Contraception

Thinking ahead is essential when it comes to sex. It’s easy to get carried away in the moment, but avoiding an unplanned pregnancy and protecting yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is very important.

We offer a fully integrated contraception service in all our routine clinics across our sites. We also have appointments for specialist contraception clinics for women with more complex needs including those wanting implant fitting/removal and coils.

Barrier methods

Male condom

The male condom is 98% effective against pregnancy if used correctly and also protects against sexually transmitted infections.

Female condom

The female condom is 95% effective if used correctly and also protects against sexually transmitted infections.

Diaphragms and cap

A contraceptive cap or diaphragm is a circular dome made of thin, soft latex (rubber) or silicone. Caps are smaller than diaphragms, but they work in the same way. They are inserted inside the vagina before sex and cover the cervix to create a physical barrier to sperm entering the womb.

Vaginal ring

The vaginal ring (also known as “Nuvaring”) is a flexible plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina, containing both oestrogen and progestogen.

Please walk in or reserve a time slot to talk to us about which contraceptive is right for you. 

Long lasting contraception

Sometimes known as 'long-acting reversible contraception' (LARC).

Implant

The contraceptive implant is a plastic rod the size of a matchstick that is inserted under the skin on your upper arm. It’s over 99.9% effective. We are not always able to fit contraceptive implants on the same day in the walk-in clinic, if we can’t, we will make you an appointment to come back and have one fitted.

Injection, Depo-provera

Depo-provera (also known as “the injection”) is an injection of long-acting progestogen, over 99% effective.

Coil IUD

The coil can be a hormone-free alternative to contraception. The intrauterine device (IUD, also known as 'the coil') lasts between three and 10 years and is a small plastic and copper ‘T’ shaped device that sits inside the womb (uterus). The main way an IUD works is to stop sperm reaching an egg. It does this by preventing sperm from surviving in the cervix, uterus or fallopian tube. 

It may also work by stopping a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb. IUDs are more than 99% effective. This means that less than one in every 100 women who use an IUD will become pregnant in a year.

It can also be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy as a form of emergency contraception. Like many contraception methods, the IUD offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections

Coil IUS

The intrauterine system or IUS (also known as “Mirena”) is similar to the coil but is made of plastic and has the hormone progestogen in it.

Patch - combined hormonal patch

The combined hormonal patch (also known as “the patch”, “Evra”) is a patch you can put anywhere on your body that contains both oestrogen and progestogen.

Oral contraception

Oral contraceptives are more commonly just called ‘The Pill’. They are a small tablet you swallow to try to prevent pregnancy. The main way oral contraception works is by stopping the egg being released from the ovaries, it also thickens the mucus at the neck of the womb (making it harder for sperm to get through) and thins the lining of the womb (making it harder for a fertilised egg to implant). 

They offer no protection against sexually transmitted infections. There are two types of oral contraceptive – the ‘combined pill’ and the ‘progestogen-only pill’ (also known as the ‘mini pill’).

Combined pill - hormonal contraception

The combined hormonal contraceptive pill (also known as “the pill”, “COC”) is a pill containing two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.

Mini pill – progestogen only pill

The progestogen only pill, also known as the “mini pill” is a daily pill only containing one hormone - progestogen - and is taken every day without a break. It is good for women who can’t take the combined pill. This pill may change your menstrual cycle, and sometimes stop your periods and has to be taken very regularly (at the same time, each day).

What to expect when choosing a Coil method

We offer two types of IUC; the copper IUD (intrauterine device) or hormonal IUS (intrauterine system).

If you have an existing device and want a check-up or to have this removed, please book a routine appointment.

If you want to have a device removed or changed, it is important that you use condoms or don’t have sex for seven days before having it removed.

Before you book or attend an appointment to have a device fitted, please follow the five steps below.

Step one: Watch this short video about intrauterine contraception

It is important that you watch this short video before your fitting as it contains important information.It is important that you have read and understood this leaflet prior to the fitting of your device.

We may have to reschedule your appointment if we are concerned about risks, such as pregnancy. This video explains any risks and the steps you should take to avoid them.

Find out more about the copper IUD      

Find out more about the hormonal IUS 

Step two: How to make sure you are not at risk of being pregnant at the time of your fitting

We need to make sure that you are not at risk of being pregnant when you attend for a fitting. If there is a risk that you might be pregnant then we may have to reschedule your fitting.

The timing of your fitting will depend on what contraception you are currently using:

If you are currently using a hormonal method (pill, patch, vaginal ring, injection and non-expired implant) then your device can be fitted at any convenient time and you can continue to use your current method correctly until your fitting.

If you are currently using condoms, diaphragm, natural methods of contraception or have an expired implant or expired IUD/IUS device then you have two options:

  1. Abstain from sex from day one of your period until your fitting (or abstain from sex for three weeks if your periods are irregular)
  2. Arrange to use a short-acting form of contraception, for example, pill, patch, vaginal ring, for at least four weeks before the fitting.

If you need to replace your current IUD/IUS device and it has not yet expired then this can be done on any convenient day. Please make sure you abstain from sex or use condoms for seven days before the fitting.

This is to make sure that you are not at risk of being pregnant if for some reason we cannot fit the new device after the original one is removed.

Step three: Checklist and information leaflets

Our self-assesment checklist will help you to decide which device to choose, the information leaflet will help you to decide if you are ready to have an IUC fitting and tell you more about your appointment.

You will need to print a copy of our self-assessment checklist and bring a completed copy to your appointment.

Step four: Booking your appointment

To book a fitting, please book an appointment. You will need to book a general contraception appointment for a pre-fitting discussion if:

  • You have a learning disability
  • You require an interpreter
  • You are under 16 years of age
  • You have known complex medical or gynaecological problems. For example, fibroids
  • You have had difficult or failed IUC insertions in the past.

If for any reason you are unable to attend your appointment, please call us to cancel it so that the appointment can be given to someone else.

Step five: On the day of your appointment

Where possible we will fit your device at your appointment.

However, there may be reasons why the fitting may need to be deferred. If this happens then the doctor or nurse who is seeing you will explain why.

On the day of your appointment:

  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment for registration
  • Please allow at least two hours for the appointment. Although the procedure does not take this long, some women need a little more time to recover after the procedure
  • We recommend that you eat and take pain relief before your appointment
  • If you need to bring your child or children then you must bring someone to look after them while you are having the fitting
  • Please bring sanitary protection, as you may experience some bleeding after the fitting
  • We advise you to avoid driving immediately after your fitting.

Emergency contraception

Did you forget to use contraception? Did the condom split? Don't panic, we have plenty of advice.

Find out more about contraception