Contraception

There are many methods of contraception, don’t be put off if the first type you use isn’t quite right – you can try another.  Our information pages will help you determine which contraception method is best for you and you can talk through the options with our sexual health team.

Some Facts

  • Contraception is free
  • Only condoms help to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’S)
  • All methods of contraception work by either stopping the women’s egg (ova) or the man’s sperm from meeting or by preventing the release of the egg
  • There isn’t a single method that is suitable for all women, and they are not free from side effects
  • Women often use different methods during the course of their sexual lives, for different reasons
  • Choosing the method that’s right for you may depend on how reliable it is, how it will affect you, as well as whether you have any medical conditions that may limit your choice.

We can talk to you about the choices available, and we will take a detailed medical history that will identify if any of the methods are not suitable.

The NHS choices website provides information about the many methods of contraception that are available in our service.   The FPA is also a really good source of information relating to sexual health and contraception

  1. condoms
  2. combined pill
  3. contraceptive implant
  4. contraceptive injection
  5. contraceptive patch
  6. female condoms
  7. IUD (intrauterine device or coil)
  8. IUS (intrauterine system or hormonal coil)
  9. natural family planning (fertility awareness)
  10. progestogen-only pill

There are also 2 permanent methods, which are not available in our service, but your own GP will be able to refer you to the hospital

In an emergency

If you have had unprotected sex, (not used any method of contraception) or if the contraception you have used has failed you may be at risk of getting pregnant.  Please don’t just ignore the risk, we can help.  Contact us or your own GP as soon as possible after the unprotected sex, the sooner you seek help the more likely it is that we can help you to prevent a pregnancy.

The following pharmacies also currently provide Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC):

  • Healthpoint Collwall Pharmacy, WR13 6QG 
  • Leominster Pharmacy, HR6 8EP 
  • Westfield Walk Pharmacy, HR6 8HD 
  • Day Lewis Pharmacy – Ledbury, HR8 2AA

If for some reason, you don’t seek help straight away and you think, ‘it’s too late’, please still come to see us, there may still be something we can do.  

There are two main types of contraception you can use in an emergency, the pill, (2 different types) and the Intra- uterine Contraceptive device (IUD) or COIL, which needs to be fitted into the uterus by a specially trained doctor or nurse.

You need to take the emergency contraceptive pill within 3 days (Levonelle) or 5 days (ellaOne) of unprotected sex for it to be effective – the sooner you take it, the more effective it’ll be.

The IUD can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex, or up to 5 days after the earliest time you could have ovulated, for it to be effective

Emergency Contraception -Pills

Emergency Contraception – Intra- uterine Contraceptive device/COIL

Male and Female condoms

If you’re ready to start to thinking about having sex, or already having sex, then it’s a good time to think about how you will keep yourself sexually healthy. Condoms are the only way to help prevent the spread of infection. That’s really important if you don’t want to catch or spread an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) like chlamydia, gonorrhoea or HIV. They also are a good way to prevent pregnancy.

Male Condoms

How effective is the male Condom?

Condoms are 98% effective if used correctly. This means 2 out of 100 women will become pregnant in one year when male condoms are used as contraception.

How do I use the condom?

  • Condoms have an expiry date; check your condom is in date and that it has a CE and KITE mark
  • Condom packets usually have two straight edges and two serrated edges; tear straight down, serrated edge to serrated edge
  • Place the condom on to the erect penis
  • Pinch the top of the condom as you put it on. This leaves space for air (to prevent the condom splitting and space for the ejaculation fluid)
  • Roll the condom right down to the base of the penis
  • If it won’t roll onto your penis properly, you may have it the wrong way round the roll needs to be on the outside.  If this happens don’t just turn it over sperm may be present on the tip of your penis, just use another condom
  • Keep hold of the condom as you withdraw and remove it once you’re away from your partner
  • Wrap the used condom in a tissue
  • Place it in a bin
  • Do not flush condoms down the toilet

If you are using gels or other lubricants they need to be water-based, oil-based versions can damage the latex condom, making it more likely to split.

If the condom splits, it will not have protected you and if you are using it for prevention of pregnancy, you will need Emergency Contraception.

Click here for more information on male condoms

 

Female Condoms

The female condom is a soft, loose fitting pouch with a ring on each end. Unlike a male condom you can put the female condom in ahead of time, before sex begins.

How effective is the female Condom?

