wo options Short Term and Long Term on road signs on highway
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Birth control: long-term vs short-term

Before you choose the birth control method that’s right for you, one of the things you need to consider is if and when you want to have a baby.

If you are thinking about having a baby soon, but you don’t want one right now, you should choose a short-term birth control method.

If you want a baby later, or not at all, you should use a long-term method.
The different methods of birth control are organised below, in order of short-term to long-term.

Short-term

  • Condom: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Diaphragm: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Sponge: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Female condom: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Withdrawal: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Spermicide: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Cervical cap: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Rhythm method: Use throughout sexually active period
  • Pill: Needs to be taken every day     
  • Combined shot: 30 days
  • One-hormone shot:12 weeks
  • Breastfeeding: Up to six months

Long-term

  • Implant: 3 – 5 years  
  • IUD: 5 – 12 years
  • Vasectomy: Permanent
  • Female sterilisation: Permanent

Other

  • Abstinence             
  • Outercourse
  • Emergency contraception

How often do I need to take it?

Some methods of birth control need to be used every time you have sex, while others only need to be used once a day, once a month, or will work for a few years. A vasectomy or female sterilisation is permanent, and to be used only if you are sure you don’t want children at all. They are one-time procedures that are performed by a doctor.

Short-term

  • Condom: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Diaphragm: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Sponge: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Female condom: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Withdrawal: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Spermicide: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Cervical cap: Use each time you have intercourse
  • Rhythm method: Use throughout sexually active period
  • Pill: Needs to be taken every day, with or without a one-week break every three weeks
  • Patch: New patch once every week, with a patch-free week every three weeks
  • Combined shot: One injection every 30 days
  • One-hormone shot: One injection every 12 weeks
  • Breastfeeding: Every four hours during the daytime and every six hours at night for up to six months

Long-term

  • Implant: Inserted once, it will work for three years  
  • IUD: Inserted once, it will work for  5 – 12 years
  • Vasectomy: Permanent
  • Female sterilisation: Permanent

Other

  • Abstinence
  • Outercourse
  • Emergency contraception
Comments
Helo am BENARD my wife has just given two months ago and we want to use long term method either contraceptive or IUD bt we a scared this method might affect the breast feeding of our baby (affecting the milk) please advise

Hi Bernard, hormonal method are like to affect nursing mothers and this is why it is recommended to start using the methods four to six weeks after delivery. At this time the milk will have well-establishes and the hormones in the methods will likely not lead to a reduction in the milk. I suggest you speak to health provider who will provide with information on the available long term methods for you choose from. Check out the following articles for additional information;- 

https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/choosing-the-right-birth-control/how-to-choose

https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control

Hello Beattie, Vasectomy is considered a permanent method. However, a reversal surgery can be done. This is usually a more complicated surgery than the vasectomy itself and the reversal may at times not work. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/sterilization

Hi Fridah, first P2 should only be used in emergency situation and not as a regular birth control method. If you find that you are having to regularly use P2 it is important you consider using a birth control method. One of major advantage of the P2 is that it will affect your next period so that it comes early or late and also it doesn't prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

hi am pregnant with my first born,have never used any contraceptive with my hubby, and was asking on with birth control method would be best for me after giving birth because we want to wait before our next child, and i hope the method wouldn't affect me

Hey Liz, congratulations. There are different methods that you can choose from some act for a short time, others act for a longer period of time. Some are more effective than others. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell how some of the methods will affect you in terms of side effects until you start using the method. Begin to discuss your options with your health care provider. Check out the following articles for further guidance;- 

https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/choosing-the-right-birth-control

https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control

Hi Emily, P2 doesn't cause bareness, however, when taken it will affect your next period so that it comes early or late. It is also important to restrict the use of P2 to emergency situations only, if you find that you use P2 regularly you need to consider taking a regular birth control method. Have a look at the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Hi Emily, P2 doesn't cause bareness, however, when taken it will affect your next period so that it comes early or late. It is also important to restrict the use of P2 to emergency situations only, if you find that you use P2 regularly you need to consider taking a regular birth control method. Have a look at the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

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