What is contraception?
Contraception covers all of the methods available to allow people to make choices about when or whether they wish to have a child. However these methods do not protect against sexually transmitted infections. For more information about what contraception means, click here.
What are my options?
Some of the options include an orally taken pill, an injection, an implant inserted under the skin, a 'coil' fitted into the womb - and, of course, condoms (which DO protect against sexually transmitted infections). Don't worry if some of these sound a bit strange! They are all very simple to use, and it is a personal choice deciding which method is best.
Click here to watch a short video explaining each method in detail.
At contraception clinics, the options can be talked through in confidence with staff (meaning they won't tell anyone else what you have said), and they help young people decide which method is best for them. To find a local clinic click here.
Emergency contraception (after sexual intercourse)
There are two methods of emergency contraception:
The so-called 'morning after' pill can prevent a woman getting pregnant AFTER having sex, as long as it is taken within 72 hours. Click here to find out more about the morning after pill.
The other method is to have an interuterine device (also known as an IUD or 'coil') fitted. Click here to find out more about the coil as emergency contraception.
When is the right time to find out about contraception?
This is a very personal choice. Some girls start taking a contraceptive pill as soon as they start their periods because it can ease heavy and painful periods. Others only start thinking about it when they think they are going to start having sex.
Once a person knows they will soon be having sex, it is a good idea to book an appointment at a contraception clinic to discuss the options. However, always ask yourself: am I ready for sex? Why am I doing this - is it because I want to, or because I feel pressured? Remember: you have the right to feel happy and safe with what is going on and no-one has the right to rush you!