Women have more birth control options than ever before, but with more choice comes more information; not to mention more side effects to be aware of.

It can be difficult to know which birth control option is right for you. Before seeking out a new method of birth control, it’s a good idea to discuss the options with your GP or do plenty of research into your options. This will help to outline the types of birth control available to you based on your requirements and other factors such as lifestyle, your current health or other medications you are on.

There are many types of female contraception to be aware of, from birth control pills to condoms and hormonal implants. While no single method can completely guarantee pregnancy prevention, if used correctly, these methods can help minimise the chances of having an unwanted pregnancy. We’ve compiled a list of the best forms of birth control and the pros and cons of each method.

What Is Birth Control?

Birth control is any method used to prevent pregnancy. There are pros and cons to every method of contraception, and some are more effective than others. It’s important to understand this in order to make an informed decision on what is best for you.

The Best Types of Birth Control For Women

From IUDs and implants to hormone shots and the rhythm method, the choice can be overwhelming. But effectiveness is key when deciding what birth control to use and the following contraceptive devices are some of the most successful at preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are one of the most popular methods of contraception for women, as they are convenient and offer a range of other benefits besides preventing pregnancy.

Express Pharmacy’s female contraception range includes several oral contraceptive brands to suit different needs and budgets, including Yasmin birth control and the Microgynon pill.

Yasmin birth control is a combined pill and is typically prescribed to women under the age of 35. If used correctly, it’s up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and works by preventing ovulation and altering the lining of the uterine wall.

The Microgynon pill is well-suited to women who have not used birth control pills before – it contains two hormones, similar to oestrogen and progesterone.

Benefits of birth control pills: The benefits of birth control pills are that if you use them properly, there is just a 1% failure rate. Not only this, but they help to relieve painful menstrual cramps and prevent heavy periods.

Cons of birth control pills: The potential downsides of the pill are that if you forget to take it regularly, the failure rate is much higher. This is especially key if you’re taking a progestin-only pill as this needs to be taken at the same time every day. Birth control pills can also cause nausea, breast tenderness and a low sex drive for some women.

Condoms

Condoms are a birth control mainstay; with good reason. They not only prevent pregnancy but are the only contraceptive device that also prevents sexually transmitted infections, too.

There are both male and female condoms on the market, but male condoms are much more commonly used. Condoms can also be used with spermicides to increase the effectiveness of the contraceptive.

Benefits of condoms: The benefits of condoms are that they are the best method of protection against STDs and HIV, and they are also convenient and easy to use.

Cons of condoms: However, male condoms are only around 82% effective in preventing pregnancy and female condoms are just 79% effective. Because of the high failure rate, it’s advised that condoms are used with another form of birth control.

Hormone Implants

Hormone implants are an increasingly popular option for women as they require less maintenance. A small matchstick-sized piece of plastic is inserted by a GP just under the skin of the upper arm and prevents pregnancy for up to three years without needing to be removed in the meantime.

Benefits of hormone implants: One benefit of hormone implants is that the method is invisible and is as effective as an IUD, with less than 1 in 100 women getting pregnant with this method in place. What’s more, if you choose to get pregnant in the future, you can still become pregnant after having the implant removed.

Cons of hormone implants: The downside of the hormone implant is that many women experience irregular bleeding for the first year, although most women stop having periods altogether eventually on this method. If you are bothered by the irregular bleeding, your GP can prescribe oestrogen to counteract this.

Conclusion

In addition to learning about the pros and cons of each method, it’s important to consider other factors that might inhibit the effectiveness of your chosen form of birth control. For example, you need to speak to your GP about or consider the following:

  • What to do if you get sick when you’re on the pill
  • The right contraception to use after having a baby
  • Managing your menstrual cycle on different methods
  • Which is the right choice based on lifestyle factors (family medical history, weight, age)

All of these, and more, can influence the right contraceptive device for your needs. The types of birth control listed in this guide are just a few of the options available to women today – there are also hormone injections, caps or diaphragms, vaginal rings and fertility awareness methods. Each one provides different benefits and considerations to carefully take into account before you adopt a particular method.

For more information regarding the right birth control method for you, get in touch with our specialists on 0208 123 0703. Or, browse our female contraception methods by browsing the ‘treatments’ on our menu.