The essential guide to birth control - choosing the best method of contraceptive

The essential guide to birth control - choosing the best method of contraceptive

Are you using the best method of contraception for you and your family planning aims?

We all understand the importance of eating well, exercise and looking after our health, but how many of us actively reassess our methods of contraception as our lifestyles change.

What makes a type of birth control right for you for preventing pregnancy or effective family planning. A busy work and home life, regular travel, and enjoying 'singledom' can all impact on the type of birth control that works best for us. Choosing a contraception method that is relevant to you is a personal choice, and needs to be determined by careful consideration of both an individuals needs and the family's goals.

By narrowing down what your family planning goals are, you will be able to select the right method of contraception for you. But where do you start? is a free service that assists you with making the right decision about birth control methods, by providing you with the most up to date information available. It also helps you to clarify in your head your own needs, by having you answer a questionnaire, which you can then take to a consultation with your local GP.

Some methods of contraception are less than 50% effective others are over 99% effective.

The contraceptive pill a.k.a 'the pill'

For birth control, the pill if used correctly can provide you with over 99% effectiveness at preventing pregnancy. However they need to be taken as directed for them to be truly effective.

The pill needs to be taken everyday at roughly the same time. The oral contraceptive pill may contain one or two hormones. The combined contraceptive pill has both hormones Oestrogen and Progestogen, the mini pill contains only Progestogen. If you are a nursing mother you can take the mini pill only.

The birth control ring

Another very effective method of contraception is the birth control ring. It provides you with 99.3% effectiveness for preventing pregnancy. The contraceptive ring is a small flexible ring that you insert directly into your vagina. The birth control ring works by releasing hormones similar to those found in 'the pill'.

Once the birth control ring is inserted it lasts for 3 weeks, in the fourth week, the ring is removed and you have your period. Once the fourth week is completed your next birth control ring is inserted and you begin again. This is a great option for women who don't have a regular routine, or find they tend to miss pills. The other advantage is that the birth control ring needs smaller doses of hormones to work effectively because the hormones are released directly into the blood vessels in the vaginal wall.

Companies that supply the birth control ring also offer a service where they will remind you to insert the next birth control ring through SMS options.

The contraception implant and hormone injections.

The contraceptive implant is a rod that is inserted into your arm by your doctor, and provides continual effectiveness for preventing pregnancy for 3 years. The rod is implanted into your arm, you will be able to feel it, but you will not be able to see it. This method of contraception is good for women who want to space out their children, or for women who will not want to have children for a 3 year time frame.

The hormone injection is an injection of hormones that provides a longer active alternative to the oral contraceptive pill. The injection is administered every 3 months, one you have received the injection it cannot be reversed and after multiple injections it may take you up to 18 months to return to natural fertility, this needs to be taken into consideration when family planning.

Barrier methods or the male and female condoms

The male condom is 98% effective, but only if worn correctly, they also protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDS). If you have multiple partners condoms are a preferred form of protection. However it is beneficial for you to use both condoms and a hormonal method of contraception if you want to maximize the effectiveness of birth control to prevent pregnancy.

The female condom is a vaginal liner that offers an alternative to male condoms. As with male condoms they are only effective if properly worn, and also offer you protection for STD's. They are best used in conjunction with hormonal birth control for preventing pregnancy.

Empower yourself and your family . It is a free service that helps you to take control of your own sexual health and contraceptive needs.