Female Contraceptive Methods

There is a wide range of contraceptive methods on the market for women and it can take a while to find a contraceptive that suits your body, although your GP should be able to advise you. Here is a summary of contraceptives currently available for women.


A recent survey showed that 45 per cent of 18 – 24 year olds in Ireland use the pill. The pill is made up of two hormones oestrogen and progesterone. The pill is taken orally everyday for three weeks, followed by one pill-free week. It is best to take the pill around the same time daily. You have up to twelve hours to remember to take the pill if forgotten. The pill is not recommended to smokers or overweight women over the age of 35 and women who are breastfeeding. For those that the pill is not suitable for the mini pill is usually prescribed. Speak to your GP for more details.


Like the pill, the patch is similar in hormone content. For those who forget to take their pill on time, the patch may be a better form of contraceptive. It can be placed on your upper outer arm, abdomen, buttock, or back. The patch is just as effective as the pills and has very little effects, though a small amount of users had a skin reaction to the patch adhesive.

Vaginal ring

The vaginal ring is a newer form of contraceptive, it’s a flexible ring inserted by the woman into her vagina and lasts for three weeks. The ring contains the same hormones as the pill oestrogen and progesterone, which are absorbed in the vagina to prevent ovulation. Again, it has the same effectiveness as the pill.

The Coil

The coil lasts for five years, it is inserted into the womb which is usually uncomplicated and painless. Some women experience bleeding for up to three months after insertion. It works by stopping sperm from meeting the egg. The most popular form of the coil is the Mirena. The coil is a very effective form of contraception and fertility returns to normal immediately after removal.

Injectable contraceptive (Depo Provera)

A high dose of progesterone is injected into buttock once every three months. Suitable for most women and an effective form of contraception, side effects can be slight weight gain and irregular bleeding at first but this usually subsides. Women who use the the depo provera experience none or light bleeding.

maternity & infant

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