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Contraception

Family planning is the method of planning your family in terms of the desired number of children, and comfortably spacing your pregnancies. Family planning is achieved with the use of contraceptives.

There are many different methods of contraception to avoid pregnancy, including the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), the mini-pill, a condom, an intrauterine device (IUD) such as Mirena, an Implanon rod, the natural family planning method and more permanent measures such as tubal ligation and vasectomy for men.

Some of these methods are confined for women and others for men, while some of the methods are reversible and some are permanent methods.

Abstinence

Abstinence means not having sexual intercourse. It is the only birth control method that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases.

Natural family planning method

Natural family planning (NFP) or fertility awareness does not require medication, physical devices, or surgery to prevent pregnancy. This method relies on the woman's body physiology to know the time of ovulation. This method involves monitoring different body changes such as basal body temperature or cervical mucus variations. The woman then abstains from unprotected sex for approximately 7 to 10 days when she may have ovulated.

Barrier methods

It is one of the most common contraceptive methods and involves forming a physical barrier to obstruct the sperm from entering a woman's uterus. Barrier methods include use of male condom, female condom, spermicides, diaphragm, cervical cap, and contraceptive sponge. The male condom is a thin covering made of latex or polyurethane that is rolled over an erect penis before sexual intercourse to prevent the sperm from entering a woman's vagina. The female condom is a polyurethane (plastic) tube that has a flexible ring at each end and is inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse. Spermicides are chemicals that inactivate or kill sperm and are available as foams, suppositories, and jellies. A diaphragm is a flexible dome that covers the cervix inside the vagina. The cervical cap is a smaller cup made of latex rubber or plastic. These should be used in conjunction with a spermicidal gel and are placed in the vagina before sexual intercourse. The sponge is a soft, round barrier device made of polyurethane foam.

Hormonal methods

In this method, synthetic hormonal preparations containing oestrogen and progesterone will be taken orally (pills), implanted into body tissue (implants), injected under the skin (injections), absorbed from a patch on the skin (skin patches), or placed in the vagina (vaginal rings). These methods work by preventing ovaries from releasing an egg for fertilisation. The intrauterine device (IUD) is a small device made of copper that is inserted into the uterus. It works by thickening the mucus around the cervix and by thinning the womb's lining, making it difficult to accept a fertilised egg.

Withdrawal

Withdrawal method involves the complete removal of the penis from the woman's vagina before ejaculation.

Sterilisation

This method is a permanent solution and is meant for men and women who do not intend to have children in the future. Male sterilisation involves vasectomy, a surgical blocking of the vas deferens, the tubes through which sperm pass into the semen. Female sterilisation involves a tubal ligation, a surgical procedure that blocks the fallopian tubes which carry the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

Implanon

This is a contraceptive implant inserted in the arm under local anaesthetic. It is a highly effective contraceptive and lasts for up to three years. It is an ideal method for young women leading busy lifestyles, requiring a safe and effective contraception. Implanon is the brand name for the contraceptive implant containing the hormone progestogen.

What is Implanon?

Implanon is at least 99.9% effective. This means that if 1,000 women use Implanon for a year it is possible that 1 woman could become pregnant. Some medications can reduce the effectiveness of Implanon. It is important to inform your doctors that you have an Implanon when other medication is prescribed.

The implant works by preventing ovulation (egg release from the ovary), preventing thickening of the mucus of the cervix so that sperm cannot enter the uterus (womb), and changing the lining of the uterus, making it unsuitable for pregnancy.

Implanon is at least 99.9% effective. This means that if 1,000 women use Implanon for a year it is possible that 1 woman could become pregnant. Some medications can reduce the effectiveness of Implanon. It is important to inform doctors you have an Implanon when other medication is prescribed.

Mirena IUS

This is an intra-uterine device that is a highly effective form of contraception with minimal hormonal side effects. It lasts for up to five years, and like Implanon, has the advantage of being a 'fit and forget' method of contraception.

Intra Uterine Contraceptive Device

We have practitioners who are experienced in both Implanon and Mirena insertions. Please ask at reception for details.

The choice of a particular method of contraceptive depends on an individual's age, health, frequency of sexual activity, number of sexual partners, plans for future pregnancy, and certain medical conditions. Discuss with your doctor about the choices of birth control available for your particular situation.