Contraception decision-making guide
What is contraception?
There are many different methods of contraception available, and the type that works best for you will depend on several factors, primarily your health goals and personal circumstances.
Below you will find some things to consider when deciding which method of contraception is right for you. We recommend that you read this information, and book an appointment at MSI Australia to discuss your options, if you’re still unsure. If you have made a decision, our doctors who are experts in contraception care can provide you with the method of your choice in a safe, non-judgemental and supportive environment.
The only way to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is by using a male or female condom every time you have sex. The following methods of contraception work to prevent pregnancy and some alleviate and regulate menstrual symptoms; however, they will not protect against STIs.
How effective do you need your contraception method to be?
One of the main considerations in deciding what contraception method is best for you is to compare how effective the different methods of contraception are, which is linked to how they work and how often they need to be used.
Effectiveness is calculated based on how many women get pregnant from the chosen method over a year. For example, if a method is 99% effective, one woman out of every 100 will get pregnant in a year.
Contraception methods can be rated by how effective they are when they are used correctly compared to how effective they are when they are used ‘typically.’ Some methods require the user to use them each time they have sex or each day. The ‘typical’ rate of people who have an unplanned pregnancy when using those types of methods can be higher if a pill is forgotten, accidentally skipped, or if other health issues make them less effective.
If preventing pregnancy is a high priority for you, then choosing a method that is reliable and has a high efficacy rate is a good place to
Contraceptive methods considered more than 99% effective if used correctly include:
- Contraceptive implant (Can last up to three years)
- Intrauterine system (IUS) (Can last up to five years)
- Intrauterine device (IUD) (Can last up to five to 10 years)
- Tubal ligation (permanent)
- Vasectomy (permanent)
Can you make contraception part of your daily routine?
Another important thing to consider is whether you prefer to have a daily contraception routine, or if it is more convenient for you to have a ‘set-and-forget’ method. For example, those with a busy schedule or who travel a lot may forget to take a pill every day or simply find it annoying to have to remember to pack or carry them. Forgetting to take, for example, the Mini (progesterone only) Pill, at the same time each day can have a big impact on how effective it is.
In these cases, you may want to consider:
- A method that is only required when you have sex (e.g., male or female condom)
- Methods that are replaced weekly (e.g., contraceptive patch)
- Methods that are replaced monthly (e.g., vaginal ring)
- Methods renewed every two to three months (e.g., contraceptive injection)
- Methods that can last between three to ten years (e.g., contraceptive implant/IUD or IUS)
Are you comfortable with contraceptives that must be inserted into your vagina or uterus?
The following contraceptives can be self-inserted into the vagina:
- Vaginal ring
- Female condoms
- A diaphragm or cap
Longer-term options that a health professional must insert due to the contraceptive being placed within your uterus through the vagina include:
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Intrauterine system (IUS)
Do you need the method to manage other health issues like menstrual pain or regulation?
Some contraceptives can affect your period frequency, making them lighter or more infrequent. Others methods can create a heavier or more irregular flow.
- Menstrual regulation options
- Pain management and endometriosis:
More details about this in terms of your specific situation can be provided during an appointment with one of our doctors.
Based on varying lifestyle factors, some contraceptives may not be suitable for you. For these reasons, it is important to be aware of the following:
- Those over 35 who smoke should only consider specific types of contraceptives
- Weight will not affect most types of contraception; however, the contraceptive injection may cause a small amount of weight gain if used for longer than two years
- Contraceptives that use hormones such as oestrogen and progestogen are not suitable for women with specific medical conditions, including breast cancer
- Some contraceptives can be affected by other medicines
Will you want to get pregnant one day?
You can stop all contraception if you decide to get pregnant, with fertility usually returning to normal within the first month. The fastest methods to have fertility return include:
- Contraceptive implant
- Progestogen-only pill
- Diaphragm or cap
- Male or female condom
The one exception to the above is the contraceptive injection which can take a few months, up to a year, for fertility to return to normal. Permanent methods are of course not appropriate for people who may yet want to conceive as reversal is not guaranteed to be successful and can be quite expensive.
Book an appointment at MSI Australia to find the best option for you today
Our clinics offer a full range of contraception options and experts who will discuss your needs, lifestyle factors and comfort levels to find the right contraception option for you. So, book an appointment today and let the experts at MSI Australia ensure you have complete control of your reproductive life.