If you are having sex and not using contraception you’re at risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

There are many types of contraception you can choose to avoid pregnancy. They are all different and you may find that some will work better for you than others. 

Condoms are the only method that helps protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

All contraception is free of charge from Embrace and other NHS services. If you’re not sure which contraception method is best for you, call our advice line on 01902 481689 or text 07480 635 548 to speak to one of our sexual health nurses. 
Here you can find out more about each of the contraception methods.

LARCs, or Long-Acting Reversible Contraception, are forms of contraception that last for a long period of time but they do need to be fitted by a trained doctor or nurse. They can be removed at any time. 

LARCs include implants, injections and the coil.

The IUD or coil is a small, usually T-shaped plastic device which is inserted into the womb through the vagina by a specially trained doctor or nurse.

Unlike the IUS, the IUD does not have hormones in it. It contains copper which affects the swimming movements of a sperm and stops it from reaching the egg. As a back-up, it can also stop a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.

It’s over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and can stay in place between five and 10 years. 

The coil can also be used as a form of emergency contraception.
You can have a coil fitted at Embrace or at some GP practices. Call 01902 444 444 to make an appointment at Embrace or contact your local GP.

Sometimes called Mirena, the IUS is a small T-shaped plastic device that is inserted into the womb through the vagina by a specially trained doctor or nurse. Once fitted it slowly releases the hormone progestogen which thickens the mucus around the cervix, preventing sperm from entering the womb. It also thins the lining of the womb to stop a fertilised egg from being able to implant. The IUS can stay in place for five years until it needs replacing.

You can have an IUS fitted at Embrace or at your GP practice.

The implant is a small flexible rod which is inserted under the skin in the upper arm. It works by releasing a small amount of the hormone progestogen to stop you releasing an egg every month. It also thins the lining of the womb to stop a fertilised egg from being able to implant. The implant can stay in place for up to four years.

There a different types of contraceptive injections which can prevent you from getting pregnant for between eight and 13 weeks.

Injected into a muscle on the top part of your bottom, it works by releasing a progestogen hormone, which stops your ovaries releasing an egg each month. It also thickens the mucus around the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to travel to reach an egg.

The combined contraceptive pill (‘the pill’) contains two hormones - oestrogen and progestogen. It works by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg each month and thickens the mucus in the neck of the womb so it is harder for sperm to reach an egg. It also thins the lining of the womb to stop a fertilised egg from being able to implant.

There are several types and brands of the pill – some involve you taking one pill every day for 21 days followed by a seven-day break when you have a monthly bleed or period, whilst others have no or shorter breaks. They have to be taken correctly in order to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

You can get the contraceptive pill from Embrace clinics or your GP can prescribe it for you.

The progestogen-only pill (POP) or ‘mini pill’ contains just the progestogen hormone. It can be used if you can’t take oestrogen for health reasons.

It involves taking a pill every day with no break between packs of pills but it does produce an unpredictable bleeding pattern. It’s important that you take the pill at the same time every day for it to be effective.

It works by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg each month and thickens the mucus in the neck of the womb so it is harder for sperm to reach an egg. It also thins the lining of the womb to stop a fertilised egg from being able to implant.

You can get the progestogen-only pill from Embrace clinics and pharmacies or your GP can prescribe it for you.

Natural family planning is when a woman works out when she is in the most fertile during her menstrual cycle to either plan or avoid getting pregnant. It involves daily monitoring and recording of fertility signals such as the length of your cycle and your body temperature.

It can be up to 99% effective when followed correctly, however it is not suitable if you have an irregular cycle or you have recently started your periods.

At Embrace, we can advise you about natural family planning.

Condoms are a barrier method of contraception. They are worn on the penis during sex to stop sperm entering the vagina and meeting an egg.

Male condoms are made of very thin latex (rubber) or polyurethane (plastic) which stretches to cover an erect penis. They’re available in lots of different shapes, sizes, colours and flavours (for use in oral sex) and can be used with a water-based lubricant.

They are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy if used correctly - putting a condom on before sex and not using it more than once.

It’s possible for a condom to come off or split during sex. If this happens you may need emergency contraception.

Condoms are also the only form of contraception that can protect against STIs and prevent STIs being passed on through sex or genital, oral or anal contact. Find out more about STIs

If you are aged between 13 and 24 you can sign up for a C-Card. This allows you to get free condoms from places such as youth clubs, pharmacies, schools, health centres and young people’s services across the city.

You can also pick up free condoms if you attend one of our clinics.

The female condom (sometimes called an internal condom or femidom) is the same as a male condom except it is placed inside the vagina to prevent sperm getting to the womb. It has an internal ring which is inserted inside the vagina with the opening lying just outside.

When used correctly, they are 95% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Like male condoms they provide protection against most STIs and prevent them being passed from one sexual partner to another. Find out more about STIs

Condoms are a barrier method of contraception. They are worn on the penis during sex to stop sperm entering the vagina and meeting an egg.

