Contraception & Pregnancy
Contraception is used to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Whilst the condom is the only form of contraception that also protects against STIs and infections including HIV, there are many different forms of contraception that might suit you more than others:
- Short-acting contraceptives: These include the combined oral pill, the progestogen only pill (the mini pill), the contraceptive patch and the contraceptive ring. These are very effective methods of contraception but only if used correctly. Effectiveness rates for typical use are less than those for long-acting contraception methods because it can be very easy to forget to take pills or change patches and rings.
- Male condoms: These are made from very thin latex or rubber-like materials, and are designed to stop a man’s semen from coming into contact with his sexual partner. When condoms are used correctly, they help to protect against STIs during vaginal, oral or anal sex, and also protect against pregnancy during vaginal sex.
- Female condoms: Also known as “femidoms”, these are made from a thin, soft plastic and are worn inside the vagina to prevent semen getting to the womb. When used correctly during vaginal sex, they can also help to protect against STIs.
- Long-acting contraceptives: The most effective contraceptives are the ones that are long-acting, and do not rely on a pill being taken every day or a condom or other “barrier method” being used every time you have sex. These contraceptives include the contraceptive implant (nexplanon), the intrauterine device (IUD), the intrauterine system (IUS) and the contraceptive injection. More information on these types of contraception is available here from the Sexual Health Sheffield website
All of these forms of contraception are available free of charge from Sexual Health Sheffield’s Contraception Service.
Pregnancy and Testing:
You can carry out most pregnancy tests on a sample of urine from the first day of a missed period. If you’re pregnant, this is about two weeks after conception. If you think you may be pregnant, the most important thing to do is to get a test done as soon as possible and find out for sure.
You can get a pregnancy test free of charge free from Sexual Health Sheffield’s Contraception Service or your GP.
If you are pregnant, you may feel a whole range of different emotions, and it is best, if possible, to talk these through with someone that you trust like a family member of a friend. Specialist support and guidance is available from Sexual Health Sheffield, as well as more general support and advice from the SHU Wellbeing Service. There are a number of different decisions you may wish to make, and support is available for you with any of these choices -
- You can continue with the pregnancy and have a baby. If this is what you have chosen to do, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to discuss looking after your health during pregnancy and ante-natal care
- You can have continute with the pregnancy and choose to look into adoption
- Or you may wish to have an abortion (sometimes called a termination). More information about abortion services in Sheffield can be found in SHS's "Thinking it Over" leaflet
Whatever you decide to do should be your decision, and remember that support is available to you throughout the process.