Your guide to Contraception

Use and Choice

There are many different contraceptive methods available.

Here we discuss the available methods, points to consider when choosing a contraception method, explains how they work, how effective they are and the main advantages and disadvantages.

Contraception should be used by all women who are sexual and do not want to get pregnant up until they reach menopause.

How do I choose which method to use?

Answer: There are so many methods of contraception to choose from it is worth taking the time to find out more about each one so that you can choose contraception that suits you, (see methods as you continue reading). You can also talk to a healthcare provider to help you choose.

Some of the things you might want to think about are when choosing a contraceptive method:

  • If you (& your partner) want to become pregnant fairly soon, then you may want to choose short term methods like the pill, condoms or a method that is long term but fertility comes back almost immediately Iike the coil or implant.
  • If you (and your partner) wants to get pregnant many years away or not at all you may want to choose long term methods Iike the coil or the implants.
  • If you are concerned about the side effects of hormonal methods. You could choose non hormonal methods like the copper T-coil and condoms (NB the coil Mirena contains some hormones).
  • If you and your partner do not want to get any children AT ALL or have had the number of children you want you could consider choosing a permanent method like Tubaligation commonly referred to as TL for women, or Vasectomy for men. (These two methods are irreversible).

Other things to consider:

  • How you (and a partner) want contraception to fit your lifestyle.
  • Whether you (and a partner) want to use the method every day, every time you have sex or less often.
  • Whether your main concern is prevention of pregnancy, prevention of disease or both. If you do not know your partner’S HIV status or are worried that he has other partners condoms could be your best method of contraception. Use of a method of contraception like the pill combined with condoms is called "Dual protection". This is often the most effective way to keep both pregnancy and disease at bay.
Is contraception free, and where can i go to get it?

Answer: You can obtain free contraception, including emergency contraception, from:

  • All government hospitals clinics and dispensaries.
  • Youth friendly organizations and health care facilities (these will have an upper age limit).
What is emergency contraception?

Answer: The emergency contraceptive pill is a tablet containing the hormone progestogen. It works by delaying the release of an egg. It may also stop a fertilized egg settling (implanting) in the uterus. It must be taken within three days (72 hours) of having unprotected sex. In case of rape or if you have had unprotected sex (sex without using contraception / protection  condom) or if think your contraception might have failed (condom burst), you can use Emergency Contraception (EC/E-Pill). If you act quickly, emergency contraception will usually prevent pregnancy.

NOTE:
Emergency contraception does not perform an abortion. It will not disrupt a pregnancy that has already taken place (the implantation has already happened). Emergency contraception should only be used in times of emergency and should not be used as a regular form of contraception.

When can a woman get pregnant?

Answer: A woman can get pregnant anytime during her menstrual cycle. But some days are more likely than others. 85 % of sexually active women who do not use contraception will get pregnant within one year. There are days within the cycle that are referred as fertile days. On these days a woman is most likely to get pregnant if she has unprotected sex. The most fertile days are the seven days in the middle of the menstrual cycle around the ovulation day. The rest of the days are known as safe days. On these days a woman is less likely to get pregnant but this is not 100% the case.

THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE:

  • Day 11-18 are the days with most likelihood to get pregnant also known as fertile days or unsafe days.
  • This cycle represents a menstruation cycle for someone with a 28 day cycle.
  • People with longer cycle can get their date of ovulation by dividing the number of days of their cycle by 2. The day in the middle of the cycle is their ovulation days and unsafe days or fertile days would be 3 days before this day and 4 days after.
  • For Individuals with irregular cycles or short safe and unsafe days do not apply.
Can I use breastfeeding as a form of contraception ?

Answer: Breastfeeding can be used as a form of preventing pregnancy only if:

  • You are fully breastfeeding - this means you are not giving your baby any other liquid or solid food (breastfeeding at least eight times in a day).
  • You are nearly fully breastfeeding - this means mainly breastfeeding your baby and infrequently giving your baby other liquids.
  • Your baby is less than six months old.
  • Your periods have not resumed.
  • Breastfeeding as a method of contraception has low effectiveness. This means there is stiII a likelihood that a woman will get pregnant when using this method correctly.
What if I become pregnant?

Answer: No method of contraception is 100%. If you think you could be pregnant, do a pregnancy test as soon as possible. If you are pregnant you need to think about what you want to do. You can choose to:

  • Continue with the pregnancy and keep the baby.
  • End the pregnancy by having SAFE abortion.
  • Continue with the pregnancy and have the baby adopted.
Can a person get Sexually transmitted disease while using a method of Contraception?

Answer: Most methods of contraception do not protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Male and female condoms, when used correctly and consistently, can help protect against sexually transmitted infections. One can also use condoms in addition to another method of contraception. This is called dual protection.

Please remember
  1. Natural methods have a high failure rate. Out of 10 girls who use this method 3 will get pregnant.
  2. If you would like to use the safe days method make sure you are counting the correct way. Very often girls count the wrong way and get pregnant. You can call Aunty Jane for information on how to correctly count safe days. {call for free : 0800721530)
  3. No method is 100% effective.
  4. Any method is only effective if used correctly and consistently.
  5. No one method is the best, for everyone a method is.
  6. You should discuss and seek advice from a health care provider (where possible) to choose a method that is suitable for you.
  7. Different methods may suit you at different times in your life Condoms provide the best available protection against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STls). And can be used together with any other method mentioned above for dual protection.

NOTE:
Hormonal methods may have some effect for some women but the side effects are manageable and none of them are life threatening.

Methods of Contraception