Hormonal IUD

Hormonal IUD Method

Levonorgestrel Intrauterine Device

The IUD (levonorgestrel intrauterine device) is a hormonal method. It is a small, T-shaped piece of plastic. The IUD is put into the uterus. Once there, it makes the lining of the uterus thinner and thickens the mucus of the cervix. This prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg.  IUDs offer 3, 4 or 5 years of protection (depending on the type). If you want to get pregnant, you can have the IUD removed.


Non hormonal IUD

Copper IUD

Summary Non Hormonal IUD

The IUD is a small, T-shaped piece of plastic and copper. It is put into your uterus. The copper slightly changes the environment of the uterus and prevents the sperm from reaching the egg. IUDs offer 3-12 years of protection from pregnancy, depending on which IUD you get. If you want to get pregnant, you can have the IUD removed.


 Birth Control Implants

Summary Nexplanon Birth Control

The implants are small plastic rods or capsules that are inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. They are so small; in fact, most people cannot see it once it is inserted. The implant releases progestin, a hormone that keeps your ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens your cervical mucus – which helps block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. It prevents pregnancy for up to 5 years, depending on the type you choose. There are different types, including Nexplanon, Jadelle and Levoplant.


The Pill

Birth Control Pill

Summary Contraceptive Pill

“The Pill” is a small tablet that coymes packaged for each month. Some people call it “oral contraception.” You take it once a day, at the same time every day. There are many different kinds of pills available, and new options are available often. Most work by releasing hormones that keep your ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken your cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place.

Types of pills [5]:

Combination. Combination pills use two types of hormones –estrogen and progestin- to prevent ovulation. A monthly combination pill pack contains 3 weeks of hormone-based pills and a week of hormone-free pills. You will take the hormone-free pills while you wait for your period each month.

Progestin-only. These pills have no estrogen in them and are often recommended if you cannot safely take estrogen, or if you have side effects from a combination pill. They release a small amount of progestin every day of the month and do not give you a period during a set week.

The Injectable

Contraceptive Injection

Summary Injectable Contraceptive

Yes, it is what you have in mind!  A syringe, a needle and some liquid that is injected into your body.   The injectable prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs. It also thickens your cervical mucus to help block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. There are different types –some may not be available in your country.[4]

  • Monthly injectable: It keeps you protected for a month! Contains two hormones –progestin and estrogen.
  • NET-EN or two months injectable: It contains progestin. It keeps you protected for two months! A great option for women who can’t take estrogen [5].
  • DMPA or three months injectable: It contains progestin. It keeps you protected for three months! A great option for women who can’t take estrogen [5].

The Patch

Birth Control Patch

Summary Contraceptive Patch

The patch is a thin piece of plastic that looks like a square Band-Aid. It is a little less than 5 cm across. You stick the patch on your skin, and it gives off hormones that prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken your cervical mucus, which helps block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place.

The Ring

Birth Control Ring

Summary  Contraceptive Vaginal Ring

The ring is a small, bendable insert that stays in your vagina. You leave it in for three weeks at a time and take it out for the fourth week. The ring prevents pregnancy in two ways. It releases hormones that prevent ovaries from releasing eggs, and it thickens your cervical mucus to block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place.

External Condom (Male)

Male Condoms

Summary External Condoms

External condoms –known as male condoms-  are one of the most popular forms to prevent pregnancies and protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Just slip it on the penis.  External condoms (male) lower the risk of STIs by keeping sperm inside the condom and out of the vagina, anus or mouth. (There are also internal condoms (female) that go inside the vagina or anus.) External condoms (male) come in hundreds of shapes and sizes. You can also buy them with lube and without.

Types of external condoms (male):

Spermicide. These condoms are lubricated with a chemical that kills sperm. They are not recommended for oral or anal sex.

Spermicide-free. If you or your partner is sensitive to spermicide, look for spermicide-free condoms. Condoms have very few side effects. This type has even less.

Latex. Latex condoms can stretch up to 800%. These are the most common condoms. But do not use them with oil-based lubricants. Oil-based lube can cause the condom to break or slip, increasing your risk of pregnancy or STIs.

Non-latex. If you are allergic to latex or like oil-based lube, then look for non-latex condoms. They are usually made from polyurethane, other synthetic high tech materials, or natural lambskin.

Internal Condom (Female Condom)

Female Condoms

Summary Internal Condoms

An internal (condom –or female condom-  is a pouch you insert into your vagina or anus. Internal condoms (female) work the same way that external condoms (male) do, except that you wear one on the inside instead of sticking it on a penis. They keep the sperm inside the condom and out of your vagina or anus.

Emergency Contraception Pills

Emergency Contraception

Emergency Contraception Pills Summary

Emergency Contraception (EC) can stop a pregnancy before it starts. (That means the EC pills are not the same as the abortion pill.) Depending on where you live you may have multiple types of EC to choose from. Most types work up to 5 days (or 120 hours) after unprotected sex, and the sooner you use it, the more effective it will be.