The female condom is slightly less effective than the male condom and is 95% effective if used correctly. This means 5 out of 100 women will become pregnant in one year when female condoms are used as contraception.

How do I use the condom?

  • As with male condoms you need to check the expiry date on the package, and then open it carefully
  • If you’re putting the condom in your anus, remove the inner ring. If you’re putting the condom in your vagina, leave the ring in
  • Relax and get into a comfortable position to insert the condom, standing with one foot on a chair, lying down, or squatting
  • If it’s going in your vagina, squeeze together the sides of the inner ring at the closed end of the condom and slide it in like a tampon. Pushing the inner ring into your vagina as far as it can go
  • If it’s going in your anus, just push the condom in with your finger
  • Make sure the condom isn’t twisted. Pull out your finger and let the outer ring hang about an inch outside the vagina or anus
  • Hold the condom open as the penis or sex toy is going into the condom to make sure it doesn’t slip to the side between the condom and your vagina or anus
  • Gently pull it out of your vagina or anus, being careful not to spill the semen if there is any
  • Throw it away in the bin

Click here for more information on female condoms

The Combined Pill

This is a pill that contains synthetic hormones that are similar to the ones fertile women naturally produce, in their ovaries called progesterone and oestrogen.  There are different types of pills that have slightly different levels of the hormones.

How does it work?

It works by preventing a woman from ovulating (releasing an egg).

It also thickens the mucous that sits in the cervix (neck of the womb) making it difficult for the sperm to swim through and it makes the lining of the uterus (womb) thin, so the environment isn’t suitable for implantation of an egg.

How effective is it?

When taken correctly, the pill is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. As with most methods, the pill will work really well to prevent a pregnancy, but doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.

What are the side effects?

Blood Clots

The oestrogen in the pill may cause your blood to clot more readily. The risk of getting a blood clot is very small.  But If a blood clot develops, it could cause: deep vein thrombosis (clot in your leg) , pulmonary embolus (clot in your lung) or even more rarely a stroke or heart attack.

Breast Cancer

Research is still ongoing into the link between breast cancer and the pill.  Current research suggests that users of all types of hormonal contraception have a slightly higher chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who do not use them. However, 10 years after you stop taking the pill, your risk of breast cancer goes back to normal.

The combined pill can cause temporary side effects, too at first, like headaches, nausea, breast tenderness and mood swings – if these do not go after a few months, it may help to change to a different type of pill

The Combined pill can sometimes increase your blood pressure, so we will check this soon after you have been prescribed the pill.

What happens if I miss taking one of my pills?

The pill is only 99% effective if its taken properly If you miss a pill or pills, or you start a pack late, it can make the pill less effective at preventing a pregnancy.

The chance of getting pregnant after missing a pill or pills depends on:  when the pills are missed  and how many pills are missed.

What to do if you miss a combined pill.

Find out what to do if you miss a combined pill here.

What do I do if I have sickness and or diarrhoea?

If you vomit within two hours of taking the combined pill, it may not have had time to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Take another pill straight away and the next pill at your usual time.

If you continue to be sick, keep using another form of contraception until you’ve taken the pill for another seven days without vomiting.

Very severe diarrhoea (six to eight watery stools in 24 hours) may also mean that the pill doesn’t work properly. Keep taking your pill as normal, but use additional contraception, such as condoms, while you have diarrhoea and for two days after recovering. Also do seek medical help if the diarrhoea and vomiting is this severe. 

If you are in any doubt about what to do, don’t ignore it, just contact us on 0800 7720478

Click here for more information on the combined pill

Progestogen Only Pill (POP)

The progestogen only pill (POP) contains only one hormone, progestogen. Unlike the COC pill, POPs need to be taken every day without a break. Once one pack has been finished, a new one can be started straight away.  It’s a useful alternative for women that can’t have the combined pill because of the Oestrogen.

How effective is the POP?

The POP is 99% effective if taken correctly.

How does it work?

The POP thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from meeting the egg whilst also thinning the lining of the womb. In some women, ovulation also stops.

What are the disadvantages?

Missing pills, vomiting or severe diarrhoea may make the pill less effective.

Periods may stop or be irregular, lighter or more frequent. It is not a problem if they stop; it is because it’s working well to keep the lining in your uterus (womb) thin, so that there is little or nothing to shed.

