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Contraception – Advice, Application, and Prescription

Contraception refers to the different methods for preventing pregnancy. Often called birth control, contraception gives you some control over when (or if) you want to conceive a child and become a parent.

There are a range of contraceptive methods, and the best one for you will depend on your own individual circumstances. By visiting your GP, we can help you make an informed decision about which method/s are likely to be most effective for you.

Hormonal methods

There are a range of hormonal contraceptive methods available to women. Please make a booking with your doctor to discuss which are most suitable for your personal circumstances.

Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP)

The pill is a very reliable contraceptive method when taken properly (every day), and has other benefits related to cycle control (skipping periods) and reduction of acne.

The pill doesn’t provide any protection from STD’s.

Mini Pill

The Mini Pill is a progestogen-only pill which may be recommended at certain times, for example when a woman is breastfeeding or in other circumstances where it can be unwise to use a combined OCP.

It is not quite as effective as the other hormonal methods of contraception, and the dosing schedule is more strict.

Vaginal ring

The vaginal ring is a more recently developed method in which a flexible ring is put into the vagina each month. It gradually releases hormones that work in the same way as the pill. In Australia this is commonly known by its brand name – NuvaRing. You can find more information about this contraceptive here.

Implant (Implanon)

The Implanon is a thin plastic rod that is placed under the skin of the inner upper arm. It constantly releases small amounts of a hormone called progestogen into the body, and should be replaced with a new one every three years.

Implanon is very effective in stopping pregnancy. Fewer than 1 in 1,000 women will become pregnant while using Implanon when it has been correctly inserted.

The contraceptive implant does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

You need to go to your doctor to discuss whether this form of contraception suits you, and to get a prescription for it. The implant needs to be inserted by a doctor who has been specially trained.

Contraceptive injection (Depo Provera)

This is a hormonal injection given every 12 weeks. This method is very effective and removes the need to remember to take a pill every day, but you need to remember to make an appointment for each new injection.

Intra-uterine device (IUD)

An intra-uterine device (IUD) is inserted into the uterus by a doctor. The hormonal IUD (Mirena) lasts for up to 5 years. The Mirena is a very safe and popular method of long-term contraception. One of the benefits is that in most women, periods cease completely while the device is in.

The copper IUD does not contain hormones and  lasts for up to 10 years, but is far less commonly used by Australian women.

Barrier methods

Barrier methods are those that employ a physical barrier for preventing a male’s sperm from reaching the female’s egg.

These include condoms worn by males and diaphragms worn by females (a silicone barrier which fits over the cervix). Condoms are easy to buy, and also reduce the risk of STI’s but they need to be used every time you have sex. Diaphragms however are more difficult to apply, and do not protect against STI’s (sexually transmitted infections).

Timing or fertility awareness methods

These methods include the ovulation and sympto-thermal (checking your temperature) methods. They depend on choosing to have sex at those times of the month when the woman is not fertile.

While these methods don’t involve any medical intervention, they are a lot more complicated, time consuming and difficult to get right, meaning they can be much less effective at preventing pregnancy. They also do not protect against STI’s.

Emergency methods

The emergency contraceptive pill (sometimes known as the morning after pill) provides a larger dose of the hormone progestogen than the oral contraceptive pill.

The earlier after unprotected sex they are used, the more effective they are. Emergency contraceptive pills are very effective if used within 24 hours after unprotected sex, and usually effective if used within 120 hours (5 days). It is available off-prescription at most pharmacies.

Make an appointment

Call us on (07) 3264 2622 to book an appointment with one of our doctors at Albany Clinic, North Brisbane. We can help you decide on the most appropriate contraceptive, and provide application or prescription if required.