How can you prevent a future unwanted pregnancy?

About 85% of sexually active people who do not use contraceptives become pregnant within a year. You can become pregnant while breastfeeding, from about 10 days after childbirth, and even during menstruation. Withdrawal of the penis prior to ejaculation and periodic abstinence does not prevent pregnancy or the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Here you can read more about several forms of contraceptives.

You can check here which contraceptive method is the most appropriate, and which are risky, if you have certain health conditions.

You can prevent an unwanted pregnancy with:

  • Total Abstinence
  • Use of contraceptives

Here you can find more information about the use of contraception and other SRHR topics.

For availability EC in Europe, please check  here

If you are sexually active and do not want to get pregnant, always use contraception.


Methods of Contraception:

No method of contraception gives 100% protection.

The latex condom is the only contraceptive method considered highly effective in reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Birth control pills, implants and IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections. When you start using contraceptives, please consider the possibility of a sexual health check including HIV. Be aware STIs do not always cause symptoms.


For the Woman

DIAPHRAGM is a rubber disk with a flexible rim that covers the cervix and must be used together with spermicide. It is available by prescription only and must be fitted for size by a health professional. The diaphragm protects for six hours and should be left in place for at least six hours after intercourse but not for longer than a total of 24 hours.

ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES protect against pregnancy by the combined actions of the hormones, estrogens and progestin. The hormones prevent ovulation. The pills have to be taken every day as directed and do not work after vomiting or diarrhea. Side effects of the pill can be nausea, headache, breast tenderness, weight gain, irregular bleeding, and depression.

DEPO-PROVERA is a hormonal contraceptive injected into a muscle on the arm or buttock every three months. In order to remain effective, the injection must be repeated every 3 months. Menstruation can become irregular and sometimes even absent.

IMPLANTS (such as Norplant or Implanon) are made up of small rubber rods, which are surgically implanted under the skin of the upper arm, where they release the contraceptive steroid, levonorgestrel. Their protection lasts from 3 to 5 years. Side effects include menstrual cycle changes, weight gain, breast tenderness and loss of bone mass.

COPPER-IUD is a T-shaped device inserted into the uterus by a health-care professional. The IUD can remain in place for 5- 10 years. IUD’s have one of the lowest failure rates of any contraceptive method. Sometimes the IUD can be expelled. Women should check each month after their period with their finger to ensure they can still feel the threads of the IUD. Other side effects can include abnormal bleeding and cramps, but this usually only occurs during and immediately after insertion.

HORMONAL-IUD is an IUD with a small hormonal (progestogen) sleeve. It is one of the most effective forms of birth control. Next, to the above-mentioned characteristics of an IUD, it can remain in place for 5 years but has no heavy bleeding side effects. As most women experience lighter periods and less bleeding (some stop completely having periods), it is used as a therapy as well for women with heavy cycle bleedings and for few women who experience hormonal side effects like acne and feeling depressed.

FEMALE STERILIZATION is done surgically. The tubes are ligated, preventing the egg-cells from encountering the sperm cells and preventing any future pregnancies. It is a permanent form of contraception.

FEMALE CONDOM is made of soft rubber and can be used only once. As a mechanical barrier method of contraception worn by women, it’s inserted easily into the vagina before sex and prevents direct vaginal contact with semen, infectious genital discharges, and genital lesions. It is shaped like a long tube or sheath, with one closed end and one open end, and at each end, there's a flexible ring, helping to keep the female condom in place once it's inserted. Condoms are the most effective method for reducing the risk of infection from the viruses that cause AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).

EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION must be taken within 3 or 5 days after unprotected sex, depending on the type taken, however, the sooner used, the more effective. It prevents an unplanned pregnancy by delaying the ovulation. Most combination birth control pills (estrogens and progesterone) can also be used. Take  one dose 100 µg ethinylestradiol  (=2 to 4 birth control pills within 72 hours of unprotected sex (depending on the ethinylestradiol  amount in each pill), and a second dose 12 hours later.

MORNING-AFTER copper IUD must be inserted within 5 days of unprotected intercourse. The IUD can remain for 5 to 10 years.


For the Man

CONDOMS are usually made from latex rubber and can be used only once. Some have spermicide added to kill sperm. They act as a mechanical barrier, preventing direct vaginal contact with semen, infectious genital discharges, and genital lesions. Condoms are the most effective method for reducing the risk of infection from the viruses that cause AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections  (STI’s). It is important to put a condom on properly before intercourse.

MALE STERILIZATION also known as a vasectomy, is a quick operation performed under local anesthesia with possible minor post-surgical complications, such as bleeding or infection. The ability to get an erection and an ejaculation do not disappear. The sperm cells are just a very small part (1%) of the fluid and a man will not notice any difference in ejaculation. The body will absorb the sperm cells.

Different contraceptives as per their effectiveness:


Estimated Effectiveness

Male Latex Condom


Female Condom


Diaphragm with Spermicide


Oral Contraceptives


Injection (Depo-Provera)


Implant (Norplant, Implanon)

Over 99%

IUD (Intrauterine Device)

Over 99%

Surgical Sterilization

Over 99%

Emergency Contraceptives