Learn about the different contraceptive options!

Want to find out which contraceptive method might work best for you? Take this quiz!

There are many contraceptive options available. Find out more about them below:

MALE CONDOMS

PREVENTS PREGNANCY: YES; 85% EFFECTIVE
STI and HIV PROTECTION: YES
WHEN TO USE?  A new condom should be used EVERYTIME you have sex
Type: Short Acting

Condoms are thin, stretchy pouches that you wear on your penis during sex. Condoms stop sperm from getting into the vagina, so sperm can’t meet up with an egg and cause pregnancy. Condoms provide great protection and are one of the best ways to prevent pregnancy and STIs including HIV. They’re easy to use and easy to get. Condoms are available in many public places all over the country, and they are free in any hospital or clinic.  Anyone can get them, so don’t be afraid or shy to grab some if you are planning to have sex!

Protect against STIs? Yes! Using condoms every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex is the best way to reduce your chances of getting or spreading STIs. Remember dual protection is important! Condoms are the only type of contraceptive out there that also helps protect against STIs. So even if you’re using another form contraceptive (like the pill), it’s a good idea to also use condoms to prevent the spread of STIs.

INTERNAL CONDOMS ALSO KNOWN AS FEMALE CONDOMS

PREVENTS PREGNANCY: YES; 79% EFFECTIVE
STI and HIV PROTECTION: YES
WHEN TO USE?  A new condom should be used EVERYTIME you have sex
Type: Short Acting

Internal condoms — also called “female” condoms — are little nitrile (soft plastic) pouches that you put inside your vagina and are an alternative to regular condoms. They cover the inside of your vagina, creating a barrier that stops sperm from reaching an egg. If sperm can’t get to an egg, you can’t get pregnant. They provide the same great protection from pregnancy and STIs including HIV. What’s different about them? Instead of going on the penis, internal condoms go inside your vagina for pregnancy prevention or into the vagina or anus for protection from STIs. For a long time they were called “female condoms.” However, people of any gender can use them for vaginal or anal sex.

Protect against STIs? Yes! Using condoms every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex is the best way to reduce your chances of getting or spreading STIs. Remember dual protection is important! Condoms are the only type of contraceptive out there that also helps protect against STIs. So even if you’re using another form contraceptive (like the pill), it’s a good idea to also use condoms to prevent the spread of STIs.

Why would you use a female condom?

Some people say this type of condom makes sex more pleasurable – Female condoms are thinner than male condoms. This could make them feel better for you and your partner.

It covers more of the vaginal area – Because it is bigger in size, the female condom will cover your labia and the area between the vagina and the anus.

You have the power and are in control of your sexual health – You can put in the female condom up to 8 hours before you have sex. This means that you’ll be ready and don’t have to wait for your partner to get a condom or put one on.

Important: Do not use the female and male condoms at the same time because this will create friction that will tear the condoms. Female and male condoms are free at your local clinic so if you are thinking about having sex, make sure you pick up some condoms and use them correctly every time you have sex!

ORAL CONTRACEPTIVE PILL

PREVENTS PREGNANCY: YES; 91% EFFECTIVE
STI and HIV PROTECTION: No, only condoms protect against all STIs  
WHEN TO USE?  Every day 1x per day
Type: Short Acting

The Pill is a tablet you take once a day that contains hormones that stops ovulation (the process where an egg is created) so no ovulation means no egg for sperm to fertilize. You should swallow the pill at the same time every day, whether or not you have sex.

How do oral contraceptives work?

How is the pill taken? The pill is taken orally (taken with water) once a day, and should be taken at the same time every day.

How long can you take the pill? You can take the pill for as long as you want to prevent pregnancy, as long as you keep going to get your new pills.

How do I make the pill work best for me?

Forgetting pills, losing the pack, not refilling your prescription on time — these are the main reasons why people might get pregnant when they use the pill. It’s good to plan ahead and think about the best way for you to use the pill correctly. Here are some ways to help you remember to take your pills every day:

  • Use our birth control reminder app or set an alarm on your phone.
  • Keep your pill pack next to something you use every day (like your toothbrush or phone charger).
  • Keep your pills in your bag so they’re always with you.
  • Be pill buddies with friends or family members who also take medicine every day, and help each other remember.
  • Your partner can help remind you.
  • Do whatever works to help you take your pill on time, all the time.

Remember you run the risk of pregnancy if you forget to take the pill every day .

INJECTION

PREVENTS PREGNANCY: YES; 95% EFFECTIVE
STI and HIV PROTECTION: NO, only condoms protect against all STIs 
WHEN TO USE?  Every 1 month or every 3 months depending on the injection type
Type: Short Acting

The contraceptive injection is a shot that contains hormones that stops ovulation (the process where an egg is created) so no ovulation means no egg for sperm to fertilize. You need one shot either once every month or once every three months from a clinic or hospital. However once injected, it is not reversible, i.e. in case of side effects it cannot be stopped. The way it works is similar to the pill, except you don’t have to remember to take it every day or week, but it probably isn’t the best choice for those scared of needles.

IMPLANT

PREVENTS PREGNANCY: YES; 99% EFFECTIVE
STI and HIV PROTECTION: NO, only condoms protect against all STIs 
WHEN TO USE?  Every 3 to 5 years
Type: Long Acting

The implant is a plastic matchstick size rod that is placed just below the skin of a females upper arm where it constantly releases the hormone in small doses from a reservoir into the blood stream. The hormone keeps your ovaries from releasing eggs but also thickens the cervical mucus making it hard for sperm to move around in the womb and fertilize an egg. The implant is inserted by a nurse or doctor and can be removed if a female chooses and decides they want to get pregnant.

