A brief overview of each contraception method and how you can get it.

The percentages shown for each method reflect the efficacy from typical use. Typical use means how well the method works in real life. This is different from perfect use which means how well a method works under 'perfect' or ideal conditions for example when there is no user error at any time.

A brief summary of how much attention each method needs.

An overview of the hormones included in each method (if any) and where they are released in the body.

FEMALE STERILISATION
female sterilisation
A medical procedure performed by a doctor that blocks the fallopian tubes and removes the possibility of pregnancy.
Click-FEMALE STERILISATION
MALE STERILISATION
male sterilisation
A medical procedure performed by a doctor or nurse that blocks the tubes carrying sperm.
Click-MALE STERILISATION
THE IMPLANT
the implant
A small, flexible silicone rod that releases a progestogen hormone for up to 3 years. It is given with a prescription and placed under the skin of your upper arm by a doctor or nurse.
Click-THE IMPLANT
THE IUS
the ius
The Hormonal Coil is a small, soft T-shaped plastic frame that releases low levels of a progestogen hormone for up to 3 to 5 years. It is given with a prescription and placed in your womb by a doctor or nurse.
Click-THE IUS
THE IUD
the iud
The Copper Coil is a small, T-shaped plastic frame that has a copper wire. It is given with a prescription and placed in your womb by a doctor or nurse, where it prevents pregnancy for up to 5 to 10 years.
Click-THE IUD
THE INJECTION
the injection
An injection containing hormone(s) that is given with a prescription and administered by a doctor or nurse every 8-13 weeks.
Click-THE INJECTION
The combined oral contraceptive pill
the cocp
COCPs are tablets which may have to be taken every day, releasing the hormones oestrogen and progestogen to prevent pregnancy. They are often referred to as the Pill and you will need a prescription from your healthcare professional for these.
Click-The combined oral contraceptive pill
The progestogen-only pill
the pop
POPs are tablets which have to be taken every day at the same time with no break between packs. These pills only contain a progestogen hormone and so they can be taken by women for whom oestrogen-containing options are not suitable. They are also known as the mini-pill and you will need a prescription from your healthcare professional for these.
Click-The progestogen-only pill
THE PATCH
the patch
A small, thin, skin-coloured plastic square that sticks to the skin and releases hormones. It is given with a prescription and can be self-administered once a week.
Click-THE PATCH
THE RING
the ring
A small, flexible ring that is self-administered with a prescription and placed in the vagina, where it releases hormones for 3 weeks.
Click-THE RING
THE DIAPHRAGM
the diaphragm
A silicone cup placed in the vagina that prevents sperm from reaching the womb. Though some are fitted by a doctor or nurse, most are self-administered with a prescription up to 24 hours before sex.
Click-THE DIAPHRAGM
THE MALE CONDOM
the male condom
A sheath placed over the erect penis to stop sperm from reaching the vagina it is also the only method that helps lower the risk of STIs. It is self-administered and bought over the counter.
Click-THE MALE CONDOM
THE FEMALE CONDOM
the female condom
An internal condom that works in the same way male condoms do, though it is placed in the vagina. It is self-administered and bought over the counter.
Click-THE FEMALE CONDOM
WITHDRAWAL
withdrawal
Also known as ‘The pull-out method’, this self-directed method involves withdrawing the penis prior to ejaculation to avoid pregnancy.
Click-WITHDRAWAL
NATURAL PLANNING
natural planning
Self-directed methods of avoiding pregnancy that include menstrual cycle tracking and body temperature measurements to identify fertile days.
Click-NATURAL PLANNING
SPERMICIDE
spermicide
Creams, films, foams, gels and suppositories that contain chemicals to stop or kill sperm. These are bought over the counter and are self-administered.
Click-SPERMICIDE
FEMALE STERILISATION
female sterilisation
Female sterilisation is a permanent procedure. Once it’s done, it’s done.
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MALE STERILISATION
male sterilisation
Male sterilisation is a permanent procedure. Once it’s done, it’s done.
Click-MALE STERILISATION
THE IMPLANT
the implant
The contraceptive implant is long-acting and lasts up to 3 years once placed.
Click-THE IMPLANT
THE IUS
the ius
The intrauterine system is small, soft, flexible and long-acting. Once placed it is effective for 3 to 5 years.
Click-THE IUS
THE IUD
the iud
The intrauterine device is long-acting and lasts anywhere between 5 and 10 years once placed.
Click-THE IUD
THE INJECTION
the injection
The contraceptive injection is effective for up to 3 months at a time, but it’s important to get the injection from your doctor or nurse on time, every 8-13 weeks depending on the type you are on.
Click-THE INJECTION
The combined oral contraceptive pill
the cocp
The pill should be taken at the same time every day.
Click-The combined oral contraceptive pill
The progestogen-only pill
the pop
The mini-pill should be taken at the same time every day.
Click-The progestogen-only pill
THE PATCH
the patch
The patch needs to be changed weekly in order to be effective.
Click-THE PATCH
THE RING
the ring
The ring needs to be left in placed in the vagina for 3 weeks. It is removed during the fourth week, before being replaced at the start of another 4-week cycle.
Click-THE RING
THE DIAPHRAGM
the diaphragm
The diaphragm needs to be placed in the vagina up to 18 hours before each time you have intercourse.
Click-THE DIAPHRAGM
THE MALE CONDOM
the male condom
The male condom needs to be placed over the penis each time before you have intercourse.
Click-THE MALE CONDOM
THE FEMALE CONDOM
the female condom
The female condom needs to be inserted in the vagina each time before you have intercourse.
