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ContraceptionWhat's this?How does it work?EffectivenessProsCons
Birth control pillContraceptive pill that's taken dailyPrevents the release of eggs from the ovaries98 - 99% (only if taken daily at the correct timing)Effects are reversible; lessens menstrual cramps; makes the periods regular; reduces acne; reduces risks of developing ovarian and endometrial cancerHas to be taken daily; smokers above 35 cannot use it; no protection against STIs; may interfere with other medications you're on
​Contraceptive Injection (done 4 times a year)An injection in the buttocks or the armPrevents the release of eggs from the ovaries98 - 99%Effects are reversible; only 4 times a year; reduces the risk of developing endometrial cancerMay cause irregular bleeding or spotting; no protection against STIs
Intra-uterine Device (IUD)A T-shaped device inserted into the uterusPrevents fertilisation of eggs99.2 - 99.4%The device is long-lasting (up to 5 years); no interruption to intercourseMay cause irregular bleeding or spotting; no protection against STIs; IUD may fall out; a physician is required to insert and remove the IUD
Spermicide (comes in different forms such as foams, films, gels and tablets)A chemical agent which disables spermsInserted into the vagina few hours before intercourse82%
Effectiveness is greatly increased when it is used with a condom, diaphragm or cervical cap
May provide lubrication; can be used by women who breastfeed or smokeNo protection against STIs; may cause allergic reactions in some people
Diaphragm (to be used with spermicide)A dome-shaped rubber cap that is fitted in the vagina, over the cervix (must be left there 6-8 hours after intercourse)Prevents sperms from entering the uterus94%Protection against certain STIs; can be fitted 6-8 hours before intercourseProper insertion is required; may dislodge during intercourse; may cause allergic reactions in some people (due to the spermicide used)
Cervical cap (to be used with spermicide)A thimble-shaped rubber cap fitted over the cervixPrevents sperms from entering the uterus91% (for women who have not given birth) 74% (for women who have given birth before)Protection against certain STIs; can be fitted 24 hours before intercourseProper insertion is required; may dislodge during intercourse; may cause allergic reactions in some people (due to the spermicide used); may cause vaginal discharge and odour
Female sterilisation (permanent)A minor surgery which closes the fallopian tubesEggs cannot travel to the uterus99.5%No interference with intercourseIrreversible; surgery risks; no protection against STIs
Female condomA soft disposable sheath placed in the vagina before intercoursePrevents direct contact between genitals; prevents body fluids from being exchanged95%Protection against certain STIsMay break or slip; makes noises during intercourse

How to choose your birth control method

Factors such as your age, frequency of sexual activity, family history regarding certain illnesses, comfort level when using a particular method, and level of desire to be pregnant in the future will come into play when choosing an appropriate birth control method.

You should talk to your physician to figure out which method works best for you. There's no need to feel embarrassed if you have to clarify with your physician on how to use each method correctly. Knowing more will help you take better control of your sexual health and when to have kids.

Extra protection

You may use a combination of contraceptive methods at a time for extra protection. Also, you can ask your partner to use a condom because it is the only contraceptive method that protects you against most STIs.