Types of contraception

Male condom | Female condom | Pill | Injections | Other forms of contraception

Male condom

This is a thin latex rubber which, when placed over an erect penis, traps sperm at the point of ejaculation.

Apart from protecting you from an unplanned pregnancy, a condom will also help protect you from STIs.

Make sure to check the used by date and don't use oil based lubricants with it or he condom will be likely to break (use KY jelly instead).

And don’t forget - sharp jewellery & nails can easily tear condoms.

To check out a step-by-step guide to putting on a condom, click here.

Female condom

These are condoms made from polyurethane. Unlike the male condom, the female condom fits inside the vagina and overlaps the outer area to form a barrier contraceptive (i.e. stopping sperm from entering the vagina).

Apart from protecting you from an unwanted pregnancy, a female condom will also help protect you from STI's. However, make sure the penis goes inside the female condom and not down the side of it.

In Australia, female condoms are only available from Family Planning Associations and are more expensive than male condoms.

Pill

The Pill is the most foolproof method of contraception (though it won't protect you from HIV or STIs). It basically tricks your body into thinking you are pregnant so you don't ovulate (release an egg) and/or the cervical mucous (the natural substance that exists in a girl’s vagina) thickens which stops sperm from reaching an egg.

If you are on the Pill take one at the same time each day.

You can get the pill from:

  • Your doctor
  • Family Planning clinics
  • Marie Stopes International centres
  • Most chemists (but you need a prescription first)

Bonuses of the pill are that it:

  • Gives you regular periods
  • You bleed less
  • You get less or no cramping
  • If you have acne your skin can become clearer
  • Reduces the chances of you getting ovarian/endometrial cancer

But, sometimes the Pill can have side effects, for example:

  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Spots
  • Tearfulness

Some girls/women can't go on the Pill for specific medical reasons but a doctor will go through these before prescribing it.

Contraceptive injections

If you think you’ll forget to take the Pill, then contraceptive injections are a good alternative. A progesterone injection, usually in the upper bottom, will give you 12 - 14 weeks of contraceptive cover.

The injection works by thickening the mucous in your cervix to make a barrier, stopping the ovaries from releasing eggs and making the womb-lining thin and unfriendly so a fertilised egg is unable to implant.

Side effects can include headaches, weight gain or depression.

Contraceptive injections are available for your doctor or family planning association. But....don't forget to get your next shot!

Other types of contraception

Following are are list of other contraceptive methods available from your doctor or a sexual health clinic. However, many are not suitable for girls or young women and are probably options you'll choose later in your life:

IUD (Intrauterine device): This is a small plastic/copper device, usually shaped like a 'T', that is placed inside a woman by a doctor to stop fertilisation. It can stay in place for up to five years.

IUS (Intrauterine system): This is a small plastic device which contains the hormone progestogen (or a progestogen-like hormone). It is placed inside a woman by a doctor. It can stay in place for up to five years.

Implant: An implant is a small soft tube the size of a matchstick, which is placed by a doctor under the skin of the upper arm. It then releases a steady flow of hormones which thicken the lining of the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to meet the egg. It lasts for around three years.

Diaphragm/cap: This is a round dome made of rubber that is used with spermicidal cream, it's placed over the cervix and stops sperm entering the womb area. It’s inserted shortly before sex and must stay in for six hours after sex.

Remember - none offer protection against STIs and HIV and are therefore better used when you have a long term partner.
 

More Information

For more information on Contraception visit our new website: www.contraceptioninfo.com.au

Contraception Information WebsiteDesigned to introduce you to the different contraceptive methods available and to help you reach an informed decision about your options.