Click-THE FEMALE CONDOM
WITHDRAWAL
withdrawal
Withdrawal needs to be performed during intercourse, each time.
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NATURAL PLANNING
natural planning
Natural planning methods vary in terms of how much attention they need, but it’s important to be aware of your fertile days and to use additional contraception on these days.
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SPERMICIDE
spermicide
Spermicide needs to be applied each time before you have intercourse.
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FEMALE STERILISATION
>99%
Female sterilisation is a permanent and the most effective method of contraception.
Click-FEMALE STERILISATION
MALE STERILISATION
>99%
Male sterilisation is a permanent and the most effective method of contraception.
Click-MALE STERILISATION
THE IMPLANT
>99%
The contraceptive implant releases a progestogen to stop sperm from fertilizing an egg. It is a reversible and one of the most effective methods of contraception.
Click-THE IMPLANT
THE IUS
>99%
The soft, flexible intrauterine system releases a progestogen to stop sperm from fertilizing an egg. It is a reversible and one of the most effective methods of contraception.
Click-THE IUS
THE IUD
>99%
The intrauterine device uses copper ions to prevent sperm from moving and fertilizing an egg. It is a reversible and one of the most effective methods of contraception.
Click-THE IUD
THE INJECTION
94%
All contraceptive injections contain a progestogen to stop sperm from fertilizing an egg. It is very effective if always administered on time.
Click-THE INJECTION
The combined oral contraceptive pill
91%
The combined contraceptive pill contains a progestogen which stops sperm from fertilising an egg, and oestrogen, which prevents ovaries from releasing an egg. It is very effective when taken as directed.
Click-The combined oral contraceptive pill
The progestogen-only pill
91%
Progestogen-only pill contains a progestogen to stop sperm from fertilising an egg. It is very effective when taken as directed.
Click-The progestogen-only pill
THE PATCH
91%
The patch releases a daily dose of hormones into your blood steam and prevents the ovary from releasing an egg. It is an effective method of contraception.
Click-THE PATCH
THE RING
91%
The ring releases hormones which prevent the ovary from releasing an egg. It is an effective method of contraception.
Click-THE RING
THE DIAPHRAGM
88%
The diaphragm prevents sperm from entering the uterus. It is even more effective when used with spermicide.
Click-THE DIAPHRAGM
THE MALE CONDOM
82%
The male condom prevents sperm from reaching the uterus. It is a fairly effective method of contraception. It is the only method that protects from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Click-THE MALE CONDOM
THE FEMALE CONDOM
79%
The female condom prevents sperm from reaching the uterus. It is less effective than other methods of contraception. It is the only method that protects from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Click-THE FEMALE CONDOM
WITHDRAWAL
78%
Withdrawal must be done properly and in a timely manner, and is therefore less effective as a method of contraception.
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NATURAL PLANNING
76%
The efficacy of natural planning depends on the chosen method used. For the most part, it is less effective at preventing pregnancy.
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SPERMICIDE
72%
Spermicide prevents sperm from passing through the cervix, but it is not the most effective when used on its own.
Click-SPERMICIDE
FEMALE STERILISATION
NO
Female sterilisation is hormone-free.
Click-FEMALE STERILISATION
MALE STERILISATION
NO
Male sterilisation is hormone-free.
Click-MALE STERILISATION
THE IMPLANT
YES
The contraceptive implant releases a progestogen throughout the entire body.
Click-THE IMPLANT
THE IUS
YES
The intrauterine system releases a low dose of a progestogen from its small, flexible plastic frame, acting mainly locally within the womb.
Click-THE IUS
THE IUD
NO
The intrauterine device is hormone free and contains copper, acting mainly locally within the womb.
Click-THE IUD
THE INJECTION
YES
The contraceptive injection contains a progestogen hormone that is released throughout the entire body.
Click-THE INJECTION
The combined oral contraceptive pill
YES
The pill contains two different hormones – a progestogen and oestrogen – which are released throughout the body.
Click-The combined oral contraceptive pill
The progestogen-only pill
YES
The mini-pill contains a progestogen hormone which is released throughout the body.
Click-The progestogen-only pill
THE PATCH
YES
The patch continuously releases hormones – estrogen and a progestogen – throughout the entire body.
Click-THE PATCH
THE RING
YES
The ring releases a low dose of a progestogen and estrogen.
Click-THE RING
THE DIAPHRAGM
NO
The diaphragm is hormone-free and works best when it is used with spermicide.
Click-THE DIAPHRAGM
THE MALE CONDOM
NO
The male condom is hormone-free.
Click-THE MALE CONDOM
THE FEMALE CONDOM
NO
The female condom is hormone-free.
Click-THE FEMALE CONDOM
WITHDRAWAL
NO
Withdrawal is hormone-free.
Click-WITHDRAWAL
NATURAL PLANNING
NO
Natural planning is hormone-free.
Click-NATURAL PLANNING
SPERMICIDE
NO
Spermicide is hormone-free, but does contain chemicals.
Click-SPERMICIDE

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Report possible side effects

If you want to report a side effect of medication, please contact your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. This includes any possible side effects not listed in your contraception package leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the MHRA Yellow Card Scheme at https://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/ or search MHRA Yellow Card in Google Play or Apple App Store.
By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of medicines.