There are 15 types of contraception available in the UK. Find out what they are, how to use them, where to get them and the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
Your guide to contraception
Information about all the contraceptive methods available in the UK.
Your guide to contraceptive choices – after you’ve had your baby
Choosing contraception after you've given birth.
If you have had unprotected sex, that is, sex without using contraception, or think your contraception might have failed, you can use emergency contraception.
Contraceptive methods that do not depend on you remembering to take or use them.
Your guide to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)
A quick summary of all four methods of long-acting reversible contraception.
Hormonal methods of contraception contain estrogen and progestogen or progestogen alone.
Barrier methods of contraception prevent sperm from meeting an egg.
Male and female sterilisation are permanent methods of contraception, suitable for people who are sure they never want children or do not want more children.
Natural family planning allows a woman to closely monitor the fertile and infertile times of her menstrual cycle so that she can have sex when there is no risk of pregnancy.
You can obtain free contraception, including emergency contraception, from:
You can also get the emergency contraceptive pill Levonelle free from:
If you are 16 or over you can buy the emergency contraceptive pill Levonelle from most pharmacies.
Contraception clinics sometimes provide far more than contraception. This may include:
No. If you are under 16 you can get confidential advice and contraception. Health workers (nurses, doctors and pharmacists) work under very specific guidance with this age group. You must be mature enough to understand the advice and any decisions made about giving you contraception.
Health workers have to keep anything you tell them private but they will usually encourage you to talk to your parent or carer.
If a health worker thinks there is a risk to your health, safety or welfare they might need to share your information with someone else. The risk would need to be serious and the health worker would usually discuss this with you first.
It is an offence for anyone to have any sexual activity with a person under the age of 16. However, the law is not intended to criminalise mutually agreed sexual activity between two young people of similar age and understanding, unless it involves abuse, exploitation or harm. Young people have the right to access confidential advice on contraception, including condoms and pregnancy, even if they are under 16.
Brook has advice on sexual health, contraception and your rights as a young person.