Monday, September 26, 2022
If you’re sexually active, or thinking of becoming sexually active, using contraception is the best way to prevent pregnancy.
There’s no one-size-fits-all contraceptive. There are a lot of contraception methods. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages and some work better than others. People have different personal experiences and preferences when it comes to contraception. It’s common for people to try a range of methods before finding one that works best for them. You have the right to know your options so you can choose the one that works best for you.
Fortunately, in Aotearoa New Zealand you have some choices.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives
Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) are the most effective types of contraception. They last for a long time and are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
There are two types of LARC: the intra uterine device or ‘IUD’, which lasts for three, five or ten years, and the implant, which lasts for five years.
They’re also known as ‘fit and forget’ contraception, because once you have a LARC put in, you don’t need to remember to take contraception every day or every month.
Hormonal contraceptives include the Pill and the Depo Provera injection. These contraceptives use hormones to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of Pill: the combined oral contraceptive pill or the progestogen-only contraceptive pill
You take one pill each day. If you take the pill correctly, it is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
The Depo Provera injection is an injection you get every three months. If you get your injections on time, Depo Provera is more than 99% effective.
Barrier methods stop sperm from entering the vagina. There are two types of barrier methods: condoms, which go over the penis, and internal condoms, which are inserted into the vagina.
If used correctly, condoms are 98% effective. As well as preventing pregnancy, condoms are the most effective protection against sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
There are two options for emergency contraception: the emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) or a copper IUD.
ECP can be taken up to three days after unprotected sex. If you weigh under 70kg, the ECP is 98% effective. If you weigh more than 70kg, the ECP is less effective and a copper IUD is recommended. If you weigh more than 70kg and you choose to take ECP, you should ask if taking a double dose is the right option for you.
The copper IUD can be inserted into your uterus up to five days after unprotected sex and is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. The copper IUD is a type of LARC, so it can be left in and used for long term contraception.
It's not a good idea to use ECP as your regular method of contraception - it's less effective than if you were using a LARC or hormonal method.
Fertility awareness is learning the signs of fertility in your menstrual cycle to help you plan or avoid a pregnancy. You should consult an experienced teacher before using fertility awareness as a method of contraception. See www.naturalfertility.co.nz.
Permanent contraception, sometimes called sterilisation, prevents all future pregnancies. It’s difficult or impossible to reverse. Permanent contraception is either a vasectomy or a tubal ligation.
Decisions about contraception should be based on facts and it's your right to know what types you can choose from – your local Family Planning nurse is happy to talk to you about your options. Just get in touch with us.
You can also download our Contraception Your Choice brochure. It covers: the different methods, how they work, the most effective methods and their pros and cons.
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.