Contraceptive choices

This website provides comprehensive information about four long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC): the intrauterine system (also known as the ‘hormonal coil’ or IUS), the intrauterine device (also known as ‘the coil’ or copper IUD), the 3-monthly contraceptive injection and the contraceptive implant.

All four of these methods are reversible (and are sometimes known as long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC)), which means that when you stop using them, your fertility returns to normal straight away except in the case of a 3-monthly contraceptive injection where it can take up to a year1. However, in most women the effect will have worn off 5 to 6 months after the last injection, and over 80 % of women will conceive within a year from their last injection2.

Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) are suitable for a wide range of women. Depending on which contraceptive you use, they are suitable for women who have never had children, are having a break between children, have all the children they want, have had an abortion, suffer from heavy periods or are on estrogen replacement therapy.

Click on the links below to find out more about which long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) may be a suitable choice for you.

Which may be suitable for me?

Answer the following 7 questions for a personalised summary of your options

  1. Long-acting reversible contraception – the effective and appropriate use of long-acting reversible contraception. National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health. Commissioned by the National Institute for Health and Clinic Excellence, October 2005. Published by RCOG Press. ISBN 1-904752-18-7
  2. Depo-Provera patient information leaflet. Pharmacia. August 2010.


Your contraceptive choices

FAILURE RATE

FAILURE RATE

FAILURE RATE

FAILURE RATE

2| 1,000WOMEN(number of pregnancies after one year of use)
6-8| 1,000WOMEN(number of pregnancies after one year of use)
2-60| 1,000WOMEN(number of pregnancies after one year of use)
< 1| 1,000WOMEN(number of pregnancies after one year of use)

ADMINISTRATION

ADMINISTRATION

ADMINISTRATION

ADMINISTRATION

Placement in womb
Placement in womb
Injection in arm or buttock
Placement under the skin of arm

LENGTH OF PROTECTION

LENGTH OF PROTECTION

LENGTH OF PROTECTION

LENGTH OF PROTECTION

Up to 5 years
Up to 5 to 10 years, depending on model
12 weeks
Up to 3 years

RETURN TO FERTILITY

RETURN TO FERTILITY

RETURN TO FERTILITY

RETURN TO FERTILITY

No delay
No delay
Possible delay of up to 1 year following treatment cessation
No delay

MENSTRUAL BLEEDING

MENSTRUAL BLEEDING

MENSTRUAL BLEEDING

MENSTRUAL BLEEDING

  • Initially periods may be lighter or heavier, longer or shorter or absent.
  • Infrequent or absent periods likely after several months.
  • Bleeding and spotting days may increase in first few months.
  • Bleeding may be heavier.
  • Irregular and possibly lengthy bleeding or spotting or no bleeding at all.
  • Periods may become more or less frequent, continuous or absent.
  • May reduce or increase in intensity or duration.

BODY WEIGHT

BODY WEIGHT

BODY WEIGHT

BODY WEIGHT

No effect
No effect
May cause weight gain of 2.3 – 3.6 kg in the first year
No effect

USE DURING BREASTFEEDING

USE DURING BREASTFEEDING

USE DURING BREASTFEEDING

USE DURING BREASTFEEDING

  • Yes
  • 6 weeks after birth
  • Yes
  • 6 weeks after birth
  • Yes
  • 6 weeks after birth
  • Yes
  • 4 weeks after birth

HEAVY PERIOD TREATMENT

HEAVY PERIOD TREATMENT

HEAVY PERIOD TREATMENT

HEAVY PERIOD TREATMENT

Yes
No
No
No

USE IN ESTROGEN THERAPY

USE IN ESTROGEN THERAPY

USE IN ESTROGEN THERAPY

USE IN ESTROGEN THERAPY

Yes – Recommended for use in conjunction with estrogen replacement therapy
No – Not recommended for use in conjunction with estrogen replacement therapy
No – Not recommended for use in conjunction with estrogen replacement therapy
No – Not recommended for use in conjunction with estrogen replacement therapy