Which Birth Control Method Should I Use?
- Oral Contraceptive Pill
The contraceptive pill is 99% effective if taken consistently according to instructions. The pill also regulates the menstrual cycle, lightens the flow and helps reduce menstrual cramps. It cannot be used when breastfeeding, or in women who smoke, have a history of breast or cervical cancer or deep vein thrombosis.
- Hormonal Injections
Hormonal injections are 99% effective and are administered every 3 months. They may cause side effects such as irregular menstrual cycle, weight gain and mood swings.
- Intrauterine Device (IUD)
Copper intrauterine devices are 97% effective and easily inserted in a clinic without the need for anaesthesia. They may result in heavier menstruation with cramping during the first few months, and will need to be replaced every 3 –5 years.
A hormonal intrauterine device is more effective at 99.9% but may cause an irregular, light menstrual cycle.
- Hormonal Implant
This is small, silicone tube containing a progesterone hormone that is placed in the arm just below the skin surface. It is 99.9% effective but may result in irregular menstrual cycles.
While reliable in preventing an unwanted pregnancy, these birth control methods do not protect against sexually transmitted infections, and should be used in conjunction with condoms during sex.
Selecting the most suitable birth control method should begin with a discussion together with your partner and doctor. The appropriate method will vary with individuals depending on your medical history, lifestyle, duration of contraception use, usage compliance and level of effectiveness.