Your guide to contraception
This leaflet shows the available contraceptive methods, explains how they work,
how effective they are and the main advantages and disadvantages. The figures
quoted in this leaflet for how well each method works are based on extensive
Contraception needs to be used until the menopause. That is, until a woman has
not had a period for two years if aged under 50, and for one year if over 50. This
advice may be different for women using hormonal contraception.
Q: How do I choose which method to use?
A: 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 the contraception that suits you. (See methods at the back) You can
also talk to a health care provider to help you choose.
Some of the things you might want to think about are when choosing a contraceptive method:
If you (and 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 like
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 longterm methods like the coil or the implants
If you are concerned, about side effects from 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 Tuba ligation 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.
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 duel protection.
This is often the most effective way to keep both pregnancy and disease at bay
Q: Is contraception free and where can I go to get it?
A: You can obtain free contraception, including emergency contraception,
– All government hospitals clinics and dispensaries
– Youth friendly organizations and health care facilities (these will have an upper age limit)
– Call Aunty Jane Hotline to get information about services near you (0800 721 530)
Q: What is emergency contraception?
A: 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) or The emergency IUD which may stop an egg
being fertilized or implanting. If you act quickly, emergency contraception will usually prevent pregnancy.
Emergency contraception does not perform an abortion. It will not disrupt a pregnancy that has already taken
place (I.e. 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.
Q: When can a woman get pregnant?
A: A woman can get pregnant anytime during her menstrual cycle. However, some days are more likely
than other days.
– 10 days after birth
– 10 days after a safe abortion
– 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 ones around the ovulation day, which is
normally 14 days after the 1st day of the last menstrual period, 3 days before ovulation and 4 days after
ovulation. 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.
Q: Can I use breastfeeding as a form of contraception?
A: 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 (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.
Q: What if I become pregnant?
A: 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 a SAFE abortion
– Continue with the pregnancy and have the baby adopted.
– Call Aunty Jane on 0800 721 530 for support on the choice you make
Q: Sexually transmitted infections
A: 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.