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The beginner’s guide to non-hormonal birth control methods

Hormonal contraception, such as the pill and implant amongst others, are among the most commonly used methods by Irish women to prevent pregnancy. It’s easy to think that these methods are, in fact, the only ones out there – but that’s not the case. Let’s take a look at some non-hormonal methods that couples can choose from. 

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list – and you should consult with your GP before any decision, so that they can properly advise you on what may be personally best for you and your circumstances. (Plus, it’s worth remembering that only protection such as condoms will prevent against STIs.)

The copper coil The copper coil is statistically one of the most reliable birth control methods, with 99%  effectiveness. It’s a T-shaped intrauterine device (or IUD for short) that fits inside the uterus and lasts 5 to 10 years. The copper acts as a spermicide in the uterus. Fertility returns quickly after removal. It is suitable for women both with and without children.  

The rhythm method This birth control is based on calendar counting by trying to figure out your fertility levels based on the menstrual cycle. Unprotected sex is then avoided on days deemed to be particularly fertile. The reported failure rate of this method is 25% and it requires lots of planning and discipline.  

Barrier methods There are several varieties of barrier method. Barrier methods physically block sperm from entering the uterus. The most common around the world is male condoms. Other options include a spermicide cap, a cervical cap, diaphragms and female condoms. Your GP and local family planning clinic can advise on using the above methods – either alone or in conjunction with each other to increase protection. 

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