Click here for more information on the progestogen-only pill

Implant

The contraceptive implant is a type of LARC (Long Acting Reversible Contraception). The implant is a small and flexible plastic rod that is inserted beneath the skin in your upper arm. It can stay in place for 3 years, but can also be removed at any time during the 3 years.  Once the implant is removed your fertility will return to normal.  It is suitable for those women who can’t take Oestrogen.

How does it work

The implant releases a hormone (progestogen) into your bloodstream which prevents a woman from ovulating (releasing an egg) . It also thickens the mucous that sits in the cervix (neck of the womb) making it difficult for the sperm to swim through and it makes the lining of the uterus (womb) thin, so the environment isn’t suitable for implantation of an egg.

How effective is it?

It is over 99% effective and once in place it works for 3 years.  It’s a good choice for women who find it difficult to remember to take the pill.. As with most methods, it will work really well to prevent a pregnancy, but doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.

What are the disadvantages?

Your periods may change, sometimes, they last a little longer, at other times becoming irregular or even stopping completely.  It is not a problem if they stop; it is because it’s working well to keep the lining in your uterus (womb) thin, so that there is little or nothing to shed.

Click here for more information on the contraceptive implant

Contraceptive Injection

The injection is a type of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC).

How does it work?

The commonest one we use is Depo-Provera which works by releasing progestogen into the bloodstream, preventing a woman from ovulating (releasing an egg) . It also thickens the mucous that sits in the cervix (neck of the womb) making it difficult for the sperm to swim through and it makes the lining of the uterus (womb) thin, so the environment isn’t suitable for implantation of an egg.

The injection is usually given in your bottom but can also be injected into the upper arm. Once this has been done, you will only need to go back when your next one is due, unless you have any problems.

How effective is it?

It is over 99% effective and is suitable for those women who can’t take Oestrogen.  It’s a good choice for women who find it difficult to remember to take the pill. As with most methods, it will work really well to prevent a pregnancy, but doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.

What are the disadvantages?

It can take up to a year for your fertility to return once the injection has run out.

Periods can become irregular or stop completely. It is not a problem if they stop; it is because it’s working well to keep the lining in your uterus (womb) thin, so that there is little or nothing to shed.

Click here for more information on the contraceptive injection

Contraceptive Patch

The contraceptive patch is a small patch that is stuck to the skin and releases both oestrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream.  The patch can be applied on most areas of skin, providing that it is clean, dry and not too hairy.

How does it work?

The hormones are the same as those in the combined pill, so it works in the same way by preventing a woman from ovulating (releasing an egg).

It also thickens the mucous that sits in the cervix (neck of the womb) making it difficult for the sperm to swim through and it makes the lining of the uterus (womb) thin, so the environment isn’t suitable for implantation of an egg.  For some women periods may become more regular, lighter and less painful.

How effective is it?

 It is over 99% effective, if used correctly. You have to replace the patch every week.  You use the patch for 3 weeks out of 4. Unlike the pill it still works even when you have had sickness and diarrhoea.  As with most methods, it will work really well to prevent a pregnancy, but doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.

What are the disadvantages?

The patch isn’t recommended for very overweight women or smokers aged over 35.

Breakthrough bleeding and spotting is quite common in the first few months.

Some women experience a skin reaction and it may be visible on the skin when wearing certain clothing.

Click here for more information on contraceptive patch

IUD (intrauterine device or coil)

The IUD is another type of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). A small plastic device that uses copper is put into the uterus (womb), it is completely hormone-free.

How does it work?

The IUD releases copper into the body to protect against pregnancy and is occasionally referred to as a “coil” or “copper coil”. It can be used as emergency contraception and then can be left in (if the woman wishes).  The copper in the IUD alters the cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to reach an egg and survive.  It doesn’t stop ovulation; rather it can also stop a fertilised egg from being able to implant itself.

How effective is an IUD?

It is over 99% effective and works as soon as it is fitted.  . It can stay in place  for 5-10 years.  As with most methods, it will work really well to prevent a pregnancy, but doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.

What are the disadvantages?

It is possible, but uncommon that your uterus may push out the IUD; this is why the nurse or doctor will show you how to check your IUD threads, to make sure it’s still in place.  For some women, periods may be heavier or longer and more painful. It can cause some discomfort and cramping for the first few days, after its fitted.

   Whilst the IUD doesn’t increase your risk of an STI,  if you get an STI while the IUD is in place this could lead to a pelvic infection if not treated.

