Monday, 11 January 2016

The Low Down On Contraception Options

When a new baby arrives, life is often turned upside down for a good few weeks or months making it difficult to keep on top of everything that may need to be sorted out.

One of the things that can be easily forgotten amid the mayhem is deciding on and organising a method of contraception - I'm living proof of how fertile you can be after pregnancy having fallen pregnant myself just 6 weeks after Noah's birth!

So this time around I will be making sure that contraception is planned out and sorted in plenty of time.

But with so many options available to us these days it can be a mind boggling thing to decide on.

Here's a little run down on some of the most popular methods of contraception methods available:

The Pill

One of the most popular and widely known methods of contraception today is the pill, which comes in various forms - the most popular version is the combined pill which is considered to be 99% effective when used correctly.

This pill needs to be taken at the same time every day for a period of 21 days, and then there is a 7 day break.

There are numerous things which can have an effect on the pills effectiveness, such as not taking it at regular intervals, vomiting/diarrhoea bugs and there have been some possible links with increased risks of cervical cancer.

The combined pill is not suitable for women who are smokers over the age of 35, overweight, have high blood pressure or heart abnormalities or are on various kinds of medication.

Women who are overweight or suffer with high blood pressure may be prescribed the progesterone-only pill instead - this is also 99% effective when used correctly and there is no break in taking this pill.

Contraceptive Injection

There are three types of contraceptive injections in the UK: 
Depo-Provera, which lasts for 12 weeks
Sayana Press, which lasts for 13 weeks
and Noristerat, which lasts for eight weeks. 
The injection contains progestogen. This thickens the mucus in the cervix, stopping sperm reaching an egg. It also thins the womb lining and, in some, prevents the release of an egg.
The Contraceptive Injection is considered 99% effective, and can be very useful for women who may forget to take their pills at regular intervals and is not affected by medication.
Some possible side effects include weight gain, headaches, mood swings and changes to periods.
It can take up to a year for your fertility to return to normal after ceasing use.
One of the most widely used methods of contraception around, condoms are considered to be 98% effective when used correctly.
There are no associated side effects, and they are easy to use with no long term effects - they also offer added protection against sexually transmitted diseases which other methods of contraception do not.
It's important that only condoms with a BSI Kite mark on the packaging, such as recognised brands like Durex condoms, are used as this means that they have been tested to high safety standards.
The Implant
The contraceptive implant is a small flexible tube about 40mm long that's inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It's inserted by a trained professional, such as a doctor, and lasts for three years. 
The implant stops the release of an egg from the ovary by slowly releasing progestogen into your body. Progestogen also thickens the cervical mucus and thins the womb lining. This makes it harder for sperm to move through your cervix, and less likely for your womb to accept a fertilised egg.
The implant is considered to be 99% effective, and is very useful for women who know that they do not want to get pregnant for the foreseeable future.
A common side effect is that your periods may stop.
An IUD is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that’s inserted into your womb (uterus) by a specially trained doctor or nurse. 
The IUD works by stopping the sperm and egg from surviving in the womb or fallopian tubes. It may also prevent a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.
The IUD is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method. This means that once it's in place, you don't have to think about it each day or each time you have sex. There are several types and sizes of IUD.
You can use an IUD whether or not you've had children.  
There are different types of IUD, some with more copper than others. IUDs with more copper are more than 99% effective. This means that fewer than one in 100 women who use an IUD will get pregnant in one year. IUDs with less copper will be less effective.
The IUD starts working as soon as it's put in and can last for 5-10 years, depending on the type. It can be removed by a dr or nurse at any time and fertility will quickly return to normal.
 Changes to your periods (Such as becoming heavier, longer or more painful) are common in the first 3-6 months after fitting but should then settle down.

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