Contraception is used to prevent pregnancy. There are three types of contraception which can be used to avoid fertilisation and prevent conception:
- Hormonal methods: These methods use sex hormones to change fertility by blocking sperm, stopping the release of the egg and changing the lining of the womb. They are very effective but may have side effects. These methods do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Barrier methods: These methods of contraception rely on blocking access of sperm to the egg or the egg to the lining of the womb or both. There are usually less side effects than with hormonal methods as they work locally. Only the condom reduces the risk of STIs.
- Timing methods: These methods depend on choosing to have sex at those times of the month when the woman is not fertile. These methods do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
A summary of information contained on these pages is available to download as the Choices in contraception leaflet.