cause irritation or allergic reactions

- If you keep it in place longer than 24-30 hours, there is a risk of toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock is a rare but serious infection.

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Inserted into the vagina against the cervix it releases a constant amount of spermicide.



Spermicide

Spermicide

Effectiveness: 72%

Regimen: Every time

Pro's:

- It can be used on demand

- They are easily carried with you

- Hormone free

Con's:

- It requires keeping track of the hours inserted

- It may cause some irritation, allergic reactions, urinary tract infection

- If you are also using a medicine for a vaginal yeast infection, the spermicide might not work as well

- Should not be used as a contraceptive on its own as it is not effective

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

Spermicides are ineffective on their own but when used in combination with other contraceptives they help immobilize sperm.



Pull-Out Method

Withdrawal Method - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 78%

Regimen: Every time

Pro's:

- It isn’t affected by other medications

- It can be used when breastfeeding

- Hormone free

Con's:

- Unreliable

- Interrupts sex

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

The man removes his penis from the vagina before reaching climax preventing the sperm from entering the vagina or uterus. The downside to this method is not all sperm are released at climax meaning pregnancy can still occur.



Steralization

Sterilization - Breastfeeding Safe

Effectiveness: 99%

Regimen: Forever

Pro's:

- It lasts forever

- Highly effective

- It doesn’t interrupt sex

- It isn’t affected by other medications

- Suitable for everyone who never wants to have a child (or does not want any more children) and wants a permanent contraceptive option

- Hormone free

Con's:

- It lasts forever

- It may cause pain, bleeding, infection or other complications after surgery

- It may cause tubal pregnancy

- You may need general anaesthesia

- Rarely, there can be a failure in which the Fallopian tubes reopen, or closure is incomplete

- Sterilization is sometimes reversible, although the procedure is complicated and rarely successful

- It requires a healthcare provider to do it

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

In Females - the fallopian tubes are cut, tied or clamped through surgery or coils inserted into the fallopian tubes causing scar tissue to grow and block the tubes preventing sperm from reaching the egg.

In Males - the sperm carrying ducts are cut or tied preventing sperm from being present during ejaculation



Morning After Pill/Emergency Contraceptive

Emergency Contraceptives

Effectiveness: 58%

Regimen: On Time

Pro's:

- It helps prevent pregnancy after birth control failure or unprotected sex

- Most effective only when used within 12 hours after unprotected sex

Con's:

- It contains a high dose of hormones in one pill

- Using it repeatedly can interrupt the natural menstrual cycle

- It may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, menstrual pain, tiredness, dizziness, fatigue

- Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How does it work?

It can delay the release of eggs preventing fertilization as well as changing the uterine lining to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting.

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