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Contraception refers to the methods used to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

In total, there are around 15 methods of contraception to choose from and different types suit different people. All contraception is free on the NHS so you won't have to pay anything. You can get contraception from a range of places including Brook services, other young people’s services, GP surgeries, GUM or sexual health clinics and family planning services.

Contraception falls into two categories:

Methods that protect you from pregnancy and STIs

Also known as barrier methods, these methods of contraception prevent pregnancy and STIs. They prevent pregnancy by capturing sperm and therefore preventing it from ever reaching an egg. They also have the very important added benefit of preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) . The two types of barrier methods are:

Methods that only protect you from pregnancy

Hormonal contraception prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones, similar to those produced in women’s ovaries, into the bloodstream. These hormones interrupt the process that might lead to an egg becoming fertilised by sperm. Types of hormonal contraception include: 

Non-hormonal methods prevent pregnancy by preventing the sperm and egg from meeting. Types of non-hormonal contraception that prevent pregnancy include:

There is also a type of contraception that can be used after unprotected sex, to protect you from pregnancy. This is known as emergency contraception and you can read more about it  here. Remember that if you have unprotected sex, this always puts you at risk of sexually transmitted infections. You can read more about the types, symptoms and treatment of STIs, here.

You will find lots of information about contraception in this section. If you can't find the information you're looking for here, you can get in touch with Ask Brook by text or web chat. Ask Brook is confidential. That means we won't tell anyone you contacted us unless we think you're in really serious danger.