If you are sexually active and you want to prevent a pregnancy and protect yourself against STIs, talk to your physician about the contraceptive methods that are best adapted to your needs.
The contraceptive pill can contain oestrogen and progestin, or only progestin. This is a hormonal substance that is used as a contraceptive method. These hormones interfere with ovulation to prevent pregnancy.
There is a 21-pill distributor and a 28-pill distributor.
21 pills: Take one pill per day for 21 days and stop for 7 days.
28 pills: Take one pill per day for 28 days; the last 7 pills contain no hormones.
There are several brands available. To get a prescription, you must consult your physician; he will be able to propose a pill that corresponds to your needs.
The best moment to begin using the first distributor is on the fist day of your menstrual period, on the first Sunday following the start of your menstrual period, or on the fifth day of your menstrual period.
Each distributor that follows must begin on the same day the first one began. You will have to take a pill every day at approximately the same time.
If you begin on the first day of your menstrual period, it will have an immediate effect.
If you begin on the Sunday or on the fifth day of your menstrual period, the pill will begin having an effect a week later. If you forgot a pill, take one as soon as possible, and take the following one at the usual time, even if both are taken on the same day.
If you forget to take more than one pill, use an alternative contraceptive method like a condom and contact a health professional.
The contraceptive pill can cause side effects. The most frequent are migraines, weight gain, nausea, tender breasts, mood swings, painful menstruations, acne and, sometimes, a drop in libido.
Side effects are less frequent with low-dose hormones.
Smoking, especially for women over 35 years old, increases the risks of getting undesirable effects on the heart and blood vessels.
Take note that the contraceptive pill does not protect against STIs and HIV infections. To protect yourself against these, we recommend you use a condom with the pill.
Some medications can reduce the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill when combined with it. Talk about this with your physician or pharmacist.
The day-after pill, or Plan B, is an emergency contraceptive pill. It is a progestin-only pill.
This pill does not have an absolute effect, but it considerably reduces the risk of an unintended pregnancy.
It is an alternative plan for an emergency like a pierced or improperly used condom, a contraceptive pill not taken for two consecutive days, a dislodged diaphragm, or in the case of sexual assault.
It cannot be considered as a normal or long-term contraceptive method. One dose is administered (2 pills). You must take the dose as soon as possible after the unprotected sexual intercourse. The sooner you take it, the more it is effective.
The day-after pill is not an abortion pill. Take note that this pill will not terminate a pregnancy. Since it is not 100% effective, nothing indicates it will be harmful to a pregnancy if it fails to prevent it.
Some medications can reduce its effectiveness if taken together. Ask your physician or pharmacist.
Take note that the day-after pill offers no protection against STIs and HIV infections.
The IUD or intrauterine device is a T-shaped piece of plastic either covered in copper or containing a progestin. It is placed in the uterus by a physician in order to prevent a pregnancy. The device is imperceptible during sexual intercourse.
There are two kinds of IUDs. The Mirena (device containing levonorgestrel) and the copper IUD that you can purchase at a pharmacy with a prescription from your physician.
The IUD can be inserted at any moment of the menstrual cycle, insofar as the possibility of a pregnancy has been discarded.
No specific preparation is required, but we recommend that you take a 200mg tablet of ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) an hour before your appointment.
We recommend that you abstain from any form of penetration for 72 hours following the installation of an IUD.
Have its position checked during your annual medical check-up to ensure it remains effective.
We recommend that the Mirena IUD be replaced every 5 years.
Replacement of the copper IUD depends on brand recommendation.
Take note that the IUD does not protect against STIs and HIV infections. The copper IUD does not protect against ectopic pregnancies.
Before having an IUD installed, you must be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea, because installing an IUD in an infected woman can lead to serious complications.
Following an abortion, it is possible to have an IUD installed if you have already purchased one. Otherwise, you will have to wait a week after the abortion.