Click here for more information on IUD (intrauterine device or coil)

Intrauterine System – IUS/Coil

The IUS is a type  of Long Acting Reversible contraception LARC.   A doctor or nurse will insert a small, T-shaped plastic device, about the size of a match, into the uterus (womb).  Unlike the copper IUD/Coil, the IUS/Coil has progesterone in it. 

How does it work?

The IUS releases progestogen into the womb, which thickens the mucous in the cervix (neck of the womb) and thins the lining of the uterus (womb), to prevent pregnancy. In some women, it can also prevent ovulation although this is not the case for most.    Periods will usually become much lighter and shorter and sometimes less painful. They may even stop completely after the first year of use. It is not a problem if they stop; it is because it’s working well to keep the lining in your uterus (womb) thin, so that there is little or nothing to shed.

How effective is the IUS/Coil?

It is over 99% effective and can stay in place for 3 or 5 years.   

What are the disadvantages?

 It is possible that your uterus may push out the IUS. Although uncommon, this is why the nurse or doctor will show you how to check your IUS threads.

It may cause discomfort and cramping for the first few days.

Whilst the IUS doesn’t increase your risk of an STI,  if you get an STI while the IUS is in place this could lead to a pelvic infection if not treated.

Click here for more information on IUS (intrauterine system or hormonal coil)

Pregnant and unsure of what to do?

Finding out you are pregnant, when it wasn’t planned can be very distressing.  For some women they may be unsure what to do next.  You can contact us or speak to your own doctor for advice about the options.

If you feel that having a pregnancy at this time is not right for you, they can also refer you on to an abortion service provider, who will be able to give you more advice, to help you make the right choice for you and your circumstances.

If you are in any doubt about what to do, contact us on 0800 7720478

(All abortion services are free on the NHS)

  • Contraception
  • Contraception

    There are many methods of contraception, don’t be put off if the first type you use isn’t quite right – you can try another.  Our information pages will help you determine which contraception method is best for you and you can talk through the options with our sexual health team.

    Some Facts

    • Contraception is free
    • Only condoms help to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’S)
    • All methods of contraception work by either stopping the women’s egg (ova) or the man’s sperm from meeting or by preventing the release of the egg
    • There isn’t a single method that is suitable for all women, and they are not free from side effects
    • Women often use different methods during the course of their sexual lives, for different reasons
    • Choosing the method that’s right for you may depend on how reliable it is, how it will affect you, as well as whether you have any medical conditions that may limit your choice.

    We can talk to you about the choices available, and we will take a detailed medical history that will identify if any of the methods are not suitable.

    The NHS choices website provides information about the many methods of contraception that are available in our service.   The FPA is also a really good source of information relating to sexual health and contraception

    1. condoms
    2. combined pill
    3. contraceptive implant
    4. contraceptive injection
    5. contraceptive patch
    6. female condoms
    7. IUD (intrauterine device or coil)
    8. IUS (intrauterine system or hormonal coil)
    9. natural family planning (fertility awareness)
    10. progestogen-only pill

    There are also 2 permanent methods, which are not available in our service, but your own GP will be able to refer you to the hospital

  • In an emergency
  • In an emergency

    If you have had unprotected sex, (not used any method of contraception) or if the contraception you have used has failed you may be at risk of getting pregnant.  Please don’t just ignore the risk, we can help.  Contact us or your own GP as soon as possible after the unprotected sex, the sooner you seek help the more likely it is that we can help you to prevent a pregnancy.

    The following pharmacies also currently provide Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC):

    • Healthpoint Collwall Pharmacy, WR13 6QG 
    • Leominster Pharmacy, HR6 8EP 
    • Westfield Walk Pharmacy, HR6 8HD 
    • Day Lewis Pharmacy – Ledbury, HR8 2AA

    If for some reason, you don’t seek help straight away and you think, ‘it’s too late’, please still come to see us, there may still be something we can do.  

    There are two main types of contraception you can use in an emergency, the pill, (2 different types) and the Intra- uterine Contraceptive device (IUD) or COIL, which needs to be fitted into the uterus by a specially trained doctor or nurse.

    You need to take the emergency contraceptive pill within 3 days (Levonelle) or 5 days (ellaOne) of unprotected sex for it to be effective – the sooner you take it, the more effective it’ll be.

