There are a range of different contraceptive options currently available in the UK. The type that works best for you will depend on your health and circumstances.
The Contraception choices tool can help you find out which methods of contraception:
- may be best for you
- are most effective at preventing pregnancy
The Contraception tool infographic shows you how many women may get pregnant in a year using each method.
Sexual health charities Brook and FPA also have a contraception tool:
Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if the contraception you have used has failed – for example, a condom has split or you have missed a pill.
There are 2 types of emergency contraception:
- the emergency contraceptive pill – Levonelle or ellaOne (the "morning after" pill)
- the intrauterine device (IUD or coil)
Emergency Hormonal contraception can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. Some pills can be used up to five days afterwards. A copper coil can be inserted up to five days afterwards to prevent implantation.
More information on emergency contraception is available on the NHS.uk website.
The contraceptive pill
There are two types of contraceptive pills.
The combined pill is usually just called the pill. It contains two hormones – estrogen and progestogen. These are similar to the natural hormones produced by the ovaries. If the combined pill is always used perfectly, according to instructions, it’s over 99% effective.
The progestogen only pill (POP) contains a progestogen hormone. This is similar to the natural progesterone produced by the ovaries. POPs are different to combined pills because they don’t contain the hormone estrogen. If the POP is always used perfectly, according to instructions, it’s over 99% effective. This means that less than one POP user in 100 will get pregnant in one year. If the POP is not always used according to instructions, about nine in 100 POP users will get pregnant in one year.
Where can I get the pill?
Whether you know which type of contraception you would like, or need further support with your options, a sexual health clinic, local pharmacy or your GP will be able to discuss your choices with you.
We are pleased to announce that Worcestershire Integrated Sexual Health Services are working with a number of local pharmacies on a pilot to increase access to oral contraception. A list of pharmacies can be found on the pharmacies page.
I have missed my pill. What should I do?
Missing pills or starting the pack late may make the pill less effective. The chance of pregnancy after missing pills depends on:
- when pills are missed and
- how many pills are missed.
Missing one pill anywhere in your pack or starting the new pack one day late isn’t a problem. You’ll still have contraceptive cover. Missing two or more pills or starting the pack two or more days late may affect your contraceptive cover.
Please refer to the NHS website for information on what to do if you have missed your progestogen-only pill (PoP) or combined pill.
Fitting the implant
Implants are a very popular choice of contraception. We suggest you read the FPA Implant Leaflet which contains lots of useful information about this method. If you are unsure whether you are suitable for this method then please call us and a phone consultation can be arranged. In order to have an implant fitted we need to be very sure that there is no chance that you could be pregnant.
- If you have not had sex since your last period and if you continue to abstain (this means not even sex with a condom) then please ring us
- If you are already on a pill or injection for more than 3 weeks and have not missed any pills or been late with an injection, then please ring us
- Please read the implant insertion consent form prior to your appointment
Replacing the implant
Implants are a very popular choice of contraception. We suggest you read the FPA Implant Leaflet which contains lots of useful information about this method.
If your implant is still in date please ring us. There is no need to abstain from sex before hand and the new implant will work immediately
- If your implant has expired and you have either not had sex at all since it expired or have used another method since e.g. pill / condom then please ring us. Please note that the new implant will take 7 days to work so you will need to use alternative contraception (e.g. pill or condom) during this time
- if you have not used an alternative method since it expired then ring us and we can discuss this further.
- Please read the implant removal and refit consent form prior to your appointment.
Removing the implant
If your implant has expired or you are planning a pregnancy, please ring us. If you are having any side effects from the implant such as bleeding problems, mood changes, pain around the implant or any other untoward side effects please call us and someone will ring you back within 48 hours
Please read the implant removal and refit consent form prior to your appointment.
Fitting the coil
Coils are very popular methods of contraception. There are two main types of coils
- Non hormonal (Intra-uterine device / copper coil). Please read the FPA leaflet for more information.
- Hormonal (Intra-uterine System / Mirena). Please read the FPA leaflet for more information.
If you would like a coil fitting please read the above leaflets and ring us. You will be put on the procedure waiting list but if you have questions or need another form of contraception in the meantime someone will call you back within 48 hours
Once you are the top of the waiting list you will receive a phone call and an appointment will be made within 4 weeks of that call. During this call you can ask any questions and you may be asked to access an online STI test.
We advise you take simple pain relief about 1-2 hours before a 'coil' fit eg paracetamol or ibuprofen.
In order to have a coil fitted we need to be very sure that there is no chance that you could be pregnant.
- If you have not had sex since your last period and if you continue to abstain (this means not even sex with a condom) then after discussion we could book a procedure slot for a coil fitting
- If you are already on a pill or injection for more than 3 weeks and have not missed any pills or been late with an injection, then after discussion we could book a procedure slot for a coil fitting
IUD insertion consent form (Copper Coil) - you need to read this prior to your appointment.
IUS insertion consent form (Hormonal Coil) - you need to read this prior to your appointment.
Complex Removal of a IUD or IUS Consent form - you need to read this prior to your appointment.
If you have just had the coil fitted find out more about post procedure advicelick Here for post procedure advice.
Read more on the pain associated with insertion of intrauterine contraception ('coils').
Replacing the coil
If your coil is in date and has not expired then please ring us. Even if your coil is in date we need you to abstain from sex (even with a condom) for 7 days before the fitting. You will be placed on the procedure waiting list and recive a call when you are at the top
If your coil has expired then please ring us.You will receive a call back within 48 hours and may be offered another method eg pills until we can see you.
Removing the coil
Coil removal is done by a very simple procedure where we insert a speculum to look at your cervix and locate the threads. We then gently pull on the threads to remove the device. To ensure no chance of pregnancy we request that you abstain from sex for 7 days prior to the removal. If you wish to just have a coil removed then please ring us and we can offer a face to face appointment. You will not be on the procedure waiting list for this
The contraceptive injection
Firstly we would advise you read the FPA Leaflet. This contains lots of really useful information about this popular method of contraception and who it is suitable for. If we are happy it is the method for you then if you have had no sex since your last period then we could give you an injection and we would advise you use extra-precautions for 7 days. (If you have the injection in the first 5 days of your cycle then it will work immediately).
If there is any chance of pregnancy then we would not give the depo that day. We may suggest you either abstain from sex for 3 weeks after your last unprotected sex and then return for a pregnancy test and if negative we can give you an injection. We may also suggest you go on a pill for 3 weeks and then return for a pregnancy test and if you have reliably used the pill and not missed any and your pregnancy test is negative then we would give you an injection. In both cases the depo would not work for the first 7 days and therefore we would be suggesting you either have no sex, use a condom or continue your pill for this time period.
Condoms (C-card scheme)
The C-card scheme provides an opportunity for young people to get free condoms from trained staff. This is to help young people keep safe and reduce teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Young people (up to and including 19 years of age) meet with a trained worker who discusses their relationship and when appropriate gives condoms.
All staff have experience of working with young people and are trained before giving condoms. Everything remains confidential, unless (on rare occasions) someone is at significant harm or risk, then safeguarding guidelines will be followed.
If you are a professional please see the professionals tab on the sexual health website homepage for more information.
Do you require emergency contraception?
If you have had sex without using contraception or not used a method properly, such as missing pills, or a condom splitting then you may need emergency contraception. Emergency Hormonal contraception can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. Some pills can be used up to five days afterward. A copper coil can be inserted up to five days afterward to prevent implantation.
If you think you need emergency contraception you should contact a sexual health clinic, or a local pharmacy as soon as possible.
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