Contraception and birth control help you control if and when you become pregnant.

Different methods work in different ways. Contraception is available for free on the NHS and through our website.

Methods of contraception

There are 14 methods of contraception available. Our clinical information, real contraception stories and data about each method can help you decide the right method for you.

Combined pill

The combined pill is a tablet that you take every day. Taken correctly, it’s over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.


Condoms are a very popular method of contraception. They’re very effective at preventing pregnancy and the only contraception that protects you from STIs as well.


A diaphragm is a cup made of soft silicone. They are useful for women who do not want to use a hormonal or long-lasting contraceptive.

Emergency contraception

The emergency contraception pill (sometimes called the morning after pill) can be taken after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Get the morning after pill free from SH:24.

Female sterilisation

Sterilisation involves blocking or sealing the fallopian tubes, which link the ovaries to the womb (uterus). Sterilisation is meant to be permanent.

Hormonal coil

The hormonal coil is a small T-shaped plastic device that sits in your womb and releases the progestogen hormone.


The implant is a small, flexible plastic tube that sits under the skin of your arm and releases the progestogen hormone.


The contraceptive injection is injected 4 times a year. It contains progestogen, a copy of the natural hormone progesterone.

Natural family planning

Natural family planning means tracking the changes in your body and predicting when you’re most likely to get pregnant.

Non-hormonal coil

The non-hormonal coil, also known as the copper coil, is a small T-shaped piece of copper and plastic. It sits in the womb and lasts for up to 10 years.


The contraceptive patch is a small, sticky patch that sticks to your skin and releases hormones into your body. The hormones prevent pregnancy.

Progestogen only pill

The progestogen only pill, also called the mini-pill, is a pill you take every day. It contains only 1 hormone, progestogen.

Vaginal ring

The ring is a small, 5cm diameter, flexible plastic ring that sits in the vagina. It releases the hormones oestrogen and progestogen.


Vasectomy (male sterilisation) involves cutting and sealing or tying the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis.

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