What is contraception?
Contraception is a term given to prevent pregnancy or
conception. It is also known as birth control or fertility control.
This is to prevent the male sperm and the females ovary from
contact which intercepts with pregnancy. Both partners are
responsible to take the necessary options of contraception for
prevention of an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. There are
many contraceptive options and methods available in Australia
The male condom is the most common method of contraception used by
teenagers. The male condom is latex that covers the fully erect penis which
collects semen and prevents the sperm from entering the vagina. Non-latex
condoms are also available.
A condom needs to be used every time you have sexual intercourse, putting
it on before you have any contact between the penis and the vagina. This can
be 95-97% effective if it is used correctly.
You must be cautious, if the condom is expired, placed in a wallet or pocket
for a certain amount of time, heat or tearing in the centre when opening
could cause the latex to be punctured. Thus causing semen to spill out of the
condom when used. This can be ineffective and can cause pregnancy.
Condoms do not need to be specially prescribed. It is relatively inexpensive
and can be purchased at pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations, chemists
or vending machines.
The female condom is similar to the male condom. It is made out of loose
polyurethane which is much stronger than the latex from the male condom. The
female condom is a sheath with a flexible ring at each side. This can be inserted in the
vagina several hours before having sexual intercourse. It works by collecting the
semen to prevent the sperm from entering the vagina. This method has no known
If the female condom is inserted and used correctly each time it can be 95-97%
effective. The female condom can also protect you from STI’s by stopping the bodily
fluids from being shared between the partners, but must be in place before the penis
and vagina touch.
You must be cautious about how you insert the female condom, if it is expired or
placed into an pocket, wallet, left in a hot area etc. All these could effect how the
female condom stops the sperm from getting into the vagina.
The female condom does not need to be prescribed and can be purchased from Family
Planning clinic’s, some retailed outlets, sexual health clinic’s and some pharmacies.
The combined pill contains a synthetic versions of the hormones oestrogen and
progesterone which are similar hormones that naturally occur in females. This pill works
by stopping the female from ovulating which is a process in the females uterus where it
releases an egg each month. The pill thickens the cervix so that it can prevent sperm
from getting through and also changes the lining of the uterus so fertilised eggs cannot
be implanted. The pills need to be taken regularly depending on the pack you have.
With this method, it may cause mood changes, headaches, nausea, mild fluid retention,
breast tenderness and skin changes. All of these side effects will usually settle over
time. If taken as instructed, the combined pill is 98-99% effective in preventing
You must be cautious about remembering when to take the pills for the full effect of
preventing pregnancy and to take it daily as instructed. This method of contraception
does not protect you from StI’s.
The combined pill needs to be prescribed from a doctor and needs to be renewed
regularly. Costs can be an issue as well.
The emergency contraception method is sometimes necessary for preventing
pregnancy after sex. It is used mainly after, rather than before to prevent the
pregnancy if a condom breaks, a pill is forgotten or rape. The emergency
contraception is also known as the ‘morning after pill’, which contains a synthetic
hormone progestogen that has higher doses than the combined pill. It works by
delaying the ovulation and changes the lining of the uterus. This method causes
most women to have their period within six days of normal, may cause irregular
bleeding and rarely causes nausea or vomiting.
This contraceptive method is most effective if it is taken as soon as possible. This
should be taken within 120 hours from unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.
You must be cautious about the time you take this method as instructed to prevent
pregnancies effectively. The emergency contraception cannot protect you from STI’s.
This method does not require a prescription and so you can get it from the
emergency department of some hospitals or chemists.
The vaginal ring contains similar hormones to the combined pill which are
progestogen and oestrogen. This method also works the same way, the hormones
from the ring are released after inserting the flexible rubber ring inside the
vagina. The hormones are then absorbed through the vaginal walls which stops
ovulation and changes the lining of the uterus which prevents fertilised eggs
from being implanted. This method may cause mood changes, headaches, mild
fluid retention, breast tenderness and skin changes. All these side effects will
style over time.
This contraceptive method is 98-99% effective if it is used as instructed. This
works better than the combined pill by saving the time to remember taking the
You must be cautious on how you insert the flexible rubber ring, if it is not
inserted correctly, the method will not work as well. You also have to take notice
of when you need to replace it with another one. The vaginal ring does not protect
you from STI’s.
The vaginal ring needs a prescription from a doctor.