One of the most popular types of contraception is the pill. While this may be a convenient method of preventing pregnancy, some women experience unpleasant side effects from taking hormones and may wish to explore other options.
There are a few different options to choose from if you’re looking to prevent pregnancy without using hormones.
Condoms are the only contraceptive which protect you from STIs. They are easy to use and you can pick them up for free from sexual health clinics, college campuses and family planning clinics. You can also buy them from shops and pharmacies.
Female condoms are available which are used inside the vagina to cover the cervix. They also protect you from STIs but they are generally less effective, with an efficiency rate of 95%.
A diaphragm is a small, dome shaped device which is inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix. This stops sperm from being able to enter. A cap works in the same way but it’s a smaller size. You need to apply spermicide to a diaphragm to make sure it’s effective. This is a type of contraceptive gel which kills off sperm.
The sponge is made from soft, squishy plastic and is inserted into the vagina to block sperm from being able to get through to the uterus. It’s generally less effective than the diaphragm, cap or condoms but some women prefer it and find it comfortable to use.
The IUD (intrauterine device) is often referred to as the copper coil. It’s a long-term reversible method of contraception and is highly effective. It’s a small t-shaped device made from plastic and copper and sits just inside the womb. The copper is essentially toxic to sperm. Once inserted, the IUD lasts for 10 years.
This involves using nothing at all, instead of tracking your cycle to find out when you are and aren’t fertile. This can be tricky to learn and you’ll usually need to monitor your cycle for several months before relying on it. Your local family planning clinic can advise you on how to go about it.
When your choosing a contraceptive, you’ll need to take into account how effective it is. Some women may use more than one type, such as a diaphragm and condom to ensure they are protected from STIs while women in a long term relationship may rely on an IUD.