    The IUD can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex, or up to 5 days after the earliest time you could have ovulated, for it to be effective

    Emergency Contraception -Pills

    Emergency Contraception – Intra- uterine Contraceptive device/COIL

  • Male and Female condoms
  • Male and Female condoms

    If you’re ready to start to thinking about having sex, or already having sex, then it’s a good time to think about how you will keep yourself sexually healthy. Condoms are the only way to help prevent the spread of infection. That’s really important if you don’t want to catch or spread an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) like chlamydia, gonorrhoea or HIV. They also are a good way to prevent pregnancy.

    Male Condoms

    How effective is the male Condom?

    Condoms are 98% effective if used correctly. This means 2 out of 100 women will become pregnant in one year when male condoms are used as contraception.

    How do I use the condom?

    • Condoms have an expiry date; check your condom is in date and that it has a CE and KITE mark
    • Condom packets usually have two straight edges and two serrated edges; tear straight down, serrated edge to serrated edge
    • Place the condom on to the erect penis
    • Pinch the top of the condom as you put it on. This leaves space for air (to prevent the condom splitting and space for the ejaculation fluid)
    • Roll the condom right down to the base of the penis
    • If it won’t roll onto your penis properly, you may have it the wrong way round the roll needs to be on the outside.  If this happens don’t just turn it over sperm may be present on the tip of your penis, just use another condom
    • Keep hold of the condom as you withdraw and remove it once you’re away from your partner
    • Wrap the used condom in a tissue
    • Place it in a bin
    • Do not flush condoms down the toilet

    If you are using gels or other lubricants they need to be water-based, oil-based versions can damage the latex condom, making it more likely to split.

    If the condom splits, it will not have protected you and if you are using it for prevention of pregnancy, you will need Emergency Contraception.

    Click here for more information on male condoms

     

    Female Condoms

    The female condom is a soft, loose fitting pouch with a ring on each end. Unlike a male condom you can put the female condom in ahead of time, before sex begins.

    How effective is the female Condom?

    The female condom is slightly less effective than the male condom and is 95% effective if used correctly. This means 5 out of 100 women will become pregnant in one year when female condoms are used as contraception.

    How do I use the condom?

    • As with male condoms you need to check the expiry date on the package, and then open it carefully
    • If you’re putting the condom in your anus, remove the inner ring. If you’re putting the condom in your vagina, leave the ring in
    • Relax and get into a comfortable position to insert the condom, standing with one foot on a chair, lying down, or squatting
    • If it’s going in your vagina, squeeze together the sides of the inner ring at the closed end of the condom and slide it in like a tampon. Pushing the inner ring into your vagina as far as it can go
    • If it’s going in your anus, just push the condom in with your finger
    • Make sure the condom isn’t twisted. Pull out your finger and let the outer ring hang about an inch outside the vagina or anus
    • Hold the condom open as the penis or sex toy is going into the condom to make sure it doesn’t slip to the side between the condom and your vagina or anus
    • Gently pull it out of your vagina or anus, being careful not to spill the semen if there is any
    • Throw it away in the bin

    Click here for more information on female condoms

  • The Combined Pill
  • The Combined Pill

    This is a pill that contains synthetic hormones that are similar to the ones fertile women naturally produce, in their ovaries called progesterone and oestrogen.  There are different types of pills that have slightly different levels of the hormones.

    How does it work?

    It works by preventing a woman from ovulating (releasing an egg).

    It also thickens the mucous that sits in the cervix (neck of the womb) making it difficult for the sperm to swim through and it makes the lining of the uterus (womb) thin, so the environment isn’t suitable for implantation of an egg.

    How effective is it?

    When taken correctly, the pill is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. As with most methods, the pill will work really well to prevent a pregnancy, but doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.

    What are the side effects?

    Blood Clots

    The oestrogen in the pill may cause your blood to clot more readily. The risk of getting a blood clot is very small.  But If a blood clot develops, it could cause: deep vein thrombosis (clot in your leg) , pulmonary embolus (clot in your lung) or even more rarely a stroke or heart attack.

    Breast Cancer

    Research is still ongoing into the link between breast cancer and the pill.  Current research suggests that users of all types of hormonal contraception have a slightly higher chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who do not use them. However, 10 years after you stop taking the pill, your risk of breast cancer goes back to normal.

