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FAQ

Birth Control Options

There are several methods to choose from when it comes to contraception. Here we look at all the birth control methods available to help you determine which is the best type of birth control for you. For each option, we’ll cover important factors including effectiveness and whether the method also prevents STIs.

The Pill (16+)

Prescription hormonal contraception can be delivered via a pill. This provides effective birth control by stopping ovulation and thickening the fluid at the uterus opening, blocking sperm from entering.

Effectiveness

The pill is 99.5% effective when used correctly. If you occasionally miss a daily pill, this may drop to 93%. This will vary based on whether you miss the pill towards the middle of the pack or just after the sugar pills.

Some variations of the pill are available with slightly different oestrogens and progesterones as well as different options and strengths. The ‘mini pill’ is slightly less effective than the regular ‘combined’ pill, which is why it’s usually only recommended for women who can’t take oestrogen due to side effects, breastfeeding, or other health reasons.

Effectiveness statistics from the Victorian Government’s Better Health website.

STI Prevention

This female birth control option is strictly for contraception and will not protect you from STIs.

Important to Know

The Vaginal Ring

This is another prescription option. While it works in a similar way to the pill, it is applied intra-vaginally rather than taken orally.

Effectiveness

Similarly to the pill, the vaginal ring provides up to 99.5% effectiveness when used correctly. This may drop to 93% if you don’t always apply a new ring on time.

STI Prevention

This female birth control option is strictly for contraception and will not protect you from STIs.

Condoms and Diarphagms

Condoms and diaphragms are classified as ‘barrier’ birth control options. This means they physically prevent sperm from entering your uterus.

Effectiveness

Effectiveness statistics from the Victorian Government’s Better Health website.

STI Prevention

While condoms (both male and female) are highly effective at preventing most STIs including gonorrhoea and chlamydia, they don’t prevent skin-to-skin infections such as genital warts.

Diaphragms don’t provide any protection from STIs. Therefore, diaphragms are most appropriate for having sex with a trusted partner (i.e. you have both been tested and found negative for STIs) purely as a birth control method.

Important to Know

Condoms are much less effective if they break. To prevent this from happening, follow these tips from Planned Parenthood:

Implants, Injections, and Intrauterine Devices

For a more long-term birth control option, consider a contraceptive implant (Implanon NXT), injection (depo-ralovera, commonly known as Depo), or intrauterine device (hormone-releasing IUD or copper IUD). These methods do require in-person doctor consultation, so they aren’t necessarily the most discreet option.

Depending on the method you choose, this can provide effective contraception for anywhere between 12 weeks and 10 years. All these methods can be easily stopped or removed if you later decide you want to get pregnant; however, it may take longer to get back to homeostasis compared to other methods.

Effectiveness

All these methods are more than 99% effective when used correctly.

Effectiveness statistics from the Victorian Government’s Better Health website.

STI Prevention

These female birth control options are strictly for contraception and will not protect you from STIs.

Important to Know

Sterilisation (Tubal Ligation or Vasectomy)

Sterilisation surgery (tubal ligation for women, vasectomy for men) is a permanent and very effective contraception method. It should only be considered if you and/or your partner are sure you won’t want to have children in the future.

Natural Contraception

Natural birth control can sometimes be achieved by monitoring your menstrual cycle and abstaining from sex during any time you could get pregnant (this is also known as the rhythm method). This method isn’t reliable or recommended.

What is the best type of birth control?

The right type of birth control for you will come down to your lifestyle, personal preferences, and having an open discussion with your sexual partner. We hope this guide has given you some useful information for making this decision, but we recommend speaking with your doctor if you have any concerns or questions about choosing the right contraception for your needs. If you're interested in the Pill, we can help you with that. Find out more here.

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