In this video, Dr Hilary Bower discusses the facts and debunks some of the most common myths around the currently available contraceptive options in Australia.
Many children are born as a result of unplanned pregnancy and can be a happy accident. However, its better to plan for a child, as it brings a big change to your life. Planning for a pregnancy is important for your own health and wellbeing, as well as that of your family. You can plan your family by using effective contraception.
There are many types of contraception available to you to choose from, and it is up to you to state your preference and your doctor to guide you as to what would suit you best.
Contraception can be hormonal, barrier or intrauterine, or permanent, and the various options will suit individuals differently.
Contraceptive Pill (Hormonal Contraception)
Pills are either combined (containing oestrogen and progesterone) or the mini pill (progesterone only).
Oestrogen in the combined pill can sometimes cause nausea and/or headaches.
Progesterone can be responsible for erratic bleeding, mood swings and skin breakouts.
The downside of pills is that you need to remember to take them every day, (and for the mini pill it needs to be at the same time each day!) so many women forget.
If you accidentally miss a pill, because you run out or forget, or don’t absorb the pill, it won’t work. And that’s why the pill is less effective and not the first option to prevent pregnancy. There are "missed pill rules" which need to be followed if you forget one pill or more.
IUDs & other Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives
In modern Australia and around the world, the best choice for effective birth control, is the use of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs).
These are recommended for use as the first option, as they are “on board”, “set and forget” and much more effective than other types of contraceptive.
Long Acting Reversible contraceptives include the hormonal implant and 2 types of IUD (Intra-Uterine Device).
Implants are inserted under the skin in the inner upper part of the arm and release progesterone.
The hormonal IUD also releases a small amount of progesterone through the stem of the device located in the uterus.
The non-hormonal (copper) IUD contains no hormones but is still a very effective contraceptive.
Whether you or not you will experience side effects from your choice of birth control can’t be predicted. You just have to try.
Sometimes an individual will be particularly sensitive to hormones or have medical reasons for not being able to take hormonal contraception such as focal migraines, or breast cancer.
We will be able to advise you if you are suitable for a particular type of hormonal contraception.
Condoms and Diaphragms (Barrier Contraception)
Condoms and diaphragms are barrier contraception, so need to be thought about in advance and fitted prior to penetration.
The problem with condoms used for birth control is that they can break and come off, in which case emergency contraception will be required.
However, condoms help prevent infection, so for casual encounters, condom use is always recommended whether contraception is needed or not.
Diaphragms are no longer fitted, but there is a one size fits all option which is available for purchase at the clinic. Diaphragms are less effective than other options but are still better than nothing.
Barrier methods are less reliable than hormonal contraception but can be a good option if you can’t tolerate hormones.
Permanent Contraception (Sterilisation)
For permanent contraception, there are procedures for both men and women.
Permanent contraception (sterilisation) is intended to be irreversible, so our doctors can help you think carefully before deciding to opt for a vasectomy or tubal ligation.
Sometimes, after a vasectomy or tubal ligation, you may change your mind, but reversing these procedures is neither cheap nor simple. This is why we will counsel you thoroughly to ensure you understand your choice and are happy with the decision.
We do provide 'no scalpel' vasectomy at Clinic 66, either as an awake procedure or under sedation.
Ladies, if you decide on a tubal ligation, you will need a general anaesthetic and overnight stay in a hospital.
The waiting list in the public system is long for tubal ligation, so if you want this done, we will refer you privately to a gynaecologist of your choice.