Male condoms are made of very thin latex (rubber) or polyurethane (plastic) which stretches to cover an erect penis. They’re available in lots of different shapes, sizes, colours and flavours (for use in oral sex) and can be used with a water-based lubricant.

They are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy if used correctly - putting a condom on before sex and not using it more than once.

It’s possible for a condom to come off or split during sex. If this happens you may need emergency contraception.

Condoms are also the only form of contraception that can protect against STIs and prevent STIs being passed on through sex or genital, oral or anal contact. Find out more about STIs

If you are aged between 13 and 24 you can sign up for a C-Card. This allows you to get free condoms from places such as youth clubs, pharmacies, schools, health centres and young people’s services across the city.

You can also pick up free condoms if you attend one of our clinics.

The female condom (sometimes called an internal condom or femidom) is the same as a male condom except it is placed inside the vagina to prevent sperm getting to the womb. It has an internal ring which is inserted inside the vagina with the opening lying just outside.

When used correctly, they are 95% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Like male condoms they provide protection against most STIs and prevent them being passed from one sexual partner to another. Find out more about STIs

A cap or diaphragm is a barrier method of contraception. Made of thin rubber/silicone with a flexible rim, they’re shaped like a circular dome and fit inside the vagina and cover the cervix (the entrance to the womb) to prevent sperm from entering.

They are 92 – 96% effective at preventing pregnancy but they must be used with a chemical that kills sperm called spermicide.

A diaphragm or cap is only used when you have sex but it must be left in place for at least six hours after the last time you had sex.

They are available in different sizes. A specially trained nurse or doctor can help you select the right size for you.

Female sterilisation is a permanent form of contraception that is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

It involves an operation which is usually carried out under general anaesthetic but can be carried out under local anaesthetic, depending on the method used. The surgery involves cutting, blocking or sealing the fallopian tubes which link the ovaries to the womb (uterus).

This prevents the woman’s eggs from reaching sperm and becoming fertilised. After sterilisation, eggs will still be released from the ovaries as normal but they will be absorbed naturally into the woman's body.

Embrace does not offer sterilisation services but your GP will be able to advise you if you are interested in this method.

A vasectomy (or male sterilisation) is a permanent form of contraception that is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

It involves a minor operation to cut or seal the tubes that carries sperm from a man's testicles to the penis. This stops sperm from reaching the seminal fluid (semen), which is ejaculated from the penis during sex, preventing a woman’s egg from being fertilised.

A vasectomy is usually carried out under local anaesthetic and takes about 15 minutes.

Embrace does not offer sterilisation services but your GP will be able to advise you if you’re interested in this method.

The combined contraceptive pill (‘the pill’) contains two hormones - oestrogen and progestogen. It works by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg each month and thickens the mucus in the neck of the womb so it is harder for sperm to reach an egg. It also thins the lining of the womb to stop a fertilised egg from being able to implant.

There are several types and brands of the pill – some involve you taking one pill every day for 21 days followed by a seven-day break when you have a monthly bleed or period, whilst others have no or shorter breaks. They have to be taken correctly in order to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

You can get the contraceptive pill from Embrace clinics or your GP can prescribe it for you.

Sometimes called Mirena, the IUS is a small T-shaped plastic device that is inserted into the womb through the vagina by a specially trained doctor or nurse. Once fitted it slowly releases the hormone progestogen which thickens the mucus around the cervix, preventing sperm from entering the womb. It also thins the lining of the womb to stop a fertilised egg from being able to implant. The IUS can stay in place for five years until it needs replacing.

You can have an IUS fitted at Embrace or at your GP practice.

It is possible to become pregnant as soon as three weeks after you’ve given birth. It is also possible to become pregnant before your first period returns during your postnatal phase.

You have a few options for contraception after giving birth. We offer long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). This includes:  

This is the only method of contraception which can delay the return of your fertility by up to 12 months. The depo-progesterone injection (DEPO) is an injection that goes into the muscle, usually in your bottom. It lasts for three months, so you will need to go back to your GP or one of our Embrace clinics for another injection every three months. With typical use, about three women in every hundred become pregnant while using the injection. 

The coil is a small T shaped device which we place into your womb after your baby has been born. There are two types of coils. The copper coil (or intrauterine device, IUD) does not release hormones, and lasts for 10 years. Whereas, the hormonal coil (or intrauterine system, IUS) releases progestogen hormone and lasts for 6 years. About one woman in every thousand will become pregnant while using the coil. 

This is a small matchstick sized rod which is inserted just beneath the skin in your non-dominant arm. It provides highly effective contraception for three years. Less than one woman in every thousand will become pregnant while using the implant. 

The POP needs to be taken at the same time every day to provide highly effective contraception. With typical use, about 9 in every 100 women using the POP over the course of one year become pregnant. 

If you are using dummies, or expressing breastmilk, it is possible to become pregnant before your first period after giving birth. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you may experience Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM), which can delay your periods from returning for the first six months after birth, however, this may not prevent ovulation or pregnancy. 

It is not advisable to rely on breastfeeding for your contraception if you are not planning to become pregnant during your postnatal phase.