Types of contraception you can use to prevent pregnancy

Getting frisky doesn’t have to be risky business – not when there are many contraception methods out there to suit different needs. Contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy and some types will also protect you from STI’s

On Sunday the 26th of September we celebrated #worldcontraceptionday which carried the theme “Contraception: it’s your life, it’s your responsibility.” In this article, we give you the methods available suitable for your lifestyle as we also look at the pros and cons of each method.

The Condom

This is the only form of contraception that protects against most STIs as well as preventing pregnancy. It can be used on-demand, it is hormone-free and can easily be carried with you. It also is readily available in nearly all shopping outlets and comes in male and female varieties.

Pros include:

  • It’s the best protection against STIs.
  • Can be used on demand; hormone-free.

Cons include:

  • It can tear or come off during sex if not used properly.
  • Some people are allergic to latex condoms.
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The Oral Contraceptive Pill

It’s the little tablet taken once a day. The oral contraceptive pill is perhaps the most used. Some pills contain estrogen and progestin and others contain only progestin.

Pros include:

  • Highly effective when used correctly.
  • Permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex.
  • Some pills may even reduce heavy and painful periods and/or may have a positive effect on acne.

Cons include:

  • Forgetting to take your pill means.
  • It can only be used by women although it’s not suitable for women who can’t take estrogen-containing contraception.
  • It does not protect against STIs.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

This small, T-shaped device is made from a material containing progesterone hormone or plastic and copper and is fitted inside a woman’s uterus by a trained healthcare provider. It’s a long-acting and reversible method of contraception, which can stay in place for three to 10 years, depending on the type.

IUDs containing coppers are 99% effective and the ones containing hormones are 99.8% effective, so you’re about as protected as you can possibly be by a contraceptive method. IUDs offer very effective protection against pregnancy.

Cons include:

  • Irregular bleeding and spotting occurs in the first six months of use.
  • Requires a trained healthcare provider for insertion and removal.
  • Does not protect against STIs.

The Contraceptive Implant

This is a small flexible rod placed under the skin in a woman’s upper arm, releasing a form of the hormone progestin. The hormone stops the ovary from releasing the egg and thickens the cervical mucus making it difficult for the sperm to enter the egg consequently hindering fertilization.. The implant requires a small procedure using local anesthetic to fit and remove the rod and needs to be replaced after three years.

Pros include:

  • Highly effective
  • Doesn’t interrupt sex
  • It’s a long-lasting, reversible contraceptive option.

Cons include:

  • Requires a trained healthcare provider for insertion and removal
  • Sometimes there can be irregular bleeding initially
  • Does not protect against STIs.

The Contraceptive Injection

The injection contains a synthetic version of the hormone progestogen. It is given into a woman’s derrière or the upper arm, and over the next 12 weeks, the hormone is slowly released into your bloodstream.


  • The injection lasts for up to three months;
  • It’s very effective
  • Permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex.


  • The injection may cause disrupted periods or irregular bleeding
  • It requires keeping track of the number of months used
  • It does not protect against STIs.

Emergency Contraception Pill (P2)

It can be used to prevent pregnancy after sex if contraception wasn’t used, a condom was broken during sex, or in the case of a woman being sexually assaulted. It’s sometimes also referred to as the ‘Morning After’ pill, it can actually be effective for up to five days after having unprotected sex. The sooner it is taken, the more effective it is; when taken in the first three days after sex, it prevents about 85% of expected pregnancies.

This pill contains special doses of female hormones. Any woman can take the emergency contraception pill, even those who cannot take other oral contraceptive pills. It can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy or chemist without a prescription.

The common side effects of the emergency contraceptive include nausea, vomiting and the next period may be early or delayed. Emergency contraception does not protect against STIs.

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Contraceptive Ring

This method consists of a flexible plastic ring constantly releasing hormones that is placed in the vagina by the woman. It stays in place for three weeks, and then you remove it, take a week off then pop another one in. The ring releases the hormones estrogen and progestogen. These are the same hormones used in the combined oral contraceptive pill but at a lower dose.

Pros include;

  • You can insert and remove a vaginal ring yourself.
  • This contraceptive method has few side effects, allows control of your periods and allows your fertility to return quickly when the ring is removed.

Cons include;

  • It is not suitable for women who can’t take estrogen-containing contraception.
  • You need to remember to replace it at the right time.
  • Does not protect against STIs.


This is a soft silicone dome placed inside the vagina to stop sperm from entering the uterus. It forms a physical barrier between the man’s sperm and the woman’s egg, like a condom. The diaphragm needs to stay in place for at least six hours after sex. After six – but no longer than 24 hours after sex – it needs to be taken out and cleaned.

Pros: You can use the same diaphragm more than once, and it can last up to two years if you look after it.

Cons: Using a diaphragm can take practice and requires keeping track of the hours inserted. The diaphragm works well, but not as well as the pill, a contraceptive implant or an IUD.


This is the process of completely taking away the body’s ability to reproduce through open or minimal invasion surgery. It is a permanent method of contraception, suitable for people who are sure they never want children or do not want any more children. Sterilization is available for both women and men and is performed in a hospital under general anesthesia.

If you are thinking about sterilization, issues to talk with your doctor about include your reasons for wanting to be sterilized, whether other methods of contraception might be more suitable and any side effects, risks and complications of the procedure.

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