Contraception guide

Your contraception guide

Welcome to the contraception guide

"Where can I get contraception?" "Which method of contraception suits me?" "I'm under 16 – can I get contraception?"

Whatever questions you have about getting and using contraception, this guide can help. It aims to give practical information to everyone who wants to know more about contraception, including teenagers; women in their 20s, 30s and 40s; and anyone with a question about the method they use or are thinking about using.

You can find out about the 15 methods that are available on the NHS, together with where to get them and how to decide which method might work best for you.

Finding your way around

Use the big blue tabs at the top of the page to see a full menu for each section of the contraception guide. If you can't find what you are after, try the 'search' box at the top of the page – it covers everything on the NHS Choices site.

When you are on a page you like, be sure to check out the useful links and videos on the right-hand side.

Popular subjects and pages

You can start by finding out about the methods of contraception you can choose from, including how they work, who can use them and possible side effects. These methods are: 

There are two permanent methods of contraception:

You can also find out about:

Deciding which method suits you

Which method works best for you depends on a number of factors, including your age, whether you smoke, your medical and family history, and any medication you're taking. Find out what you need to think about in Which method suits me?

Where you can get contraception and emergency contraception

Contraception is free on the NHS. Find out where to get contraception, and search by postcode to find:

You can also find out where to get emergency contraception – the 'morning after pill' or the IUD (coil).

Common questions about contraception

Get answers to some common questions about getting and using contraception, including:

Page last reviewed: 11/02/2013

Next review due: 11/02/2015

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Comments

The 10 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

skyscraper822 said on 24 October 2014

Hi all, not being rude or something like that but I think you all really should consider before having the sterilization thing because you all are SO lucky to be able to have children some people-like me for example- cannot have children and if I could then I would protest against all these preventions, I know I do not have the right and maybe some of you are doing it for the correct reason , I dont know but if you're just doing it just because your partner/boyfriend doesn't want children, then maybe you should consider because you don't know how lucky you are, and one more thing, if you're not ready for sex and keep on asking yourself questions or are nervous then maybe you're not ready at all, consider yourself lucky having children. I would've given anything to have children, you all having the contraceptions (just to prevent having a first child without any medical reason) should seriously ask yourself, "What if I want children later, am I ready for this?"
I'm sorry if I've offended anyone in any way. Thanks.

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abbi1987 said on 25 September 2014

Ive been on so many types of contraception ive forgotten half of them. Ive had enough of all contraception.
Pill - (been on 5 different ones last one was cerazette) simply because I forget. After 2 (happy) accidental pregnancies I wont be using it again.
Injection - went from size 12 to a 16 within 4 months. No amount of dieting helped, Stopped it and within 6 months I was back to a 12 but then fell pregnant with 3rd baby.
Implant - after a course of cerazette I had the implant and I thought WOW!!!! Only had it out cause I wanted another baby but then I realised I had a sex drive again aswell. I like sex so wont be on that again.
Mirena Coil - well what can I say except -
Migranes
Belly ache
Bloating
Ovary pain
Moodyness
Hormonal
Depression
and worst of all Ive started growing facial hair. Im 27. My hubby dont mind but I do. Its not really visable but I know its there.
Ive had enough, I want it out, I DONT want more children but I dont want the hubby to have a vasectomy because I dont want to resent him. I cant say that I would never hold it against him in a bout of depression. Id like to think I wouldnt but Ive said horrible things in the past when ive been very low. Im happy to be sterilised but dont want blockers, I want the tubes cut. Drs say im too young and when I begged they wanted me to have the blocker coil thing in under local anesthetic. I want general anesthetic and if I could I would have hysterectomy, I know im lucky to be able to have children but I prey for an early menopause every day. Hate contraception and right now I hate being a woman :(

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sillitoe89 said on 21 July 2014

aph1500 said on 23 March 2013:

There are latex free condoms which you can purchase quite easily from anywhere you can get condoms, really. The psychological hill your partner needs to overcome when dealing with condoms is also WAY easier than dealing with raising a child for the next 18 years, dealing with STIs or the very real physical reactions one can have from hormone-altering contraception.

I get putting on a condom and pausing the foreplay can be a bit of a mood damper, but only if you two let it be one. Make it part of the foreplay. Communication is also essential--coldly stopping what you're doing and sliding on a condom can be rather clinical. Talk to your partner so you can both work to maintain the erection. Make using condoms sexy, not just a necessary evil when having sex.

