Birth control methods
(C) Love Matters | Rita Lino

Birth control: how to choose

If you don't want to get pregnant – or don't want your partner to get pregnant – you need to use birth control, also called contraception or family planning.

If you are thinking about having a baby soon, but you don’t want one right now, you should choose a short-term birth control method.

If you want a baby later, or not at all, you should use a long-term method.
The different methods of birth control are organised below, in order of short-term to long-term.

Short-term

  • Condom: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Diaphragm: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Sponge: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Female condom: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Withdrawal: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Spermicide: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Cervical cap: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Rhythm method: Use throughout sexually active period
  • Pill: Needs to be taken every day     
  • Combined shot: 30 days
  • One-hormone shot:12 weeks
  • Breastfeeding: Up to six months

Long-term

  • Implant: 3 – 5 years  
  • IUD: 5 – 12 years
  • Vasectomy: Permanent
  • Female sterilisation: Permanent

Other

How often do I need to take it?

Some methods of birth control need to be used every time you have sex, while others only need to be used once a day, once a month, or will work for a few years. A vasectomy or female sterilisation is permanent, and to be used only if you are sure you don’t want children at all. They are one-time procedures that are performed by a doctor.

Short-term

  • Condom: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Diaphragm: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Sponge: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Female condom: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Withdrawal: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Spermicide: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Cervical cap: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Rhythm method: Use throughout sexually active period
  • Pill: Needs to be taken every day, with or without a one-week break every three weeks
  • Patch: New patch once every week, with a patch-free week every three weeks
  • Combined shot: One injection every 30 days
  • One-hormone shot: One injection every 12 weeks
  • Breastfeeding: Every four hours during the daytime and every six hours at night for up to six months

Long-term

  • Implant: Inserted once, it will work for three years  
  • IUD: Inserted once, it will work for  5 – 12 years
  • Vasectomy: Permanent
  • Female sterilisation: Permanent

Other

  • Abstinence
  • Outercourse
  • Emergency contraception
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