It’s best to ask a trained nurse or doctor for advice for what method is best for you. We have listed some of the most popular methods that young people tend to use.
Contraception aims to prevent pregnancy, but nothing is 100% effective apart from not having sex at all. If you are using contraception, and want it to work well, you have to use it every time you have sex and use it properly (always read the instructions or ask a professional).
Male and female condoms are the only form of contraception that prevent pregnancy and stop sexually transmitted infections passing from one person to the other.
If you are sexually active, it’s best that you always use a long term form of contraception such as the implant or injection as well as condoms.
Male and female condoms are barrier methods of contraception.
They stop sperm meeting an egg. A male condom fits over a man’s erect penis and is made of very thin latex (rubber) or polyurethane (plastic). A female condom is made of very thin polyurethane. It is put into the vagina and loosely lines it. Femidom is the only female condom available in the UK.
Male Condoms are free for young men and women, from contraception and sexual health services, young people’s clinics and through the C-Card Scheme.
Female condoms are not always available for free but you can buy both male and female condoms from a pharmacy as well as from vending machines, supermarkets, garages and other shops.
There are different types of pills that work in slightly different ways − your doctor will advise you on the best one for you. Be honest with your doctor about your lifestyle e.g. some pills are better suited to people who smoke so tell the doctor if you smoke. Some pills must be taken at the same time each day, if you think you’ll forget to take the pill when you should ask the doctor if there are other types of contraception that may be better suited for you.
The pill won’t work if you vomit (throw up), take antibiotics or forget to take it at the right time, so use condoms and get some advice as soon possible if you think your pill will fail.
This contraception is injected in your arm or bottom and will last for 12 weeks; you’ll have to get a new injection every 12 weeks at a clinic or through your doctor. It is a popular choice for teenage girls, who don’t want to have to remember to take a pill every day.
An implant is a small flexible rod that is placed just under your skin in your upper arm. It is a very effective, method of contraception, which protects you from pregnancy for up to 3 years. The implant that is available in the UK is called Implanon.
The contraceptive patch is a small, thin, patch. You stick it on your skin and it releases 2 hormones like those used in the combined oral contraceptive pill. The patch lasts a week and can be worn in the bath/shower. The patch available in the UK is known as Evra.