Types of contraceptives: advantages and disadvantages you need to know

Having a child is a very delicate decision for a woman. Some have the dream of becoming a mother, others prefer to wait a little while some simply do not want to have children. But unlike our mothers and grandparents, we have a multitude of different contraceptive methods that help prevent unwanted pregnancies. Don’t know which one to choose? So stay with me that today I will show you the types of contraceptives : advantages and disadvantages that you need to know.

There is no perfect contraceptive method. Each one is made to be used in a certain way and thus achieve effectiveness. If used properly, they are practically 90% effective against unwanted pregnancies. That is why it is so important that you pay close attention to the chosen method and follow the instructions correctly. In this video I take some questions about the main contraceptives:

According to the report published by the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs, Trends in the Use of Contraceptive Methods in the World 2015, 64% of women in a stable relationship use contraceptive methods to avoid becoming pregnant. In Brazil, women who use some type of contraceptive method reach 79% in 2015, against about 51% in 1970. An evolution for women, don’t you think?

In today’s text, we will talk about the following types of contraceptives:

  • Hormonal Methods
  • Barrier Methods
  • Intrauterine methods or IUD
  • Permanent methods
  • Natural methods
  • Withdrawal
  • Look for a doctor

Do you want to know the advantages and disadvantages of each type of contraceptive? Keep reading this text until the end.

Hormonal Methods

Hormonal methods of birth control are those that use hormones to regulate or prevent ovulation and prevent pregnancy. The vast majority of these forms of contraception are designed to prevent ovulation. They also thicken the cervical mucus, which helps to prevent sperm from reaching the egg and thinning the endometrium (lining of the uterus)

The types of hormonal contraceptives are extremely effective in preventing pregnancy, but have no action in protecting against sexually transmitted diseases. See what are the types of hormonal contraceptives:


Pills or oral contraceptives are medicines with different combinations of synthetic hormones, usually estrogens and progesterone. The type of pill used must be chosen according to the needs of each woman and after the exams requested by doctors.
The synthesized hormones prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs, in the process known as ovulation, which is the ideal time for a woman to become pregnant. The pill should be taken every day, preferably at the same time, for 21 days and then rest for a week for the period to arrive. This method is more than 99% effective.

Advantages: It can be used to prevent pregnancy, to treat painful or intense periods, PMS and endometriosis.

Disadvantages:  Many women do not have a good memory and this method requires daily intake for it to work. The pill can also lose its effect in case of vomiting or diarrhea. As is common in these types of contraceptives, side effects such as mood swings, sensitive breasts, headaches can arise. In rarer cases, blood clots, cervical cancer. It also does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Mini Pills

The mini pill or pill without estrogen has only progesterone at its base. It is the pill indicated for women who are breastfeeding and want to avoid a new pregnancy. For these women, the pill should be taken every day, without interruption. Effectiveness: 97%.

Advantages: Suitable for women who are breastfeeding, since they do not affect the quality of breast milk. They can be used by women who have contraindications to the use of estrogens. Do not gain weight.

Disadvantages: Need to be taken every day at almost the same time, as a delay of a few hours can result in pregnancy. It is less effective than oral contraceptives.

Vaginal Ring

It is a combined hormonal contraceptive, of low dosage, with ring shape (54 mm in diameter and 4 mm in width). It is flexible and transparent and is placed in the vagina for three weeks. In the fourth week it is removed so that the menstruation starts and after seven days a new one is placed. The hormones are released while the ring is in the vagina and prevents ovulation. Its effectiveness is equal to that of the pill: 99%.

Advantages: Contains less doses of hormone. It is not necessary to be attentive every day, as it is used only once a month. It can relieve premenstrual symptoms and period malaise.

Disadvantages: As with the pill, it is not recommended for women with a history of blood clots, strokes or some types of cancer. It can cause side effects in some people such as headaches, changes in vaginal discharge or tenderness in the breasts. Sometimes the ring may accidentally come out of the vagina, but it can be put back on smoothly.

Contraceptive Patches

The patch (or patch ) is an adherent material that must be glued to the woman’s skin and remain in the same position for a week. It releases hormones into the bloodstream that prevent pregnancy. It can be placed in different places on the body, such as the arm, below the belly, on the back or on the buttock.

The first patch is placed on the first day of menstruation and must be changed every seven days. After three weeks of use, it is necessary to take a week off before menstruation arrives. Its effectiveness is 99%.

Advantages: It is not necessary to be attentive every day, as with the pill and it continues to work even in episodes of vomiting or diarrhea. Another advantage is that the woman can swim, bathe or do sports, without any problem. It can be used to decrease the flow of menstruation.

Disadvantages: Some people may experience an increase in blood pressure, headaches or the development of blood clots.

Contraceptive implant

It is an implant of a small flexible wand about 40mm long, which is placed under the skin, on the upper arm. It must be inserted by a professional and its effect can last up to three years.
The implant works by releasing etonogestrel, a synthetic form of progesterone, slowly and continuously into the bloodstream, preventing ovulation. 99% more effectiveness.

