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Birth Control

Oral Contraceptive Pill

The oral contraceptive pill may contain either one or two hormones. The combined pill contains a combination of oestrogen and progestogen hormones and prevents pregnancy by preventing the egg from leaving the ovary. The mini pill contains small amounts of progestogen which prevents pregnancy by changing the cervical mucous thus making it hostile to sperm. 

The pill is taken each day at roughly the same time for three weeks, followed by a week long break during which time you have your period.  When ceasing the pill, return of fertility usually occurs within the first cycle.

The contraceptive pill requires a prescription from your GP.


The contraceptive injection of hormones provides longer acting alternatives to the pill. It slowly releases the progestogen hormone into the body preventing ovulation. The injection is repeated every twelve weeks, and it is important that timeframes are observed, otherwise it becomes ineffective. The contraceptive injection cannot be withdrawn or reversed once it has been administered and can take up to three months to wear off. It may also delay the return to your normal fertility for up to 18 months after single or multiple injections.

Contraceptive Implant

The contraceptive implant is a small flexible plastic rod approximately 4cm long  that is inserted just under the skin, on the inside of the upper arm by your doctor under local anaesthetic. It contains a small amount of contraceptive hormone progestrone which is slowly released into the bloodsteam preventing the release of eggs, sperm from reaching an egg or an egg settling into the uterus. These implants last up to three years and are easily removed. Return of fertility usually occurs within the first cycle after the implant has been removed.

Your doctor will be able to answer any question you may have about contraceptive implants.

Mirena Intra Uterine System (IUS)

The intra uterine system is a small plastic T shaped device with a cylinder around its stem that releases a hormone to prevent pregnancy. The IUS is placed inside the uterus by a GP and can remain in place for up to 5 years. It can be easily removed by the nylon string which is attached to it. It is important that the string is checked initially at 6 weeks then once a year to ensure the device has not shifted and remains correctly in place. 

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