What is contraception?

Contraception is the barrier method put in place to stop women getting pregnant.

Contraception is free for most people in the UK.

There are 15 different methods available on the NHS so that there is something to suit everyone. See the options here.

The different types of contraception you can try:

  • Caps – A dome made of thin, soft silicone or latex that’s inserted into the vagina before sex so that the sperm cannot get into the womb
  • Combined pill – A small pill that prevents your ovaries from releasing an egg
  • Condoms (female) – Condom made from thin, soft plastic called polyurethanem that is worn inside the vagina to prevent semen getting to the womb
  • Condoms (male) – Condoms made from very thin latex typically that stop a man’s semen from coming into contact with his partner
  • Contraceptive implant – A small flexible tube (about 40mm long) that’s inserted under the skin of your upper arm and stops the release of an egg from the ovary
  • Contraceptive injection –The injection thickens the mucus in the cervix to stop the sperm from reaching the egg. There are three types of injections you can have which last between 8-13 weeks
  • Contraceptive patch – A small sticky patch that delivers hormones into your body through your skin and prevents the release of the egg by thickening the cervical mucus
  • Diaphragms – A small reusable cup that is inserted into the vagina before sex and it covers the cervix so that sperm can’t get into the womb
  • Intrauterine device (IUD) – Also known as a coil, it’s a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that’s inserted into the womb and stops the sperm and egg surviving in the womb
  • Intrauterine system (IUS) – A small T-shaped plastic device inserted into your womb that releases a progestogen hormone into the womb which then thickens the mucus from your cervix so that sperms find it difficult to reach an egg
  • Progestogen-only pill – As it says on the tin, it’s progestogen only and doesn’t contain estrogen, the pill thickens the mucus in the cervix which stops the stem reaching an egg
  • Vaginal ring – A small (4mm thick), soft plastic ring that you place inside the vagina which can be left in for up to 21 days. The ring releases estrogen and progestogen to prevent the release of an egg
  • Natural family planning – Making sure you know at which point in the month you are less fertile, you must record fertility signals and cervical secretions. This is not something you can learn easily or quickly, you must be specially trained

There are two permanent methods of contraception:

For the complete guide, timelines and advice visit the NHS website. All information sourced from there too.