Many of us assess ALL the things in the New Year – house insurance, health cover premiums, heck, even our credit card interest rate (ouch, Christmas!) so why not add our contraception to the list too? Especially so if you’ve been feeling a little meh with your current method of NOT having a baby. Seize the day!
If you’re not actively planning a pregnancy, you’re generally doing something to prevent it. And if you’re not, well you’re a hardcore risk-taker when it comes to sexy time!
First and foremost, it’s best to choose a contraceptive method that best meets our needs and circumstances. If you’re the kind of chick who struggles to remember your phone number or what you had for lunch yesterday, taking a pill that DEPENDS on you taking it at the same time every day for effectiveness might not be such a great idea. Just sayin’.
So what ARE the contraception choices out there these days? With the help of Family Planning NSW, let’s take a little nooky-looky at these top picks:
GOOD FOR: Spur of the moment, semi-unplanned sexual encounters
If sexual encounters are few and far between, condoms could be a perfect contraceptive solution. And when used correctly, condoms can work a charm at preventing pregnancy. They can be a little bit of a mood-breaker though as you fumble around in the dark and wonder if packet lube is going to stain your sheets or if they really ARE ribbed for your pleasure. Nonetheless, they’re 98% accurate in keeping pregnancy at bay. WHICH IS THE GOAL, right?
2. The hormonal intrauterine device (IUD)
GOOD FOR: Those who want a set and forget style contraceptive.
Mirena is a small T-shaped device that’s fitted inside your uterus. Over a five-year timeframe, it releases a very low dose of progestogen hormone. Periods usually become lighter (sometimes even stop). AND if you change your mind, you can have it removed at any time. Just be sure to keep an eye on it, unlike this lady.
3. The copper intrauterine device (IUD)
GOOD FOR: Those wanting no added hormones
A copper intrauterine device is fitted inside the uterus and is a powerhouse at keeping sperm from reaching the egg together with any fertilised egg from sticking to the wall of the uterus. This contraceptive has a five-year lifespan and contains no hormones so doesn’t mess with your cycle, BUT your period might become heavier.
4. The contraceptive implant
GOOD FOR: Someone who doesn’t want to be putting foreign objects in their lady garden
Fitted at the opposite end to the business quarters, Implanon NXT is inserted directly under the skin IN YOUR ARM. Yep, no need to get your undies off for this one. The implant lasts three years (can be removed earlier) and though will prevent pregnancy, will change your regular bleeding pattern – some will experience little or no period at all and in some cases, irregular or persistent bleeding.
5. Combined oral contraceptive pill
GOOD FOR: A super easy, non-surgical contraception option
“The Pill” as we know it is simply an oral contraceptive pill taken daily. Containing hormones oestrogen and a progestogen, similar to those naturally produced by us ladies. The birth control pill can also help with acne and heavy periods. You may want to read up on the birth control side effects, as they can vary from person to person. For preventing pregnancy, it relies on regular and consistent daily use to be effective.
6. Progestogen-only contraceptive pill
GOOD FOR: Breastfeeding mamas of newborns
Just like the regular pill, the progestogen-only pill (aka the mini-pill) needs to be taken daily to be effective. It doesn’t contain oestrogen, so won’t reduce your breastmilk supply!
GOOD FOR: Those who like to sleep on it. Literally.
A diaphragm is a soft dome-shaped silicone cap that acts as a barrier during sex. It can be inserted two hours before you get frisky with your partner, but it does have to stay in place for at least SIX hours after sex. For a diaphragm to be effective it needs to be the right size and fitted correctly every time. No pressure! SHEESH.
8. Emergency contraceptive pill
EFFECTIVENESS: 85% if taken within 72 hours
GOOD FOR: Those who NEED emergency contraception. STAT.
The emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) should never ever be regarded as a regular defence against pregnancy. But if you have had unprotected sex, you can take the ECP up to five days afterwards – HOWEVER, it’s MOST effective if taken in the first 24 hours.
GOOD FOR: Those who are 100% sure they don’t wish to have more (or any) children.
Having your tubes tied (tubal ligation) as a female or for males, having a vasectomy, is viewed as a permanent, surgical form of contraception. Reversals can be tricky, so you need to be VERY sure of your decision!
10. Withdrawal method
GOOD FOR: Giving yourself a heart attack every month when your period is late
This contraception method, though mildly successful is also fraught with danger. Particularly when things are getting spicy and in the heat of the moment your partner is a second or two too late OR FORGETS to withdraw. And spare a thought for your sheets. It absolutely shouldn’t be considered as trusty contraception!
11. Just don’t do the deed AT ALL
Abstinence, you can’t go wrong. Sleep with 635,436 layers of clothes on and just don’t do the deed at all. Pregnancy, shmegnancy. And let’s face it, when you’re deep in the trenches of parenting toddlers and juggling LIFE, it’s all too easy to say not tonight, honey….. especially when said toddlers are in and out of your bed ALL NIGHT LONG.
There you have it folks, 11 ways to prevent having a baby (with varying effectiveness). Of course, you should ALWAYS discuss your options and any concerns you might have with your health practitioner.