What is the most effective method of contraception?


What is the most effective method of contraception?

We've never had greater freedom to plan our future families, with more power than ever to decide whether or not to have children at all. If we do want to become mothers, we can also choose the optimum age for us based on our employment, relationships, money, and mental and physical health.

However, the choice can be perplexing at times, and the more we learn about our bodies, the more critical it becomes to make the best contraceptive decisions for our health, sex life, and fertility.

It's our bodies and our choice, whether we take a pill every day or rely on an invisible and symptom-free Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) alternative, therefore it's critical to educate ourselves.

To assist you, we've tallied up today's modern options and their efficacy to assist you in determining what's best for you:

Natural Cycles fertility awareness app


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Since the launch of Natural Cycles, the first app to be certified as a contraceptive by the EU, there's been a lot of debate about apps and digital cycle tracking. Despite the fact that it makes use of cutting-edge algorithms and your smartphone, it's essentially reverting to one of the first ways of birth control: fertility awareness and 'natural' planning. To put it another way, it keeps track of your temperature, menstruation, and ovulation to determine when you're fertile. It's a small window of only a few days, but if you get it wrong, you could end up pregnant.

The app can be as successful as the pill if used appropriately and your cycle is consistent and traceable. While knowing and understanding your cycle is excellent, unless you're okay with the possibility of becoming pregnant, it's definitely not reliable enough on its own.

Female condoms (or Femidoms)


The female condom can be fairly reliable depending on how properly it's applied, but it's not a fantastic idea if you're a bit sloppy. Though some women want to be in charge of their own non-hormonal protection, it's not a particularly common option.

Apart from that, if you absolutely don't want to get pregnant, the male condom is usually more effective when used correctly.

Condoms (male)


Regular condoms are 98 per cent effective at preventing pregnancy, according to Planned Parenthood, a US family planning organisation. Condoms are only about 85 per cent effective since individuals aren't perfect and don't always use them exactly as they're supposed to (e.g., putting it on too late or incorrectly, causing it to split).

"This means that each year, roughly 15 out of every 100 persons who use condoms as their sole form of birth control will become pregnant."

It's quite frightening. They are, however, incredibly effective when used appropriately, and they do not require hormones. You also know whether they've broken up, which can offer you a sense of power.



According to the Brook organisation, which provides sex and contraception advice to young people, the injection is more than 99 per cent effective and can prevent pregnancy for 8, 12, or 13 weeks, depending on the drug used.

It primarily acts by preventing ovulation, and it is unaffected by other drugs. You also don't have to remember to take it every day because you get it from your doctor – however, you do have to remember to make an appointment.

The combined pill (often known as just ‘the pill’)


According to the NHS, the pill is nearly 99 per cent effective at preventing pregnancy when taken appropriately. However, because we aren't flawless, regular use diminishes its average effectiveness to roughly 91%.

This might entail taking it at odd times, forgetting a pill or two during a cycle, taking it with other prescriptions, or taking it while you're unwell or have an upset stomach, all of which can diminish its effectiveness.

The progesterone-only, or ‘mini’ pill


The small pill's effectiveness is reduced to around 91 per cent with our typical use, which is another hormonal technique that's pretty darn reliable.

Both pills are hormonal, though different brands employ different hormones and doses, so make sure you're choosing the proper one for you.

There are also medical reasons to choose one over the other, such as if you have a family history of breast cancer (in which case the tiny pill is frequently recommended), or if you suffer PMS or hormonal acne (which can be improved by the combined pill).

There's also mounting evidence associating the pill with depression, so pay attention to how you're feeling - physically and emotionally - during your first few months on the medicine, as switching to a different tablet may help.

The IUD (or ‘coil’) and IUS (the Mirena or Jaydess)


Because you can't forget to use these methods, they're among the most dependable of all contraception, with the NHS rating them as 99 per cent effective.

The IUS is a hormonal T-shaped implant in the uterus that prevents ovulation and thickens cervical mucus by combining hormones. Because it is contained within the womb, only modest amounts of localised hormones are necessary.

The IUD is a non-hormonal alternative that works by irritating the uterine lining and preventing an embryo from implanting. The coil is essentially a T-shaped device that rests right inside your uterus, despite its name.

It can induce heavy periods (particularly in the first few months), but it can also cause periods to stop, which can be alarming or exciting depending on how you feel. They don't offer any protection against STIs.

Fitting one of these within five days of having unprotected intercourse can also be used as an emergency contraceptive method, as it prevents an embryo from implanting and developing into a pregnancy.

Vaginal ring


This is a rather uncommon method of contraception these days, but it has a high success rate in preventing pregnancy when used correctly. A ring is placed in the vaginal canal, which secretes hormones that suppress ovulation and thicken cervix mucus. Because the hormones flow right into your reproductive system rather than through your stomach, it isn't affected whether you're sick or on other medications. It is, however, difficult to insert and remove, and you may forget to change it at the appropriate time, resulting in hormonal side effects such as breast discomfort and increased vaginal discharge.



A diaphragm or cap is 92-96 per cent effective at preventing pregnancy when worn correctly with spermicide, according to the NHS. The cap is inserted into your vaginal canal and covers the cervix, preventing sperm from reaching your egg when paired with spermicide.

The patch


The patch, like the implant, works well because it can be placed on and forgotten about. It contains trace levels of hormones that pass through your skin and into your system. Its effectiveness is lessened if it slips off or if you neglect to refill it on a regular basis.

It does have a low dose of hormones and is non-invasive, so it can be a wonderful alternative for those who don't want to utilise some of the more intrusive LARC treatments if done correctly.

The implant


According to the Family Planning Association, using the implant, which is a little, rod-shaped hormonal device that fits just beneath the skin of your upper arm, fewer than 1 in 1000 women will become pregnant over a three-year period.

The ‘pull-out method’


To be honest, this isn't truly a contraceptive approach. It doesn't prevent against STIs, and it also doesn't guarantee that you won't get pregnant. Because sperm can be found in your man's 'pre-cum,' and if he doesn't pull it all the way out in time, there's nothing stopping you from being pregnant. So, if you don't want to have a child, this is probably not for you.

The morning after pill


Emergency contraception isn't the most reliable method for preventing pregnancy after you've had unprotected sex. If it's too late, and taking the morning after pill as soon as possible (within 24 hours) is your only alternative, it'll work approximately 95% of the time. This drops to roughly 89 per cent after three days.

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