Stopping Hormonal Birth Control
Thinking of coming off hormonal birth control but not quite ready for a baby? The only definite way to not get pregnant is to abstain from sex, but we know that's not fun so here are a few suggestions...
If you're on hormonal birth control and thinking about conceiving you may want to consider alternatives. Most hormonal contraceptive methods have an almost immediate return of fertility, except the contraceptive injection which can have a delay. However your cycle can take a few months to return to normal making it harder to track ovulating and therefore to time intercourse/insemination. Using a non-hormonal method, such as condoms, can give your menstrual cycle time to regulate. Although be aware non-hormonal methods are typically not as effective. If your period doesn't return to normal within the first few months you should visit your GP.
Non-hormonal Contraception
Types of Contraception to Consider 
Most people will be familiar with condoms but in case you're not they are a barrier method of contraception. They are worn on the penis and are designed to hold semen after ejaculation preventing sperm from reaching the egg. When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective. It is possible for them to slip off or break during intercourse but the risk is generally small.  
Natural Family Planning 
Natural family planning is a method of contraception where you monitor physical changes in your body to work out where you are in your menstrual cycle to avoid having sex during your fertile window. There are several different methods, some of which need to be taught, while others are supported by apps to make them easier. Some methods are very effective, while others are as low as 75% so make sure to research the best option. You can learn more about the different methods in this chart
A diaphragm is a circular dome made of thin, soft silicone that's inserted into the vagina before sex. It covers the cervix to prevent sperm entering the uterus. When used correctly with lubrication that contains spermicide (a chemical that stops sperm from reaching the egg), a diaphragm is 92-96% effective at preventing pregnancy. A diaphragm needs to be fitted by a nurse or GP. It can also be tricky to insert and it may take time to learn how to use it properly.
Withdrawal, or ‘pulling out,’ requires pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation. It’s not risk-free as fluid that may contain sperm can leak from the penis prior to ejaculation. If practiced correctly, it can be effective at preventing pregnancy about 96% of the time. However with typical use, it drops to about 78%
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What to Do Next
Making a Contraception Plan
Learn What to Expect
If you are currently using hormonal birth control, stay tuned for our next emails which will cover important information on what to expect when you stop.

Research Your Options
Methods like the diaphragm require a clinician to fit them. Some methods of natural family planning require training to use correctly. Make sure you can obtain and learn to use your new method before stopping your current one.

See Your GP
Some methods like the IUD or an injectable require a clinician to remove them. Even if your current method does not require medical assistance, it is important to consult your GP in advance of stopping any prescription medication.

Further Reading

Here are some further resources you might like to check out:

Coming up next week will be advice on coming off the IUD. We hope you have a wonderful weekend. 

See you next Friday!

Our newsletters are written by our fantastic medical team

Dr. Louise, MBChB

Sandy, Embryologist
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