    The combined pill can cause temporary side effects, too at first, like headaches, nausea, breast tenderness and mood swings – if these do not go after a few months, it may help to change to a different type of pill

    The Combined pill can sometimes increase your blood pressure, so we will check this soon after you have been prescribed the pill.

    What happens if I miss taking one of my pills?

    The pill is only 99% effective if its taken properly If you miss a pill or pills, or you start a pack late, it can make the pill less effective at preventing a pregnancy.

    The chance of getting pregnant after missing a pill or pills depends on:  when the pills are missed  and how many pills are missed.

    What to do if you miss a combined pill.

    Find out what to do if you miss a combined pill here.

    What do I do if I have sickness and or diarrhoea?

    If you vomit within two hours of taking the combined pill, it may not have had time to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Take another pill straight away and the next pill at your usual time.

    If you continue to be sick, keep using another form of contraception until you’ve taken the pill for another seven days without vomiting.

    Very severe diarrhoea (six to eight watery stools in 24 hours) may also mean that the pill doesn’t work properly. Keep taking your pill as normal, but use additional contraception, such as condoms, while you have diarrhoea and for two days after recovering. Also do seek medical help if the diarrhoea and vomiting is this severe. 

    If you are in any doubt about what to do, don’t ignore it, just contact us on 0800 7720478

    Click here for more information on the combined pill

  • Progestogen Only Pill (POP)
  • Progestogen Only Pill (POP)

    The progestogen only pill (POP) contains only one hormone, progestogen. Unlike the COC pill, POPs need to be taken every day without a break. Once one pack has been finished, a new one can be started straight away.  It’s a useful alternative for women that can’t have the combined pill because of the Oestrogen.

    How effective is the POP?

    The POP is 99% effective if taken correctly.

    How does it work?

    The POP thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from meeting the egg whilst also thinning the lining of the womb. In some women, ovulation also stops.

    What are the disadvantages?

    Missing pills, vomiting or severe diarrhoea may make the pill less effective.

    Periods may stop or be irregular, lighter or more frequent. It is not a problem if they stop; it is because it’s working well to keep the lining in your uterus (womb) thin, so that there is little or nothing to shed.

    Click here for more information on the progestogen-only pill

  • Implant
  • Implant

    The contraceptive implant is a type of LARC (Long Acting Reversible Contraception). The implant is a small and flexible plastic rod that is inserted beneath the skin in your upper arm. It can stay in place for 3 years, but can also be removed at any time during the 3 years.  Once the implant is removed your fertility will return to normal.  It is suitable for those women who can’t take Oestrogen.

    How does it work

    The implant releases a hormone (progestogen) into your bloodstream which prevents a woman from ovulating (releasing an egg) . It also thickens the mucous that sits in the cervix (neck of the womb) making it difficult for the sperm to swim through and it makes the lining of the uterus (womb) thin, so the environment isn’t suitable for implantation of an egg.

    How effective is it?

    It is over 99% effective and once in place it works for 3 years.  It’s a good choice for women who find it difficult to remember to take the pill.. As with most methods, it will work really well to prevent a pregnancy, but doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.

    What are the disadvantages?

    Your periods may change, sometimes, they last a little longer, at other times becoming irregular or even stopping completely.  It is not a problem if they stop; it is because it’s working well to keep the lining in your uterus (womb) thin, so that there is little or nothing to shed.

    Click here for more information on the contraceptive implant

  • Contraceptive Injection
  • Contraceptive Injection

    The injection is a type of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC).

    How does it work?

    The commonest one we use is Depo-Provera which works by releasing progestogen into the bloodstream, preventing a woman from ovulating (releasing an egg) . It also thickens the mucous that sits in the cervix (neck of the womb) making it difficult for the sperm to swim through and it makes the lining of the uterus (womb) thin, so the environment isn’t suitable for implantation of an egg.

    The injection is usually given in your bottom but can also be injected into the upper arm. Once this has been done, you will only need to go back when your next one is due, unless you have any problems.

    How effective is it?

    It is over 99% effective and is suitable for those women who can’t take Oestrogen.  It’s a good choice for women who find it difficult to remember to take the pill. As with most methods, it will work really well to prevent a pregnancy, but doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.

    What are the disadvantages?

    It can take up to a year for your fertility to return once the injection has run out.

    Periods can become irregular or stop completely. It is not a problem if they stop; it is because it’s working well to keep the lining in your uterus (womb) thin, so that there is little or nothing to shed.

