Various birth control methods, including short- and long-term methods
(C) Love Matters | Rita Lino

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
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Recent Comments (32)

  1. How can breastfeeding…
    How can breastfeeding prevent pregnancy?

    1. Hey Abigael, When one a…

      Hey Abigael, When one a mother is breastfeed exclusively, especially within the first six months, the hormone responsible for breast-milk production, suppresses ovulation. If there is no ovulation it also means one cannot get pregnant. 

  2. Helo am BENARD my wife has…
    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

    1. Hi Bernard, hormonal method…

      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

  3. I heard that vasectomy can…
    I heard that vasectomy can be reversed is this true?

  4. WHAT IS THE NEGATIVE EFFECT…
    WHAT IS THE NEGATIVE EFFECT OF SHORTERM METHOD LIKE P2

    1. Hi Fridah, first P2 should…

      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

  5. hi am pregnant with my first…
    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

    1. Hey Liz, congratulations…

      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

  6. Using p2 for long does it…
    Using p2 for long does it have effects example barren or missing periods

    1. Hi Emily, P2 doesn’t cause…

      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

  7. Using p2 for long does it…
    Using p2 for long does it have side effects example like being barren or or missing periods

    1. Hi Emily, P2 doesn’t cause…

      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

  8. What are the negative effect…
    What are the negative effect of the long term method? Can I stop using and get pregnant immediately?

  9. Hae,am purity I have been…
    Hae,am purity I have been using the long term method for five years,it was then removed July,since July I me n my hubby have been look for a child bt not yet till now.did it affect me or how long should I wait plz

    1. Hey Purity, one can get…

      Hey Purity, one can get pregnant immediately after getting off a long-term birth control method. In some cases and for some people it may take a couple of months, I suggest you keep trying and if you try for 12 months or more without success, it will be important you seek the advice of a specialist Gynecologist. We do wish you all the best, have a look at the following article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/before-pregnancy/getting-pregnant-dos-and-donts

  10. I have neva used any birth…
    I have neva used any birth control am 18 neva had sex b4 wat is the best way to prevent pregnancy

    1. Hey Quinsy, what you are…

      Hey Quinsy, what you are doing right now is the best possible option, not having sex. Should you choose to have sex, you can consider using condoms which provide dual protection – unplanned pregnancies and prevention of Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs). Have a look at the following articles with details about different birth control methods;- 

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

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

  11. I had been using Depo for 3…
    I had been using Depo for 3 years I stopped to get pregnant but 1 year later I am not pregnant. Does longterm use of Depo cause infertility?

    1. Hey MaryG, one of the…

      Hey MaryG, one of the disadvantages of this method is that one won’t be able to immediately get pregnant when they stop using the method. It may take around ten months for one to  get back to their normal fertility. It doesn’t cause infertility, it just takes time for normal fertility to resume which in turns delays one getting pregnant. I suggest you keep trying. Check out the following articles for additional information;-

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

      https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/before-pregnancy/getting-pregnant-dos-and-donts

  12. I use to use the 3 month…
    I use to use the 3 month injection so I stopped to get a child 7 months later we have not succeeded. Does this method have long term effects? Please let me k ow.

  13. My wife has failed to become…
    My wife has failed to become pregnant after she stopped using family planning. We have one child but failed to get pregnancy for second one for 3 years. What can we do?

    1. Hello Josaiah, you didn’t…

      Hello Josaiah, you didn’t mention the specific method your wife was using…For some methods one may be able to get pregnant almost immediate after they stop using the method, while for other methods it may take upto ten months before one can get pregnant. On the other hand, if you have been trying to get a baby for longer than one year, it is time to seek the services of a specialist. Talk about this with your partner, and then make plans to visit a Gynecologist who will further advice. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/before-pregnancy/getting-pregnant-dos-and-donts

  14. I put in an implant 3 years…
    I put in an implant 3 years ago. It was to stay for 5 years but now we want another child. Can I remove it before the 5 years expire? Will I be ale to get pregnant?

    1. Hi Joyce, yes you can. You…

      Hi Joyce, yes you can. You can get the implant taken out any time before the five years if you want to get pregnant or to just stop using it. Other than the bruising and perhaps a slightly swollen arm around where the implant was there no other expected side effects. Remember though, that having unprotected sex can result to pregnancy. Check out this article for additional information on the Implant;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/implant

  15. our baby is 5 month now and…
    our baby is 5 month now and we want a long time family plan hw can I do

  16. Is it safe to remove an…
    Is it safe to remove an implant before 5 years are over?

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