Health One Family Medicine

The Most Common Contraceptives for Women

Access to contraceptives for women worldwide has transformed several lives, giving women more control over how, when, and if they choose to reproduce. However, with so many options available, choosing which contraception to use can seem like a challenge.

In this blog, we will discuss the most common contraceptives for women, along with their pros and cons. Remember that you need to consult a healthcare provider before you opt for any of these methods.

Different Types of Contraceptives for Women

1. Oral Contraceptive Pills

Oral contraceptive pills are tablets taken once a day. They are the most commonly reported contraceptive method in females. There are different types of pills to choose from, so it’s all about finding the right fit for you. Most people opt for combined pills or mini pills. The combined pill contains estrogen and progestin, whereas the mini pill contains progestin.


  • Highly effective when used correctly
  • Allow sexual spontaneity
  • Do not interrupt sex
  • May reduce heavy and painful periods
  • Can have a positive effect on acne


  • If you forget to take a pill, it won’t be as effective
  • Can only be used by women
  • Not suitable for women who can’t take contraceptives that contain estrogen
  • Do not protect against STIs

An oral contraceptive pill is only available via prescription from a medical professional so visit your family physician or gynecologist.

2. Intrauterine Device (IUD)

An IUD is a small device shaped like a T, usually made of copper and plastic or a material comprising of progesterone. It is fixed inside the uterus by a qualified healthcare provider. It can stay in place for three to ten years and is a reversible method of contraception.

An IUD is an effective emergency contraception method when fitted by a healthcare professional within five days of having unprotected sex.


  • Copper IUDs are 99% effective, whereas the ones containing hormones are 99.8% effective
  • Long-lasting method of contraception
  • Does not interfere with intercourse


  • Irregular bleeding or spotting might occur during the first six months of use
  • Needs a qualified healthcare provider for the insertion and removal process
  • Does not protect against STIs

3. Contraceptive Injection

A contraceptive injection contains the hormone progesterone that lasts up to 13 weeks, depending on the injection brand. A doctor or nurse usually administers this injection in the buttocks or the upper arm.

The injection works to subdue ovulation every month and thins the uterus lining, so a fertilized egg does not implant. It also thickens the cervical mucus, making it harder for the sperm to move in the cervix.

However, unlike pills, you can’t just stop taking the injection. If you decide not to renew the injection, your menstrual cycle may not return to its regular pattern for up to a year. If you decide that you want to have a baby, an injection can impact how long it takes you to get pregnant.  


  • Does not interrupt sex
  • Safe to use if you’re breastfeeding or taking any other medication
  • Can reduce heavy or painful periods
  • Can reduce symptoms of PMS


  • Doesn’t protect against STIs
  • Certain brands of injection can cause weight gain
  • Headaches, decreased libido, acne, hair loss, and mood swings may increase

4. Patch

A small contraceptive patch that is stuck onto your skin and releases progestin and estrogen is also an effective contraceptive method in females. It contains the same hormones as a combined pill. It works by stopping ovulation and thickening the cervical mucus to make it hard for sperm to mobilize through the cervix. It also thins the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting.

Every patch lasts one week, so you can replace it each week for three weeks, and then on the fourth week, take a break because this is when you are likely to experience withdrawal bleeding.


  • Can be stuck anywhere on the skin
  • Doesn’t interrupt sex
  • Can help with PMS symptoms
  • Still works if you vomit or have diarrhea
  • Can be taken off any time if you decide not to continue


  • Does not protect against STDs
  • Visible unless covered with clothing
  • Can skin irritation, soreness, or itching
  • Some medicines can make it less effective

Get a Recommendation from a Healthcare Provider Today

This brings us to the end of our list of contraceptives for women. Of course, there are other contraceptives on the market, such as a vaginal ring or an implant, but we discussed the most common and effective ones to help you get started. Get in touch with a provider from Health One Family Medicine today to discuss your medical history and family plans so we can counsel you about the contraceptive methods fit for you. Call on (469)262-5762 or visit

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