The contraceptive patch, which is an adhesive strip, is a hormonal contraceptive method that is applied once a week for three consecutive weeks. It contains the same hormones found in the contraceptive pill (oestrogen and progestin) and acts in the same manner, i.e. it blocks ovulation.
Unlike the pill, the hormones get into the blood stream through the skin, and is placed either on the buttocks, the abdomen, on the upper arm, on the outside of the arm, or on the upper portion of the torso, making sure you avoid the breasts. The patch adheres well to the skin, easily remaining in place during a bath or a shower.
The patch offers no protection against STIs and HIV infections.
The patch is not recommended for women weighing more than 90kg.
The most common side effects are the same as with the contraceptive pill: migraines, nausea, tender breasts, mood swings, painful menstruations, acne and, sometimes, weight gain.
If you smoke, using the contraceptive patch greatly increases the risk of blood clots, heart attacks or strokes. These risks increase in women aged 35 and over.
This method consists in an intramuscular injection of a hormone (progestin) every 3 months. It blocks ovulation. This is an alternative method for women who cannot use the contraceptive pill (contains no œstrogen); it is safe and very effective for many women.
The ideal time for getting an injection is during menstruations or immediately after so as to eliminate a possible pregnancy.
If you have had an abortion, you can get an injection immediately after the procedure, or in the 5 days following the beginning of the next menstrual period, or in the 7 days following the pregnancy termination.
The most common side effects are the same as with the contraceptive pill: migraines, mood swings, weight gain, acne and a drop in libido.
Among the possible side effects, the injection can lead to menstrual irregularities or even entirely suppress menstruations, which is normal with this method.
One injection remains effective for 12 weeks after its administration. However, if you decide you want to get pregnant, this method can prevent conception for 8 to 12 months, and in some cases up to 24 months, after the last injection.
Take note that the contraceptive injection offers no protection against STIs and HIV infections.
The vaginal ring, which is a form of hormonal contraception, is inserted in the vagina. The ring does not need to be in a perfect position to be effective. The ring liberates the same hormones as the contraceptive pill (oestrogen and progestin) and acts in the same manner, i.e. it blocks ovulation.
The main difference between the pill and the ring is that with the ring, the hormones get into the blood stream through the vaginal wall.
You insert the vaginal ring and take it out yourself by flattening it laterally between your fingers and pushing it inside or pulling it out. Keep it inside the vagina from 2 days to a month, after which you take it out, provoking a menstrual period.
The ring has to be inside the vagina for 7 consecutive days for it to be effective. Most women do not feel the ring once it is inserted. If it is uncomfortable, you can push it deeper inside. Don’t worry, it cannot be inserted too far nor can you loose it inside you.
The vaginal ring is designed to remain in place. A ring sliding out is a rare occurrence. You might accidentally make it come out when taking a tampon out, or if it has not been completely inserted, or during sexual intercourse.
In the case it comes out, rinse it under lukewarm water and reinsert it in the vagina within 3 hours of it coming out. In the event the ring remains outside the vagina for more than 3 hours, you should use another contraceptive method like a condom until the ring is in place for 7 consecutive days.
The vaginal ring is very effective in preventing pregnancies, but offers no protection against STIs and HIV infections. We recommend you use a condom during intercourse for protection, while you use hormonal contraception.
The most common side effects are migraines, nausea, tender breasts, mood swings, weight gain, painful menstruations, and acne.
If you smoke, using the ring, just like the pill, greatly increases the risk of blood clots, heart attacks or strokes. These risks increase in women aged 35 and over.
The condom is a protective sleeve made from latex or a synthetic fibre, which is placed over the penis before sexual intercourse to prevent sperm from spreading inside the vagina, thus reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancies and STIs. Using a condom made from an animal membrane is not recommended because it does not protect against STIs and STBBIs.
Protection has been seriously compromised if the condom has not been used correctly or has broken.
Using spermicide with a condom can cause micro-lesions in the genital mucous membranes, which can let in STIs. Vaseline, mineral oil-based products, and baby oil dissolve latex and destroy condoms.