Understanding Contraception. Which Birth Control Method Is For You?

Contraception: Understanding Birth Control Method - DoctorOnCall

What is contraception?

Pregnancy is a result of a man’s sperm reaching a woman’s egg and fertilizing it. This can be prevented by contraception.

Contraception works by:

  • Keeping the sperm away from the egg
  • Blocking egg production
  • Making it hard for an egg to be implanted on the wall of the womb lining. 

There are different methods of contraception to suit the different needs and lifestyles of women. To choose a contraceptive method that works best for you, your doctor or pharmacist might also ask you several questions including:

  • Your age and weight
  • Whether you smoke
  • Your medical history
  • Medications you are taking (if any)

Some contraceptive methods, such as the combined oral contraceptive pill, progestogen-only pill and patch, require you to be organized and to remember to take/apply them on time. 

The frequency of using the contraceptive method and its effectiveness might also affect your choice.




Diaphragm with spermicide 

Contraceptive cap with spermicide

Inserted just before sex


Male and female condoms

Used/inserted just before sex

98% (male condom)

95% (female condom)

Combined oral contraceptive pill

Progestogen-only pill

Taken daily


Natural family planning

Daily monitoring throughout the menstrual cycle


Contraceptive patch

Replaced weekly


Vaginal ring

Replaced monthly


Contraceptive injection

Renewed 3-monthly


Contraceptive implant

Renewed every 3-years


Intrauterine device (IUD)

Renewed every 5 years/inserted within 5 days after sex


Intrauterine system (IUS)

Renewed every 5 years


Male and female sterilisation



* If used correctly/according to instructions

Note: All the contraceptive methods mentioned above (except condoms) prevent pregnancy but do not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms are the only contraceptive method that can also protect against STIs. You may want to discuss with your doctor or pharmacist to find out which contraceptive method best suits your needs and lifestyle


*The free doctor consult initiative is supported and fully funded by DoctorOnCall