What is long-acting contraception
Long-acting contraception is a term given to a group of contraceptive methods that prevent pregnancy for a long period of time (long-acting).
They only need to be used every 8 weeks to 10 years, depending on the type you choose.
They are the most effective contraception available and are over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when used perfectly.
Long-acting contraceptives include the IUD, IUS, implant and contraceptive injection.
What are the different types of long-acting contraceptives?
There are many different long-acting contraceptives. Find out more about these long-acting methods below:
Explore long-acting methods
Intrauterine System (IUS)
The IUS, also called the hormonal Coil, is a small, soft T-shaped plastic frame that releases low levels of a progestogen hormone for up to 3 - 6 years. It is given with a prescription and placed in your womb by a doctor or nurse.
INTRAUTERINE DEVICE (IUD)
The Copper Coil is a small, T-shaped plastic and copper frame that releases copper. It is available with a prescription and placed in your womb by a doctor or nurse, where it prevents pregnancy for up to 5 - 10 years.
A small, flexible, silicone rod that releases a progestogen hormone for up to 3 years. It is given with a prescription and placed under the skin of your upper arm by a doctor or nurse.
How effective are long-acting contraceptives?
Most long-acting methods are over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy with both typical and perfect use. This means that less than 1 out of every 100 women on a long-acting method will become pregnant in one year. Typically, 9 out of every 100 women using the pill will become pregnant. They are the most effective reversible methods of contraception because they do not depend on you remembering to take or use them to be effective.
The contraceptive injection is the exception and is 94% effective with typical use and over 99% effective with perfect use. This is because there is room for human error when injecting it.
Why choose a long-acting contraceptive?
They're ideal if you know that you do not want to have children for a while. Once in place, you don’t need to think about these methods until they need replacing, and none of them interrupt sex. They are more reliable than short-acting methods as you don’t have to remember to take them each day, or use them each time you have sex.
PP-UN-WHC-GB-0066 September 2023