‘Contraception is about empowerment,’ says GP Dr Serena Cardoso. ‘We’re deciding when – and if – we’re going to have babies. The right to have access to contraception is something women fought very hard for, yet it’s something many take for granted. And a lot of women – usually out of a fear of side effects – are not using contraception.’
The pill has lately come to be considered something of a frenemy, with new studies – including fake ones – putting it in a less than positive light. One good thing about this raised awareness, says Dr Cardoso, is that it has caused women to make more detailed investigations into their contraceptive options, and what each one entails.
It’s important to discuss your contraceptive choices with your gynaecologist or GP, who will take into account your medical history, lifestyle and past experiences with contraception before recommending a new method for you. To help you prep for that appointment, here’s a no-BS breakdown of modern contraceptive options.
1. THE IMPLANT
What: A matchstick-sized rod fitted under the skin of the upper arm by a doctor or nurse. ‘The implant slowly releases a low dose of hormones that provide protection against pregnancy for three to five years, depending on the model,’ says the Marie Stopes website.
Need to know: There are horror stories of the implant moving around and travelling to different body parts but ‘while there is a chance, it’s rare,’ says Dr Cardoso. She says the majority of women are ‘very happy’ with the implant because of its convenience.
Cost: Free at government clinics.
• Most effective contraceptive
• Long-term solution
• Easy insertion
• Possibility of irregular periods
• Chance of migration
• Some patients report pain at the insertion site