INTRAUTERINE METHOD INTRAUTERINE SYSTEM – IUS

PREVENTS PREGNANCY: YES; 99% EFFECTIVE
STI and HIV PROTECTION: NO, only condoms protect against all STIs 
WHEN TO USE?  Every 5 to 10 years
Type: Long Acting

The IUS is a small, soft, T-shaped device with a reservoir containing the hormone progestin that is placed in the womb by a nurse or a doctor. The IUS works by continuously releasing a low dose of progestin from the intrauterine system into the womb. It thickens the mucus of your cervix, which makes it harder for sperm to move freely and reach the egg and it also thins the lining of your uterus. At 99.8% effectiveness, you’re about as protected as you possibly can be by a contraceptive method. It’s a great method for the super organized, the forgetful, the frequent traveller and pretty much anyone else who is keen on staying not pregnant. However, there are some individual risk factors that make an IUS not recommendable to some women. Therefore consult a nurse or doctor in order to find out about your individual situation. The IUS is inserted by a nurse or doctor and can be removed if a female chooses and decides they want to get pregnant

INTRAUTERINE METHOD INTRAUTERINE DEVICE – IUD

PREVENTS PREGNANCY: YES; 99% EFFECTIVE
STI and HIV PROTECTION: NO, only condoms protect against all STIs 
WHEN TO USE?  Every 5 to 10 years
Type: Long Acting

The IUD is a T-shaped device with a reservoir containing the hormone progestin that is placed in the womb by your healthcare provider. The IUS works by continuously releasing a low dose of progestin from the intrauterine system into the womb. It thickens the mucus of your cervix, which makes it harder for sperm to move freely and reach the egg and it also thins the lining of your uterus. At 99.8% effectiveness, you’re about as protected as you possibly can be by a contraceptive method. It’s a great method for the super organized, the forgetful, the frequent traveller and pretty much anyone else who is keen on staying not pregnant. However, there are some individual risk factors that make an IUS not recommendable to some women. Therefore consult your healthcare provider in order to find out about your individual situation.

PULL-OUT METHOD  (also known as the WITHDRAWL METHOD)

PREVENTS PREGNANCY: YES; 78% EFFECTIVE
STI and HIV PROTECTION: NO, only condoms protect against all STIs 
WHEN TO USE?  Every time you have sex 
Type: Other Method 

Pulling requires great self-control, experience, and trust, and as such, it is pretty unreliable. It works, some of the time, by the man taking his penis out of the vagina before he ejaculates, limiting the chances of any sperm reaching the egg. However, not all sperm are released at climax, some are a little more eager than that, so even though you don’t finish off, you could still end up pregnant.

Many people believe that the pull-out method works but the truth is that it doesn’t work that well. Watch this loveLife video to find out more.

FERTILITY AWARNESS OR CALENDAR METHOD

PREVENTS PREGNANCY: YES; 76% EFFECTIVE
STI and HIV PROTECTION: NO, only condoms protect against all STIs 
WHEN TO USE?  Everyday
Type: Other Method 

Fertility Awareness or calendar method is the technique of working out exactly what stage of your menstrual cycle you are in and at which stages you are not fertile and having sex at those times. The Fertility Awareness Method requires a female to observe fertility signs. There are a number of different methods such as tracking the days of your cycle, paying attention to body temperature fluctuations and keeping a very close eye on changes to your cervical mucus. There are several more techniques but they can all be thrown by slight changes to your cycle, a miscalculation, spontaneous lifestyle resulting in non-regular sleeping time or a host of other variables. Definitely not a recommendation for the forgetful, the disorganized or the spontaneous as you will need to keep records and avoid sex or use another method of contraception on fertile days. This method will not alter your periods and can help you get to know your cycle better.

STERILIZATION

PREVENTS PREGNANCY: YES; 99% EFFECTIVE
STI and HIV PROTECTION: NO, only condoms protect against all STIs 
WHEN TO USE?  Everyday
Type: Permanent Method 

Fertility Awareness or calendar method is the technique of working out exactly what stage of your menstrual cycle you are in and at which stages you are not fertile and having sex at those times. The Fertility Awareness Method requires a female to observe fertility signs. There are a number of different methods such as tracking the days of your cycle, paying attention to body temperature fluctuations and Sterilization is final. 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 there are a few different types of procedure, they do all have the same ending though, no babies and no going back. Before you decide on sterilization, you should contact your doctor. This method is not available for people under the age of 18.

In females, sterilization — also called tubal ligation — is a surgical procedure which prevents sperm from reaching the female eggs. This is done by blocking or sealing the fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes link the ovaries to the womb (uterus). The female eggs will still be released from the ovaries as normal but will not reach the womb to be fertilized. The female eggs will be absorbed naturally into the woman’s body.

In males, a vasectomy takes place which permanently blocks the tubes found in the penis, from mixing sperm with ejaculation fluid or ‘cum’. After this safe and quick procedure, cum will look the same, but have no sperm inside it.

Want to find out which contraceptive method might work best for you? Take this quiz!

Learn how the morning-after pill works in this article

Find out how to use condoms correctly in these videos. Click here

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