Contraception: The Pros and Cons

This is for anyone who doesn’t know what method of contraception to go for and needs more information!

A lot of people in the UK are starting to have sex from the age of at least 14-years-old, which means that they buy the pill or condoms. But do they know what other contraceptive methods are there, including its pros and cons? Well look no further. All the info is right here!

The Contraceptive Pill

Combined Pill

The pill is a popular method of contraception that girls use. There are two types of contraceptive pill. One is the combined pill and the other is the morning after pill.

The combined pill is what a lot of girls use. They usually start off with the pill first before using another method of contraception (even I did!). You take one pill a day at the same time every day for 21 days and then have a 7 day break before starting the next packet. There are usually three packets in one box, whereas the morning after pill is different. You take one pill the day after you had unprotected sex. This is a type of emergency contraception. 

  • The pros: It’s very effective against pregnancy and decreases menstrual cramps and acne. It also makes menstrual cycles more regular and lighter. 
  • The cons: It doesn’t protect against STI’s and can cause side effects such as nausea, weight gain, and headaches. If the pill isn’t taken correctly, you could have a rare case of blood clots like deep vein thrombosis.

TIP!: To remember taking the pill every day at the same time, set an alarm on your mobile phone in the morning, e.g. 10 AM or any time that suits you. 

The Contraceptive Patch

The contraceptive patch works just like the combined pill but much more easily! You don’t need to change the patches every single day. You just need to change it once a week for three weeks and then have a seven day break before putting a patch on again. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t want to go on the pill! 

  • The pros AND cons: Same like the pill

The Contraceptive Injection (Depo Provera)

The depo injection is one of the most effective methods of contraception. It’s really simple! You just need to see your nurse every 12 weeks to have the injection done on your buttocks. It does protect against pregnancy very well!

  • The pros: Each injection protects against pregnancy for three very effective months, it doesn’t interrupt sexual activity, and helps protect against uterine cancer.
  • The cons: you can only have the injection for two years. If you have it for more than two years, you may have bone marrow problems, a condition where your bones become brittle... so make the most of the injection when you can!

The IUD (Intra Uterine Device), Known as the Coil

I’m not a big fan of the IUD (not that I’ve had one) because of its cons... but from what I’ve heard, it’s effective and it lasts for five years. The procedure sounds quite risky to me as the GP puts a plastic tool called a speculum (which is also used for cervical smear tests) into your vagina, and then uses a special inserter to put the coil in through the cervix opening to the uterus.

  • The pros: The coil provides protection against pregnancy as long as it’s in place. It protects straight away when it’s inserted. It doesn’t need daily attention but it’s best to make sure it’s in place at least once a month at the time of your menstrual cycle.
  • The cons: It can fall out or, in rare cases, puncture the uterus... In the first 20 days of insertion, there could be a slightly higher risk of infection. The copper IUD can have side effects such as heavy bleeding. The coil can cause inflammation of the uterus and/or cervix...

The Implant

The implant is another effective and easy method of contraception. It’s a rod that’s the size of a hairgrip that goes in your arm. The procedure is simple and painless as you will be under local anaesthetic. They use a scalpel to cut your arm and use a special tool to insert the implant in your arm. When it’s inserted, they’ll put butterfly stitches (the stitches that come off by themselves) and bandage you up. You’ll have to leave the bandage on for 48 hours and to not interfere with the stitches whilst healing and ready to come off. It’s vital for you to keep an eye on your stitches in case of infection. They’ll come off after five to seven days.

  • The Pros: A long term method of birth control that lasts for three years; you can change after the third year. The implant may cause you to have light or no periods at all. It’s very protective against pregnancy.
  • The cons: Requires minor surgery for insertion and removal. It doesn’t protect against STI’s either. Some side effects may be hair loss, irregular menstrual cycles, depression, and weight gain. 

Male Condom

All of you will know this! It is used all the time when it comes to the first time having sex before you girlys discovered the other methods of contraception. The application process is simple so I won’t go there. There are so many different brands of condoms, including sizes. Durex is the biggest and most used brand in the UK.

  • The pros: Lowers the risk of getting an STI and also allows makes to have an active part in preventing pregnancy.
  • The cons: Women may have an allergy to latex (latex free condoms are available, not to worry!) and you have to use a new one every time you have sexual intercourse. A condom can only be used once. 

The Femidom (Female Condom)

I found this very interesting... because I always used to think condoms were only for males, but I guess it’s good for when males don’t want to wear a condom.

The application is quite fiddly. This is because you have to apply it like a tampon. You have to squeeze the thin looking ring and carefully put it in the vagina, then the thicker looking ring is used to put the femidom in place.

  • The pros: Provides protection against STI’s and men don't have to withdraw it right after ejaculation.
  • The cons: It may move, be noisy, or uncomfortable. It can only be used for one act of sexual intercourse as well.

These are all the methods I’ve added. There are more contraceptive methods like the vaginal ring and spermicides, but I don’t really know much about them. 🙄 I hope you enjoy reading this and finding more info about these methods. It might give you a rough idea about what method you want to go for!

It is vital to think about whether you and your partner are ready to have sex or not. It’s best not to rush into these things. I’d still highly recommend that the girls should start off with either the pill or the patch before moving on to the implant or IUDs, etc..

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