    Click here for more information on the contraceptive injection

  • Contraceptive Patch
  • Contraceptive Patch

    The contraceptive patch is a small patch that is stuck to the skin and releases both oestrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream.  The patch can be applied on most areas of skin, providing that it is clean, dry and not too hairy.

    How does it work?

    The hormones are the same as those in the combined pill, so it works in the same way by preventing a woman from ovulating (releasing an egg).

    It also thickens the mucous that sits in the cervix (neck of the womb) making it difficult for the sperm to swim through and it makes the lining of the uterus (womb) thin, so the environment isn’t suitable for implantation of an egg.  For some women periods may become more regular, lighter and less painful.

    How effective is it?

     It is over 99% effective, if used correctly. You have to replace the patch every week.  You use the patch for 3 weeks out of 4. Unlike the pill it still works even when you have had sickness and diarrhoea.  As with most methods, it will work really well to prevent a pregnancy, but doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.

    What are the disadvantages?

    The patch isn’t recommended for very overweight women or smokers aged over 35.

    Breakthrough bleeding and spotting is quite common in the first few months.

    Some women experience a skin reaction and it may be visible on the skin when wearing certain clothing.

    Click here for more information on contraceptive patch

  • IUD (intrauterine device or coil)
  • IUD (intrauterine device or coil)

    The IUD is another type of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). A small plastic device that uses copper is put into the uterus (womb), it is completely hormone-free.

    How does it work?

    The IUD releases copper into the body to protect against pregnancy and is occasionally referred to as a “coil” or “copper coil”. It can be used as emergency contraception and then can be left in (if the woman wishes).  The copper in the IUD alters the cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to reach an egg and survive.  It doesn’t stop ovulation; rather it can also stop a fertilised egg from being able to implant itself.

    How effective is an IUD?

    It is over 99% effective and works as soon as it is fitted.  . It can stay in place  for 5-10 years.  As with most methods, it will work really well to prevent a pregnancy, but doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.

    What are the disadvantages?

    It is possible, but uncommon that your uterus may push out the IUD; this is why the nurse or doctor will show you how to check your IUD threads, to make sure it’s still in place.  For some women, periods may be heavier or longer and more painful. It can cause some discomfort and cramping for the first few days, after its fitted.

       Whilst the IUD doesn’t increase your risk of an STI,  if you get an STI while the IUD is in place this could lead to a pelvic infection if not treated.

    Click here for more information on IUD (intrauterine device or coil)

  • Intrauterine System – IUS/Coil
  • Intrauterine System – IUS/Coil

    The IUS is a type  of Long Acting Reversible contraception LARC.   A doctor or nurse will insert a small, T-shaped plastic device, about the size of a match, into the uterus (womb).  Unlike the copper IUD/Coil, the IUS/Coil has progesterone in it. 

    How does it work?

    The IUS releases progestogen into the womb, which thickens the mucous in the cervix (neck of the womb) and thins the lining of the uterus (womb), to prevent pregnancy. In some women, it can also prevent ovulation although this is not the case for most.    Periods will usually become much lighter and shorter and sometimes less painful. They may even stop completely after the first year of use. It is not a problem if they stop; it is because it’s working well to keep the lining in your uterus (womb) thin, so that there is little or nothing to shed.

    How effective is the IUS/Coil?

    It is over 99% effective and can stay in place for 3 or 5 years.   

    What are the disadvantages?

     It is possible that your uterus may push out the IUS. Although uncommon, this is why the nurse or doctor will show you how to check your IUS threads.

    It may cause discomfort and cramping for the first few days.

    Whilst the IUS doesn’t increase your risk of an STI,  if you get an STI while the IUS is in place this could lead to a pelvic infection if not treated.

    Click here for more information on IUS (intrauterine system or hormonal coil)

  • Pregnant and unsure of what to do?
  • Pregnant and unsure of what to do?

    Finding out you are pregnant, when it wasn’t planned can be very distressing.  For some women they may be unsure what to do next.  You can contact us or speak to your own doctor for advice about the options.

    If you feel that having a pregnancy at this time is not right for you, they can also refer you on to an abortion service provider, who will be able to give you more advice, to help you make the right choice for you and your circumstances.

    If you are in any doubt about what to do, contact us on 0800 7720478

    (All abortion services are free on the NHS)