Talking with your doctor about contraception

There are many different types of contraception available. The one you choose will depend on a range of considerations, such as your health, medical history, lifestyle, and personal preference. A doctor, gynecologist or family planning healthcare professional can help you understand which options are suitable for you and why.

This guide is designed to help you prepare for your conversation with a healthcare professional. You can download a printable copy here to take with you to your appointment.

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Talking with your doctor about contraception
Talking with your doctor about contraception
Talking with your doctor about contraception

Before you go

You can find information about the many different types of contraception available by researching online and talking to other women.

Some common methods of birth control include:

  • Oral contraceptive pill
  • Birth control patches
  • Contraceptive injection
  • Intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Intrauterine System (IUS)
  • Condoms
  • Diaphragm or cap, and spermicide implants

During your appointment

  • Your doctor may ask about your medical history and any health conditions. 
    There are many types of birth control. Some are barrier methods, others contain either single or multiple hormones. Some types of birth control will be better suited to your needs than others. Your age and history of smoking, blood clots, blood pressure and diabetes are all common considerations that will ensure the right choice for you.

  • Your doctor will ask about your birth control needs.
    It is common for a prescribing doctor to ask you about your sexual partner/s as this informs the recommended choice of contraception. The doctor is used to asking these types of questions and will use your answers to ensure you have the correct type of contraception for your needs.

  • Ask questions.
    If you have any concerns or worries about any of the types of contraception available, share them with your doctor.

  • You and your doctor will make a joint decision about which contraception is right for you.
    It takes two. You need to be comfortable and happy with the method you choose to ensure you receive the contraception that suits you and your body and gives you the level of birth control you require. No contraception delivers 100% pregnancy prevention.

  • Be clear on how your chosen contraception method works. Your contraception will include a patient information leaflet for you to read. You can also receive education and information from your prescribing doctor, gynaecologist or pharmacists. You may want to ask how you will know your birth control is working and what to do if you experience side effects.

What happens next?

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on how to use your contraception to make sure it is effective.

  • Your doctor will warn you of any likely side effects and what to do if they should occur. You may need to go back to your doctor if you feel your chosen contraception doesn’t suit you.

  • Protect your sexual health by using condoms and getting regular STI checks.

Conversation starters

“What method of contraception is best suited to my lifestyle?”
“What are the common side effects of hormonal / non-hormonal contraception?”
“I’ve just had a baby, and I’m breastfeeding. Which contraception is safe for me to use?”
“What is the difference between an IUD and an IUS? Which would be better for me?”
“I have forgotten to take my pill a few times, and I’m worried I could get pregnant. Could I try contraception that I don’t need to remember every day?”
“I’ve been taking the pill for a long time, but I think I want to change. What do you suggest for me?”
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Our website content is intended to educate only and does not replace advice from your health care professional.