Contraception and family planning

It is important to plan for the future when thinking about having 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.

There is a wide range of contraception available and our friendly staff at the Clare Simpson Clinic (Barnet Hospital or Edgware Hospital) and the Marlborough Clinic (Royal Free Hospital) are here to help you decide which type is right for you. Brief information about the different types of contraception available can be found below. For further details please come in and see us or take a look at these leaflets on contraception.

Long acting contraception

  • Contraceptive implant – a plastic rod the size of a matchstick that is inserted under the skin on your upper arm. Over 99.9% effective.
  • Depo-provera injection – an injection of long-acting progestogen, over 99% effective.
  • IUD/the coil – a device the size of a matchstick that is inserted into the womb to prevent pregnancy. Up to 99.9% effective.
  • IUS/Mirena – similar to the coil but is made of plastic and has the hormone progestogen in it

Combined hormonal contraception

  • Combined hormonal contraceptive pill, also known as “the pill”. It is a pill containing two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.
  • Combined hormonal patch, sometimes called “Evra”. This is a patch you can put anywhere on your body that contains both oestrogen and progestogen.

Progestogen-only pill (also known as “mini pill”)

The progestogen-only pill, or mini pill:

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

Barrier methods

  • Male condom – 98% effective against pregnancy if used correctly and also protects against sexually transmitted infections
  • Female condom – is 95% effective if used correctly and also protects against sexually transmitted infections

Emergency contraception

  • The morning-after pill (Levonelle) can be taken up to three days (72 hours) after unprotected sex. Up to 95% effective within 24 hours after sex, and 56% effective if taken between 48-72 hours after sex. The morning-after pill will not protect you against further unprotected sex.
  • EllaOne – a pill that can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex. Up to 95% effective. It will not protect you against more unprotected sex.
  • IUD/coil – a device the size of a matchstick that is inserted into the womb to prevent pregnancy. Up to 99.9% effective.

Making an appointment

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