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We're the leading independent provider of sexual and reproductive health services in the UK.

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Contraception

Helping you find contraception to suit your needs

We're here to help you find a contraceptive method that is right for you.

As part of your abortion treatment, we'll help you find a method of contraception that best suits your individual needs.

Following an abortion your fertility will return almost immediately. If you do not want to get pregnant after having an abortion it is important to have a contraceptive method in place as soon as possible. At your abortion appointment, you will be offered a range of contraceptive methods and we'll be there to advise and talk through your options with you.

We have clinics all over the UK providing medical and surgical abortion.

You can call us anytime to find out more about our comprehensive abortion treatment.

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Long-acting methods

Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods offer excellent protection against pregnancy, ranging from three months up to ten years. They're ideal if you know that you do not want to have children for a while.

Once in place, you don’t need to think about these methods until they need replacing, and none of them interrupt sex. They are more reliable tham short-acting methods as you don’t have to remember to take them each day, or use them each time you have sex.

Scroll down for more detailed information on long-acting contraceptive methods.

Short-acting methods

Short-acting methods refer to methods that you need to remember to use or take regularly, or each time you have sex, such as the contraceptive pill and the male condom.

While short-acting methods offer certain flexibility, their effectiveness rates are typically less than those of long-acting contraception, and this should be taken into consideration when deciding on a method. 

Short-acting methods include barrier methods such as condoms, or hormonal methods such as the pill, patch or ring.

Scroll down for more detailed information on short-acting contraceptive methods.

Types of contraception

Implant

A long-acting reversible contraceptive method.

The implant is a small plastic tube that is about 4cm long and is inserted under the skin in your upper arm. The implant releases a hormone which stops the ovaries from releasing an egg.

The implant prevents pregnancy for up to three years, and is over 99% effective.

The implant is safe to use for as long as you need, and your fertility will return to normal when it is taken out. It is suitable for women who can’t use contraception with oestrogen in it.

The implant is inserted into your arm, which may be sore or swollen for a few days. You may experience some side effects, and the implant may affect your periods. If your bleeding pattern is unacceptable this can usually managed by your GP.

Coil

A long-acting reversible contraceptive method.

A coil is a small, T-shaped plastic or copper device that is placed in a woman's womb and can provide contraceptive protection for up to ten years.

We offer two types of coil at Marie Stopes UK: a hormonal coil and a non-hormonal coil.

Hormonal coil

Also known as an intrauterine system (IUS), it is a small T-shaped plastic device inserted into your uterus. The IUS releases progestogen to prevent pregnancy for 3-5 years.

The IUS is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, and you don't have to think about contraception for up to 5 years. This method is suitable for women who cannot use contraception containing oestrogen, and once removed your fertility will return to normal.

It is common to experience bleeding or spotting in the first six months after having the IUS fitted, but after that your periods may become irregular, lighter, or stop altogether. This makes the IUS a very good choice for women who experience heavy or painful periods.

Non-hormonal coil

An intrauterine device (IUD), or copper coil, is a small copper and plastic T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus. It releases copper, which prevents pregnancy by stopping the sperm and eggs surviving in the womb. The copper coil can remain in place for 5-10 years.

The IUD is suitable for most women, including if you are breastfeeding or unable to use hormonal methods of contraception. Once removed, your normal fertility will return straightaway. The IUD is very popular with women who dislike hormonal methods of contraception.

Injection

A short-acting reversible contraceptive method.

The contraceptive injection contains the hormone progestogen, which is released into your blood to prevent pregnancy. Depending on the type you have, the injection lasts between 8-13 weeks at a time.

The injection can be given at any time during your menstrual cycle, and is more than 99% effective with perfect use, and 94% effective with typical use. It can be used while breastfeeding, and is also suitable if you can’t use oestrogens.

Your periods will probably be affected by the injection, and may stop altogether. Women who suffer from heavy or painful periods often like this method. Your fertility will return to normal but periods could be delayed for up to 18 months after stopping the injection.

Contraceptive pill

A short-acting reversible contraceptive method.

At Marie Stopes UK we offer two contraceptive pill options: the combined pill and the progestogen-only pill (also known as POP or 'mini pill').

The combined pill

The combined pill is a hormonal contraceptive which is 99% effective with perfect use, and 91% effective with typical use. The pill needs to be taken daily in order to prevent pregnancy.

The combined pill does not interrupt sex and can relieve heavy periods and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, it can also increase your blood pressure, and may not be suitable for you if you are over 35 or a smoker.

The progestogen-only pill

The progestogen-only pill is a hormonal contraceptive that works by either preventing sperm entering the womb or preventing an egg from being released.

It's suitable for women who do not want, or are unable to take oestrogen. It's 91% effective with typical use, and needs to be taken daily to prevent pregnancy.

It can be used by women who smoke or are breastfeeding. Although periods may become irregular, or stop altogether.

Patch

A short-acting reversible contraceptive method.

The contraceptive patch sticks onto your skin and releases oestrogen and progestogen to prevent pregnancy. A new patch needs to be applied weekly to protect you from pregnancy.

If used correctly, the patch is over 99% effective, but this can drop to 91% with typical use.

It’s very easy to use and you only have to remember to change it once a week. It won’t be affected by vomiting or diarrhoea, and can help with heavy periods and premenstrual symptoms.

You may experience some side effects of the patch, including headaches and mood swings, and it might irritate your skin.

Condom

A short-acting reversible contraceptive method.

Condoms are a barrier method for stopping a man's semen from entering into a woman's womb. You can get both male condoms that are worn on a penis, and female condoms that are worn inside the vagina.

When used correctly, condoms are highly effective. They are also the only contraceptive method that protects against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV and syphilis.

However, condoms can break or slip off, and you do have to use a new one each time you have sex.

Looking for more information?

You’ll find answers to the questions people ask most about reproductive health. If you can’t find the information you need, please call us on 0345 300 8090.

Other services we offer

Marie Stopes UK is here to support you and your reproductive healthcare needs.

Abortion services

We specialise in treatment, advice and support for women considering abortion

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Vasectomy

Find out about the permanent method of contraception for men

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Counselling

We provide counselling for anyone who would like to talk through their abortion or vasectomy options.

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