CONTRACEPTION AT A GLANCE
- There is a contraception method to suit everyone
- You can choose long or short-term to fit your lifestyle
- It’s a great idea to talk through the different methods with your healthcare provider to find the one perfect for you
WHAT IS IT?
What Is Contraception?
With so many different methods to choose from you will find one that suits you perfectly. Each method differs in how effective they are, how long they last, how they work and where you can get hold of them.
There are two main types, hormonal methods and barrier methods. Hormonal methods introduce hormones to your body to make it act differently, some stop you from releasing eggs completely, some just make it difficult for sperm to reach the egg that is released. Barrier methods stop sperm from getting anywhere near the egg in the first place by stopping them as soon as they are released.
There are other methods available but they a generally considered to be less reliable but your healthcare provider and this website have more information for you to explore on all methods available to you.
WHAT DO I DO IF…
I FORGOT MY PILL
WE HAD UNPROTECTED SEX
THE CONDOM BROKE
DON’T MYTH WITH ME
Can I use an IUS if I haven’t already had children?
Of course you can. You shouldn’t get an Intrauterine System (IUS) if you’re trying to get pregnant, otherwise it’s a suitable form of contraception for anybody to consider using.
Will taking the pill make me gain weight?
Taking the pill does not have a noticeable long-term effect on body weight. Some women experience small changes in weight after starting the pill, but this is not proven in clinical studies looking at its long-term effect on body weight. If you're concerned talk to your healthcare provider about your options.
Do I need to use contraception if I’m breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding can prevent pregnancy for up to six months if periods have not resumed and the baby is solely breastfed frequently day and night. This doesn’t make pregnancy impossible though and as soon as any one of this criteria is not met, you can become pregnant again.
Will being on the pill for a long time affect my fertility later on in life?
It’s actually possible to get pregnant as soon as you stop taking the pill so no, taking the pill long-term will not affect your fertility.
Can I get pregnant if I’m on my period?
Expert opinion says yes, you can get pregnant while menstruating. The fact that there are a number of stages of a period and that sperm can survive inside a woman`s uterus for up to six days means you should always protect yourself if you don’t want to get pregnant.
Can the IUS move about inside me and cause problems?
The Intrauterine System (IUS) is an effective method that is inserted by a well-trained healthcare provider and it stays in place for up to 3 or 5 years. The risk of uterine perforation is rare (i.e. <1/1000).
Can I get pregnant if I don’t have an orgasm?
The pleasure of sex isn’t connected to the science of sex at all. If you have sex without contraception you can get pregnant, whether you enjoy it or not.
Can taking hormonal contraceptives make me infertile?
Hormonal contraception does not cause infertility. It may take a bit of time for your body to return to a state where you can become pregnant again but this is only temporary. Fertility returns to healthy women to its previous level no matter how long you have taken a hormonal contraceptive method.
Can I reuse a condom?
No, condoms are not coffee cups that you can rinse out and reuse. They might look ok, but they are made of very thin material that deteriorates with use and can split if used more than once. Also the spermicide inside which helps to stop sperm will have gone, so use a new one each time.
Is emergency contraception 100% effective?
No contraceptive is 100% effective. It is most effective when taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex, ideally up to 12 hours after, if it’s taken more than 24 hours later, it’s already much less effective. The more prepared you are before sex, the less likely you’ll be to need emergency contraception at all.
Do I need to give my body a break from taking oral contraceptives?
From a medical point of view, there is absolutely no reason to make a pill break if you tolerate it well. The only reason to take a break from taking the pill is that you want to get pregnant. Other than that, you can stay on your chosen method of contraception for as long as you want.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
There is still an old-fashioned opinion floating around that long-term users of hormonal contraceptives should take a regular break from use for a few months to allow the body to "recover" from the hormones contained in it. This is why some women still come off hormonal contraceptives for several weeks or months at a time. We now know that there is no reason to take a break from taking hormones, and it may even be harmful.
Taking breaks like this does not improve your ability to conceive either: the length of time for which you take hormones has no influence on that.
It depends on the type of pill. Most pills work across a 28 day cycle including the pill-free or placebo interval, which means you have one pack for each cycle.
With some you have to take a hormonal pill every day. With others you take a hormonal pill every day for 21 or 24 or even 26 days of the cycle, and then have a hormone free break of seven or four or only two days where either no pills are taken or a hormone free pill is taken.
During this break, you will still be protected and you will have a menstruation-like bleed.
If you are regularly taking the pills, you are very unlikely to be pregnant. The pill is highly effective. If your period does not come, it does not necessarily mean that you are pregnant as long as you did take it as directed. It could be that the lining of your womb has not built up very much and is therefore not being expelled. If menstruation does not come for more than two months in a row talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before you start taking the new strip.
An IUS insertion is usually well tolerated by most women. Some women may experience pain and dizziness after insertion, which usually settles after resting for a short time. Normal pain killers or local anesthesia may be applied to the uterine cervix prior to the insertion.
The emergency pill must be taken within 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex. The sooner it is taken, the more effective it is. It is most effective if it is taken within the first 12 hours after unprotected sex.