Examples of emergency contraception:

Ulipristal acetate dedicated pills. This new form of EC is a one-pill dose that works up to 5 days after unprotected sex and, unlike other EC pills, won’t decrease in effectiveness during those 5 days.

Levonorgestrel-based pills: Lydia Postpil, Postinor 2, Norpill, Unwanted72, Nowill Pill, Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, Next Choice, My Way, After Pill, Levonorgestrel. These may be available over the counter with or without a prescription, depending on your country of residence. They are similar to other contraceptive pills but at much higher doses. They can work up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but effectiveness decreases each day. If you want to use this method, you should use it as soon as possible after unprotected sex.

Non-hormonal IUD. This is the most effective EC there is. Have a provider insert it within 5 days of unprotected sex. It will lower your chance of pregnancy by 99.9%

Yuzpe Method. You can use certain regular contraceptive pills as EC if you follow specific steps (see our “How to use it” section below. It is not as effective as other EC options. Works best up to 3 days following unprotected sex.



Sterilization Summary

Both men and women can opt for sterilization. For women, sterilization is a procedure that closes or blocks your fallopian tubes so you cannot get pregnant. For men, sterilization is called a vasectomy. It blocks the tubes that carry a man’s sperm. Talk to a health care provider to learn more and be sure to ask about any requirements, like age restrictions and waiting periods.


Types of sterilization:[3]

Incision. Both men and women have the option of sterilization with an incision. For women, the Laparoscopy, Mini-Laparotomy, and Laparotomy require an incision. Because of that, they also require anesthesia. It can take anywhere from 2-21 days to recover from the surgery.

The incision-based vasectomy for men takes 20 minutes. It requires only a local anesthetic. Providers will make one or two incisions to the scrotum so that sperm cannot enter the seminal fluid. Since sperm cannot come out, the woman cannot get pregnant.

The no-scalpel vasectomy method for men involves a tiny puncture that reaches his tubes. His tubes are then tied off, cauterized, or blocked. There is no scarring, no stitches, and this procedure is known for healing quite fast without complications.

Cervical Cap

Cervical Cap Contraceptive

Cervical Cap Summary

A cervical cap is a silicone cup you insert in your vagina. It covers your cervix and keeps sperm out of your uterus. You need to use a cervical cap with spermicide for it to be most effective.


Diaphragm Birth Control

Contraceptive Diaphragm Summary

A diaphragm is a shallow, dome-shaped cup made of a material called silicone. You insert the diaphragm into your vagina. It covers your cervix and keeps sperm out of your uterus. You need to use it with spermicide for it to work effectively.



Spermicides Contraception Summary

Spermicide contains chemicals that stop sperm from moving. It can be a cream, film, foam, gel, or suppository. Whatever option you choose, you insert it deep into your vagina so that it keeps sperm from getting through your cervix and into your uterus.


Contraceptive Sponge

Birth Control Sponges Summary

The sponge is a round piece of white plastic foam. It has a dimple on one side and a nylon loop across the top. It is 5 cm across, and you insert it into your vagina before you have sex. The sponge works in two ways: it keeps sperm from getting into your uterus by blocking your cervix, and also continuously releases spermicide.

Fertility Awareness

Natural Family Planning

Summary Rhythm Method

Fertility awareness-based methods are a form of natural family planning. These methods require you to keep track of your menstrual cycle to determine the days that you can get pregnant. The difficult part is determining when those days are. We give you a few options to monitor your fertility and help you determine the days you can get pregnant. For women with irregular periods, including teens, this may not be the best option. [9]

Types of Fertility Awareness:

Standard Days (SDM): you can use this method if your menstrual cycle is between 26 and 32 days long. You will need to record your periods and determine when you cannot get pregnant.[3]

TwoDay (TDM): for this method you need to observe cervical discharge to see when you are fertile.

Cervical Mucus: your body makes a specific goo when you are most fertile. This method is about tracking your cervical mucus.[8]

Body Temp (BBT): for this method, you chart your body temperature every morning to determine whether or not you are ovulating.

Symptothermal: your body has many signs indicating that you can get pregnant. This method tracks several of them at once. This includes how open your cervix feels.

Lactational (LAM): breastfeeding naturally suppresses fertility. This method works if you have just had a baby. But for this method to work you need to be exclusively breastfeeding your baby.


Withdrawal Method of Contraception

Summary Pull Out Method

Withdrawal is one of the oldest forms of contraception. It is very simple – the man pulls out of the woman before he ejaculates. With this method, you need to do it right every single time.

Not Right Now


Summary “Not Right Now”

“Not right now” is one way of saying abstinence, or “no penile-vaginal sex.” It is a very effective method – however, for some people it may be extremely difficult to use.  if you use it all the time, you are guaranteed not to get pregnant. If you are avoiding sexual activity altogether, you will also be safe from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).