All women and men can have control over when, and if, they become parents, but making choices about contraception isn't easy. To get started, learn about birth control methods you or your partner can use to prevent pregnancy.
There is no "best" method of birth control; each method has its pros and cons. Before choosing a birth control method, think about:
You can choose from many methods of birth control. They are grouped by how they work:
Continuous abstinence (minimum effectiveness: 100%)
This means not having sex (vaginal, anal or oral) at any time. It is the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
Natural family planning/rhythm method (minimum effectiveness: 76%)
This method is when you do not have sex or use a barrier method on the days you are most fertile, that is the days you are most likely to become pregnant.
In barrier methods, you put up a block or barrier to prevent sperm from reaching the egg such as:
These methods prevent pregnancy by interfering with ovulation, fertilisation and/or implanting of the fertilised egg:
Devices that are inserted into the body and left in place for a few years:
Permanent birth control methods
For people who are sure they never want a child or more children:
Emergency contraception, also called the 'morning after pill'
Emergency contraception keeps a woman from getting pregnant when she has had unprotected vaginal intercourse. It should not be used as a regular birth control method.
Keep in mind that even the most effective birth control method can fail. But your chances of getting pregnant are lowest if the method you choose is used correctly and every time you have sex. Some birth control methods can take time and practice to learn. Talk with your doctor if you have questions on how to use certain methods. Doctors are used to talking about birth control and there is no need to feel embarrassed about talking to him or her.