Deciding which method of birth control to use can feel like stepping into a minefield. There are so many different options to choose from these days. Combined pills such as Microgynon 30 are often the first port of call for women looking for contraception and can be easily obtained with a prescription from a doctor at a GP surgery or through online services such as onlinedoctor.lloydspharmacy.com. There are, however, a host of other methods available, including progestogen-only pills, caps, condoms, implants, injections, patches, diaphragms, vaginal rings, intrauterine devices (IUD), intrauterine systems (IUS) and natural family planning techniques. Just reading through this list might be enough to make your head spin!
To help you decide on the best form of contraception for you, it’s a good idea to ask yourself some questions.
How effective are the different methods?
For example, it’s important that you know how effective the various methods are. For the lowest risk, you can opt for contraceptives that are more than 99 per cent effective, including the injection, implant, IUD and IUS. If used correctly, the patch, vaginal ring, combined pill and progestogen-only pill are also up to 99 per cent effective.
Meanwhile, the male condom is up to 98 per cent effective and the female condom is up to 95 per cent effective if they are used properly.
Birth control that is up to between 92 and 96 per cent effective, if used correctly, includes the diaphragm with spermicide and the cap with spermicide.
How organised are you?
You’ll also need to think about how organised you are. If you have a regular routine, you’ll benefit from a wider choice of contraceptives because it’s less likely that you’ll forget to use them. You might want to opt for a method that you take every day, such as the pill, or perhaps you’d prefer something you use each time you have sex, like condoms.
If you’re less well organised, you might be better off choosing a contraceptive that you don’t have to think about so frequently. For example, the contraceptive injection has to be renewed only every three months, while an implant will provide you with protection for three years.
Do you want lighter periods?
If you suffer from heavy, painful periods, it’s worth thinking about using birth control that will make these lighter or more infrequent. Contraceptives that fall into this category include the pill, patch, injection, IUS and vaginal ring.
Do you smoke?
Lifestyle habits can also impact on your choice of birth control. For example, if you’re a smoker and you’re aged 35 or over, certain contraceptives (such as the combined pill or vaginal ring) are not suitable. Being overweight can also have an impact on which contraceptives are suitable for you. You can ask your doctor for advice on this.
Are you planning to get pregnant in the near future?
Just because you’re not keen to get pregnant right now doesn’t mean you won’t want to conceive in the near future. It’s worth bearing in mind that your fertility may take longer to return to normal after using certain birth control methods.
If you want your fertility to get back to normal as soon as you stop taking contraception, consider using the implant, IUS, IUD, diaphragm, cap or condom. Also, you can get pregnant soon after stopping the combined pill, progestogen-only pill, vaginal ring or contraceptive patch.
If you’d like more information on birth control, you may also want to speak to your doctor or pharmacist or use reliable health information websites provided by the NHS.
How did you choose your birth control method and are you happy with it?
This is a promotional post with images from Morgan and Heidi Brandenburg via Flickr.