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Contraception aims to prevent pregnancy.

 Contraception refers to the methods that are used to prevent pregnancy. Some methods of contraception can also be used to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A woman can get pregnant if a man's sperm reaches one of her eggs (ova). Contraception tries to stop this happening by:

  • keeping the egg and sperm apart
  • stopping egg production
  • stopping the combined sperm and egg (fertilised egg) attaching to the lining of the womb

Contraception is free for most people in the UK. Condoms can also be bought in pharmacies and supermarkets.

With 15 methods to choose from, you can find one that suits you best. Barrier methods, such as condoms, are a form of contraception that help to protect against both sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy. You should use condoms to protect both your sexual health and that of your partner, no matter what other contraception you're using to prevent pregnancy.

Contraception is available for free on the NHS, and is offered at most GP Surgeries, Sexual Health clinics, and select Pharmacies. Contraceptive services are free and confidential. This includes services for people under 16, as long as they're mature enough to understand the information and the decisions involved.

Each individual needs to make an informed decision about contraception, and can try multiple different methods of contraception before finding the right one that works for them. If you would like to book an appointment with one of our contraception nurses to discuss the options available to you, with information on how they work, who can use them, and possible side effects, please contact our reception team to pre-book a review.


The main methods of contraception

Don't be put off if the first type you use isn't quite right: you can try another.

Read about the different methods of contraception:

Our practice has clinicians trained to offer advice and treatment with the above contraceptive methods. If you would like to discuss medication such as the pill or injection, or a device such as the IUD or IUS, please contact us to arrange a telephone review. Our clinicians will be able to discuss these contraceptive methods with you in more detail and help you make an informed choice about the right contraception for you.


Community Pharmacy Oral Contraception service

Women can now access oral contraception at selected pharmacies across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, either independently or by referral from a health care professional.

Over the last year the service has provided over 1200 consultations. Women can contact the pharmacy by telephone or visit to request an appointment with a prescribing pharmacist at one of the pharmacies listed below:

  • Brockway Pharmacy, Cwm Talwg - 01446 720588
  • Well Pharmacy, 5 Boverton Road, Llantwit Major - 01446 792267
  • Boots Pharmacy, 36 Queen Street, Cardiff - 02920 232658
  • Cyncoed Pharmacy, 372 Cyncoed Road, Cardiff - 02920 752150
  • City Pharmacy, Cardiff Royal Infirmary, Newport Road, Cardiff - 02920 492832

Women can be assessed and supplied with combined oral contraceptives or progesterone only contraceptives as appropriate to their needs.


Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception is free on the NHS. Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if the contraception you have used has failed – for example, a condom has split or you have missed a pill. There are 2 methods:

  • the emergency contraceptive pill (morning after pill) – there are 2 types, Levonelle or ellaOne
  • the intrauterine device (IUD), or coil


At a glance: facts about emergency contraception

  • You need to take the emergency contraceptive pill within 3 days (Levonelle) or 5 days (ellaOne) of unprotected sex for it to be effective – the sooner you take it, the more effective it'll be.
  • The IUD can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex, or up to 5 days after the earliest time you could have ovulated, for it to be effective.
  • The IUD is more effective than the contraceptive pill at preventing pregnancy – less than 1% of women who use the IUD get pregnant.
  • If you use the IUD as emergency contraception, it can be left in and used as your regular contraceptive method.
  • There are no serious side effects of using emergency contraception.
  • Emergency contraception doesn't cause an abortion.


Getting it for free: You can get emergency contraception for free, even if you're under 16, from these places, but they may not all fit the IUD:

  • contraception clinics
  • sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics
  • some GP surgeries
  • some young people's clinics
  • most NHS walk-in centres and minor injuries units
  • most pharmacies
  • some accident and emergency (A&E) departments (phone first to check)

Find sexual health services near you, including sexual health and GUM clinics.

Find your nearest pharmacy

Buying it: If you're aged 16 or over, you can buy the emergency contraceptive pill from most pharmacies, in person or online, and from some organisations, such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). The cost varies, but it will be around £25 to £35.

If you require any further information about Sexual Health & Emergency Contraception, you can also visit our dedicated page here.


Contraception for the future

If you're not using a regular method of contraception, you might consider doing so to protect yourself from an unintended pregnancy in future.

There are several methods of contraception that protect you for a long period, so you don't have to think about them once they're in place, or remember to use or take them every day or every time you have sex.

These methods include the:

  • contraceptive injection
  • contraceptive implant
  • intrauterine system (IUS)
  • intrauterine device (IUD)

See a GP, nurse or visit your nearest sexual health clinic to discuss the options available.