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Leash91 said on 07 July 2014

SO FED UP! I started using the pill ages ago but I kept bleeding so my doctor told me to stop taking it so I decided to have the injection! 2 months on I'm still bleeding :(

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notsoyummymummy said on 18 June 2014

Until recently I was on the Cilest contraceptive pill, but moved onto the Cerazette as i was suffering with migraines. I was having a conversation with my mum about the pill, and she said that she had always suffered with moodiness and low temperament on the pill, and since my sister has come off of it she has also been feeling a lot better. It got me thinking and I realized I'm not always in the best of moods and I'm sad to say it, but I may take it out on my son and i feel so terrible. (Please do not get me wrong, I do not lay a finger on him, I just raise my voice and tell him off for no real reason.) My fiance notices it and feels as though I don't love him or want to be with him anymore, but that is definitely not the case, I just can't seem to shake the terrible moods. I have been told in the past by doctors that I don't have depression, which I'm over the moon about as it runs in the family.
Can someone please advise me on where to go next?
I've had the implant before but I always bled so ended up on the pill as well, so there was no point.
I don't want the coil as we're hoping to have another child in the near future and don't want to put myself through all that when it's not going to be long lasting.
I have used the injection before, and I got on ok with that. A little weight gain, but that could have had something to do with my ex being a feeder. Does the injection contain the same as the pill?
I have an appointment to see my doctor within the next couple of weeks, but am just looking for some answers so I can maybe be prepared when i go to see him/her.
Any advice would be accepted, I'm just longing to be the happy and fun mum that I've always wanted to be.
I don't want the way I am to affect my son in any way, nor do I want him growing up remembering the bad times when mummy was always sad. I love my family to bits and can't bear the thought of losing them.
Sorry for the essay, but thank you for reading and getting this far!

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solutionz said on 30 April 2014

Has anyone ever reported of getting pregnant while still on contraceptive injection?

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missmiki said on 28 January 2014

"Tabatha1326 said on 11 December 2013
Myself and my partner want to have sex, but he refuses to wear a condom, what should I do?"

You could try a female contraceptive like the Pill. However, why does he refuse to wear a condom? I wouldn't like to judge too harshly, but maybe he should reconsider. Things like the Pill can affect a woman more than a lot of men know; does he know of the side effects? The potentially irregular bleeding, etc?
Also, just remember that only condoms protect against STDs.

Some men (so I'm told) think that the Pill is just an easy contraceptive for a girl to use so they can go condom-free. Understandably it feels better for them, but side effects and issues need to be considered and sometimes they overlook that.
Like I said, I don't know the situation so I can't really judge at all.

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Tabatha1326 said on 11 December 2013

Myself and my partner want to have sex, but he refuses to wear a condom, what should I do?

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User766646 said on 21 April 2013

aph1500 said on 23 March 2013:
"So what do I do when none of these work for me?
Condoms - latex intolerant, partner unfortunately can't stay hard wearing them either. Female condoms are too uncomfortable for me to wear and are a 'turn off' to my partner and i as they look very unslightly.
Pill - tried 3 different ones now and the hormones made me severely depressed. Also not allowed estrogen as am overweight.
Patch, implant, shot, non copper IUD/IUS etc - same as above. They contain the same hormones.
Diaphragm, cap, sponge - these use spermicides which I can't use due to them causing me yeast infections
Copper IUD - I have metal allergies so obviously this wouldn't be an option
The only thing I can think of is sterlization but obviously this isn't reversible and I am just 19 so I'm not old enough to have this done anyway...
Please somebody help. I'm so miserable because I can't do one of the most basic things a human can do... please don't suggest non penetrative sex as I can't have oral sex and fingering does nothing for me...."

Well, if you and your boyfriend really don't want to get pregnant I'm afraid he wll have to 'suck it up' and get used to the female condom. It's just tough. You're possibly leaving yourself no option here otherwise!
You could see your doctor about trying the morning after pill as a long-term solution - I don't know if that is an option you could try or if there are affects to long term use - do your research.
You could do the old fashioned natural way, which is only effective if used properly, which is to make records or your periods and make sure you don't engage in sex when you are ovulating.
Some try 'pulling out' when he is going to ejaculate but this isn't fool proof.

Go see your GP or family planning clinic for advice.

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aph1500 said on 23 March 2013

So what do I do when none of these work for me?
Condoms - latex intolerant, partner unfortunately can't stay hard wearing them either. Female condoms are too uncomfortable for me to wear and are a 'turn off' to my partner and i as they look very unslightly.
Pill - tried 3 different ones now and the hormones made me severely depressed. Also not allowed estrogen as am overweight.
Patch, implant, shot, non copper IUD/IUS etc - same as above. They contain the same hormones.
Diaphragm, cap, sponge - these use spermicides which I can't use due to them causing me yeast infections
Copper IUD - I have metal allergies so obviously this wouldn't be an option
The only thing I can think of is sterlization but obviously this isn't reversible and I am just 19 so I'm not old enough to have this done anyway...
Please somebody help. I'm so miserable because I can't do one of the most basic things a human can do... please don't suggest non penetrative sex as I can't have oral sex and fingering does nothing for me....

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Where to get contraception

Find out where you can go to get information about contraception, and to get the method you choose

Contraception clinics

Find out what information and services you can expect from a contraception clinic

Services near you