Advantages: Easy to insert and extract, it benefits women who are safe who do not want to be a mother for a long period of time. It is also indicated for women who do not remember to take the pill every day.

Disadvantages: Menstruation can become irregular and stabilize after one year. The price of the implant can also discourage women: around R $ 700.

Injectable contraceptives

The injectable contraceptive is a contraceptive method that has in its formula the combination of progesterone or combination of estrogens, with long-term doses. The injection is applied to the gluteus or the arm every 30 or 90 days (depending on the brand used). Usually, the application is made by a gynecologist, on previously scheduled dates, for greater control.Effectiveness: More than 99%

Advantages: Useful for women who cannot or do not want to take the birth control pill, due to the hormone formula. It is also indicated for women who do not remember to take the pill every day. Other beneficial effects are: improvement of anemia, reduction of symptoms associated with endometriosis, chronic pelvic pain and reduction of endometrial cancer.

Disadvantages: it can cause side effects in some people such as weight gain, headache, mood swings, acne, breast tenderness, reduced bone mineral density, dizziness and no menstruation at the start of treatment. The return of fertility (ability to get pregnant) occurs slowly, about nine months after the last quarterly injection.

Pill of the next day

The morning-after pill is one of the types of emergency contraceptives, with high doses of hormone, and its function is to prevent ovulation and create an unfavorable environment for sperm.

It should not be used as usual, only in urgent cases such as:

  • Condom break.
  • Having sex without any kind of protection.
  • If the condom gets stuck in the vagina and there is a risk of the sperm spilling out.

The first pill should be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex, and if there is a second, 12 hours after the first.

If the first pill is taken within 24 hours of intercourse, the pill has a 5% failure rate. Between 25 and 48 hours, the failure rate increases to 15% and between 49 and 72 hours, the rate reaches 42% of failures.

Advantages: It is the only contraceptive method that can be used by women after sexual intercourse. In case of failure of the method, it does not cause side effects on the fetus.

Disadvantages: Exposure to high doses of hormones. It can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, pain in the breasts and changes in menstruation. In breastfeeding women, the amount of breast milk can decrease.

Barrier methods

Designed to create a physical or chemical barrier between the ejaculated sperm and the woman’s uterus. They are removable and can be an option for women who cannot use hormonal contraceptive methods. Barrier methods include:

Male condom

The male condom or condom is the most widely used barrier contraceptive method in the world. It consists of a thin layer of latex or polyurethane that is placed on the penis when it is erect, before intercourse. Prevents sperm from coming into contact with the vagina and pregnancy. Some come with spermicide to further reduce the possibility of conception. It must be used in anal and oral sex. Effectiveness: 98%.

Advantages: Reduces the risk of contagion of STDs. They are very easy to find, inexpensive, little invasive to the body and have no side effects.

Disadvantages: They may not be compatible with some lubricants, creams or lotions, they may slip during sex and have to be handled correctly so that they are not rendered useless. Some people may also be allergic to latex, but may look for condoms made from other materials. Some men are uncomfortable with the use of this method because they feel that they lose sensitivity, but this can be solved by trying other brands and sizes.

Female condom

They are similar to male condoms, but wider. It is a tube of nitrile rubber or polyurethane with one end closed and the other open, coupled to two flexible rings. It is introduced into the vagina before sexual intercourse to prevent semen from reaching the uterus and to decrease the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Like male condoms, they are disposable after use. Effectiveness: 95%

Advantages: It is a method controlled by women, does not cause allergies and can be applied up to 8 hours before sexual intercourse (which does not break the climate).

Disadvantages: It can cause noise (therefore it is recommended to use it with lubricant), it can move with the entry and exit of the penis, effectiveness is not so high and is more expensive than the male condom. It cannot be stored in very cold or very hot places.


It is a flexible dome of latex or silicone that is inserted into the vagina 15 to 30 minutes before sexual intercourse, serving as a barrier to prevent the semen from reaching the uterus. For greater effectiveness, it should be used in conjunction with a spermicide. The diaphragm should be removed 12 hours after intercourse and then washed. Effectiveness: 90%.

Advantages: It does not contain hormones, it is reusable and long lasting (it can last up to three years) and it has no side effects.

Disadvantages: It has to be sanitized with each use and does not protect against most sexually transmitted diseases. Diaphragm replacement may be necessary in case of pregnancy or weight gain. Virgin women with a latex allergy or who have a cervical problem cannot use this method.

Vaginal sponge

It is a small, soft, disk-shaped sponge made of polyurethane foam and with a handle to facilitate its removal. It already comes with spermicide and must be wet before being inserted into the vagina before each intercourse.

The sponge blocks the entry of sperm into the vagina, ensuring the death of sperm through the spermicide. It must remain in the woman’s body for at least six hours and must be removed within 30 hours. Effectiveness: 85%

Advantages: It is not necessary to change the sponge if more than one sexual intercourse occurs within 24 hours and does not require waiting time for the contraceptive effect to start after the placement. It is also not necessary to use other spermicidal agents.

