On this page

Birth control

Woman taking a pill
On this page

What contraceptives are available to women?

Whether you’re looking for hormonal types of protection or barrier methods, there are plenty of contraceptives for women to choose from. Each offers their own levels of effectiveness and each with their advantages and disadvantages. Read our guide to find out more about the different types and how they work.

Birth control pills

One of the most common forms of contraception, there are a variety of birth control pills to suit your individual needs and body. You can start your free consultation now using our Online Doctor, or read our articles to find out more about the side effects and options available to you.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

The IUD uses copper to prevent you from getting pregnant and sits inside your uterus. Find out how it offers five to 10 years of protection as well as its effects on your periods here.


Great for those who forget to take pills, the implant sits under the skin in your upper arm and releasing hormones into your body. Nexplanon is the implant that is used in the UK to prevent pregnancy. We answer all your frequently asked questions in our contraceptive implant article, as well as discussing its effectiveness and side effects.

Birth control patch

This contraceptive comes as a patch that sticks to your skin and releases hormones to stop you from getting pregnant. It’s ideal for those who don’t like the sound of injections or the implant and still allows you to have a period. Discover how it works on our birth control patch page.

Mini pill

Part of the oral contraceptives group, the mini pill is a progestogen-only pill which stops you getting pregnant. It’s suitable for women who can’t have the hormone oestrogen, find out more about the side effects related to the pill and its effectiveness in our mini pill article.

The mini pill brands Hana and Lovima are available online and in-store without a prescription. These contraceptive pills are taken daily to help protect you from pregnancy. As they’re progestogen-only they may not be suitable for everyone, so you’ll need to answer a set of healthcare questions to make sure they’re right for you.

Our Online Doctor service can prescribe contraceptive options including the mini pill. With an online consultation you’ll get expert advice and contraception that best fits you.

Contraceptive injection

Administered as an injection, this contraceptive releases the hormone progestogen into your blood. This helps to prevent pregnancy and is ideal for those who often forget to take pills. Find out how the injection works and who it is suitable for here.


Another barrier method of contraception, the diaphragm sits inside your vagina and stops sperm from reaching an egg. Find out how you use this contraceptive and how effective the diaphragm is here.


Usually used with a diaphragm, spermicide stops sperm from reaching an egg. Available in different gels, creams and foams, spermicide is an effective method of contraception on its own but works better when teamed with other methods.

Female condoms

Specially designed for women, female condoms are a barrier method of contraception that is worn inside the vagina. They prevent you from getting pregnant by stopping the sperm reaching an egg and fertilising it. Find out how to use them on our female condom page.

Natural contraception

If you don’t want to use hormonal forms of contraceptive, natural methods could be for you. Tracking your menstrual cycle, knowing when you’re ovulating and most fertile are ways that you can avoid getting pregnant or on the other hand make your chances of getting pregnant more likely. Read about the ways you can read your body’s signs and be more in tune with your body in our natural contraception article.

Get reminders and free delivery

You can get your contraception prescription delivered for free, to your home, work or to one of 10,500 collection points with LloydsDirect by LloydsPharmacy. Plus with the app you can set reminders of when to take and when to re-order. Switch to LloydsDirect today.

Do I need to see my GP to get contraception?

No, you can get contraception, advice and support at your local sexual heath clinic, GP surgery or young person services. Click here to find your nearest sexual health clinic.

Can you get pregnant while taking birth control pills?

Yes, no form of contraception is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy, however if used correctly then the likelihood of you getting pregnant is very small. You can always talk to your GP or sexual health nurse about the contraception you are taking, and whether another kind would be more suitable or effective.

Which form of birth control is most effective?

This is a question with no straight answer; each different type of contraception has a different percentage of effectiveness. If used correctly and as intended they are as effective as stated, however certain circumstances can affect their effectiveness. For example if you are sick or have diarrhoea and are taking the pill, this can stop it from working.

Online Doctor VideoGP