What is contraception?

Contraception is a method of birth control used to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. If you are having unprotected intercourse, it could lead to pregnancy, but if you want to avoid it, you can choose from one of the birth control methods to prevent and eliminate the possibility of pregnancies

The best contraception options

Barrier Method

  • Male and female condoms: Barrier methods involve male and female condoms. This is a use-and-throw contraception method that’s used during intercourse. This is also the only method that prevents STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Condoms can be used along with other methods of contraception to help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Diaphragm: A soft, reusable silicone cap is placed in the vagina before sex to conceal the cervix. It prevents pregnancy by blocking sperm from entering the uterus.

Hormonal Contraception Method

  • Combined oral contraceptive pill: You should take this tablet daily to avoid pregnancy. These pills are a mix of hormones.
  • Vaginal ring: A flexible plastic ring that goes high into the vagina is called a vaginal ring. It functions similarly to the pill and has the same hormones in it.
  • Progestogen-only pill: You should take a tablet called the progestogen-only pill every day to avoid getting pregnant. The progestogen hormone is present in it.
  • Contraceptive injection: Every three months, a hormone injection is given as a form of contraception.
  • Contraceptive implant: A tiny plastic rod called a contraceptive implant can be placed beneath the skin of your upper arm. Over three years, it releases a hormone to stop pregnancy.

Intrauterine Contraceptive Devices

IUDs (intrauterine contraceptive devices) are small devices that are placed inside the uterus of a woman to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of IUDs:

  • Hormonal IUD, and
  • Copper IUD

Once the device is placed inside by a professional, it can be effective for up to 5-10 years.


One medical approach that can permanently prevent a pregnancy is sterilization. Procedures for sterilization may involve:

  • Tubal ligation for females, and
  • Vasectomy for males

Possible side effects of these contraception options

Any medical device or medication can have side effects. While most are undesirable, some may be advantageous.

Certain hormonal contraceptive methods can cause side effects like:

  • Irregular spotting (or vaginal bleeding)
  • Irregular, lighter, or no periods
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Changes in skin

Condoms may irritate your vagina. Make sure to use non-latex condoms if you have a latex allergy.

For more details about the side effects of different kinds of birth control, talk with your physician or pharmacist.