Disadvantages: Low efficiency compared to other contraceptive methods; requires some training in the correct use, especially regarding placement and removal; it can cause vaginal lesions if it doesn’t stay in the right place. If left for a long time, it can cause unpleasant odors. It does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.


Substance that has the function of destroying sperm during sex. It can be found in different formats such as foam, gel, creams or suppositories. It must be inserted deep into the vagina and begin sexual intercourse within 30 minutes. It is useful as a complement to other methods, when used alone its effectiveness is very low: 63%.

Advantages: It is easy to use, less invasive to the body and increases the effectiveness of other barrier contraceptives.

Disadvantages: It has little effectiveness if used alone, the application can be uncomfortable for some couples; the contraceptive effect is short-lived, they can cause genital irritations and do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

Intrauterine methods or IUD

It is a small “T” shaped device that can be made of copper or plastic, which is introduced into the uterus with the help of a professional. It works by releasing a small amount of copper in the uterus, which prevents the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus or simply stopping the sperm from advancing. There is also another type of IUD coated with the hormone progesterone, called the IUD Mirena, which releases progesterone little by little.

The IUD can remain in the uterus for up to 5 years in the case of the Mirena IUD, or 10 years in the case of the copper IUD. Effectiveness: more than 99%.

Advantages: Long-term contraceptive method, it takes effect from the first day it is introduced. After it is removed, the woman returns to normal fertility levels.

Disadvantages: It can cause discomfort in some women, changes in menstruation in the first 3 to 6 months, with bleeding being normal between periods. It can also facilitate the onset of uterine infections, but this is rare.

Types of permanent contraceptives

Permanent methods are those that aim to sterilize the man or woman, making them permanently infertile. The sterilization procedure is done through surgery by a health professional. They should be used as a last resort, as their reversal, although possible in some situations, is difficult to be successfully performed. Sterilization should only be done on older people, who have already had all the children they wish to have.

Tubal ligation

Tubal ligation or tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which the doctor cuts or ties the fallopian tubes. This surgery blocks the path between the ovaries and the uterus. The sperm cannot reach the egg to fertilize it and the egg cannot reach the uterus.

Advantages: It does not prevent ovulation or interfere with the female hormonal cycle, it does not cause any changes in the menstrual cycle. It does not need constant review because it does not affect health. Effectiveness: Almost 100%

Disadvantages: It is not a reversible method and can bring negative influences due to cultural and psychological factors. There is a risk of interfering with the blood supply to the ovaries, generating an early menopause, difficult access to public health services, even though it is a procedure that is theoretically covered by SUS.


It is a surgical procedure that cuts or obstructs, in the scrotum, the vas deferens that lead the sperm from the testicles to the penis. In this way, they are not released during ejaculation and, therefore, the egg cannot be fertilized, preventing pregnancy.

Advantages: It does not alter sexual performance, it favors the participation of men in contraception and the surgery is simple, with local anesthesia and can be performed in the office, with no need for hospitalization.

Disadvantages: It is not a reversible method. It is necessary to use another method against pregnancy in the next ejaculations after surgery.

Natural methods

Natural methods are techniques that allow the couple to avoid pregnancy by knowing the woman’s periods of ovulation.


The table, also known as the rhythmic method, is based on a calculation made from a calendar, to know the beginning and end of the fertile period. Thus, relationships are avoided during periods when there is a greater chance of pregnancy.

Temperature method

It is based on the idea that there is a small increase in body temperature during periods of fertility. For this, the woman must use a thermometer especially for this method, since the temperature change is very small and these types of contraceptives are more accurate, according to some research.

Mucus method

Calculate ovulation days by observing changes in the vaginal mucosa (transparent at the time of ovulation and dense after ovulation)

Advantages and disadvantages of the three methods

Advantages: They do not require medical control and have no cost.
Disadvantages: It is necessary to have a great knowledge of the menstrual cycle and it can often not work because some women do not have the regular cycle. Certain situations of tension or anxiety can cause changes in ovulation in the vaginal mucosa. They do not protect against STDs.


This is one of the most risky types of contraceptives. It consists in interrupting penetration before the partner ejaculates, thus preventing the ejaculated sperm from being introduced into the vaginal canal.

Advantages: It does not require medical control and has no cost.

Disadvantages: It takes a lot of control to remove the penis at the right time. The pre-ejaculatory fluid contains small amounts of sperm. This is one of the types of contraceptives that does not prevent STDs.

Look for a doctor

Remember: not all types of contraceptives are suitable for all situations. The choice will depend on the woman’s general health, her age, frequency, sexual activity, the number of partners, the desire to have children in the future and the family history of certain diseases. Regardless of the method you choose, look for a gynecologist so that he can help you and make you periodic reviews. Then, enjoy your sexuality safely and passionately.

Which type of contraceptive do you think looks the safest and most comfortable? Which do you usually use? Share your experiences here in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer you.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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