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Balancing Family Planning: Exploring the Benefits of Contraceptive Coil Options
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January 23, 2024
Dr Hina

Choosing the right contraceptive method for you is a personal decision. Of course, if you are in a committed relationship it is also something you may want to discuss and consider with your partner. 

There are many contraceptive options available, each with its own method of preventing pregnancy. However, in this article we will be discussing the different types of contraceptive coil and their benefits when it comes to balancing a healthy sex life alongside your family planning goals.

What is Family Planning?

Family planning appeals to many wishing to control the number of children they have and what age they wish to have them. Factors that influence family planning decisions include things like a person’s marital status, age, financial situation, career considerations, and future goals.

Taking control of your family planning is important if you want to time when you have children. If you are sexually active, the best way to control when you get pregnant is by using contraception until it’s the right time for you to begin trying to conceive. When you want to get pregnant and how quickly will influence the type of contraception you choose.

Available Birth Control Options

There are many contraceptive options available to effectively prevent pregnancy until a time when a woman is ready to conceive. Selecting the right option is a personal choice. However, it can be impacted by your age, medical history, and family planning goals. So, it’s worth keeping that in mind and consulting your doctor if you have any questions.

Your birth control options include the following:

Barrier methods: barrier methods are a contraceptive option that physically prevents the sperm from fertilising the egg. Some barrier methods also prevent sexually transmitted infections (but not all, which is important to be aware of). Barrier methods include condoms for both men and women, as well as the contraceptive sponge, cervical cap, and diaphragm for women.

Long-acting hormonal contraceptives: these include contraceptives such as the copper IUD and the hormonal IUD (both of which we will discuss in more detail shortly), and the contraceptive implant. Each of these contraceptive options are considered long-acting because they are effective for 5-10 years after insertion, making them a popular choice for many.

Short-acting hormonal methods: if you’re looking for something a little more short-lived, consider options such as the hormonal birth control pill, skin patch, contraceptive injection, and vaginal ring. Each of these short-acting methods needs to be used daily, weekly, or monthly.

Fertility Awareness: this natural method of contraception involves an understanding of your cycle and when you are at your most fertile. This information can be uncovered by recording your basal body temperature and evaluating your cervical mucus. To avoid getting pregnant, you should avoid sexual intercourse on or around your fertile window.

Emergency Contraception: if you have had unprotected sex there are emergency contraceptives available, such as the morning-after pill, that can be used to prevent pregnancy as well.

Contraceptive Coil Options

In this article we will be focusing on the contraceptive coil and the options available to you. Let’s take a look at the different types of coil and how effective they are as a form of contraception.

What is the Coil?

The coil is a small T shaped device that is flexible enough to be inserted into the uterus. It is an effective, long-form contraceptive method that many women rely on to manage their family planning. The coil is over 99% effective as a form of contraception and remains effective for 5-10 years after insertion.

The Two Types of Coil

There are two types of coil available to women, one that contains hormones and one that does not. Let’s take a look at each of the coil types in a little more detail.

The Hormonal Coil 

The hormonal coil is a method of long-form contraception that releases the hormone, progestin, into the body to prevent pregnancy. 

The hormonal coil is effective for up to 7 years after insertion and does not interrupt sexual intercourse in any way, making it a popular choice.

Side effects: as with any hormonal contraceptives, there are side effects some people may experience from using this type of coil, including: no periods, headaches, acne, breast tenderness, mood swings, and (although uncommon) vaginal bleeding and pain. 

Although the above side effects are uncommon, it is important to understand as much as you can about your contraceptive of choice to ensure you choose the right option for your needs.

How Soon After Removing the Hormonal Coil Can I Get Pregnant?

For those using the hormonal coil as part of their family planning, it is important to note that pregnancy can occur straight after the hormonal coil is removed. So, if you don’t want to get pregnant straight away be sure to use an alternative contraception such as condoms. 

The Copper Coil

Instead of releasing hormones into the body, the copper coil releases very small amounts of copper into the womb as a preventative measure against pregnancy. 

The copper released into the womb alters the cervical mucus, making it extremely difficult for sperm to reach and fertilise the egg. The copper coil can protect against pregnancy for 5-10 years and works immediately after insertion.

Side effects: some women experience side effects when using the copper coil, including lighter/heavier periods, longer/more painful monthly cycles, and the possibility of vaginal bleeding, pain, and pelvic infection (although these are uncommon).

How Soon After Removing the Copper Coil Can I Get Pregnant?

As soon as the copper coil has been removed, you can become pregnant. Therefore, if this is not something you want right away and you are having sexual intercourse, be sure to use other contraceptive options in the meantime.

Find out more about coil fitting and removal.

The Benefits of the Coil

Now that you know a little bit more about the two different types of coil available, let’s take a look at the benefits.

The Benefits of the Hormonal Coil 

Lighter periods: one of the main benefits of the hormonal coil is that it reduces vaginal bleeding when a woman is on her period. This is particularly beneficial for women who are at risk of anaemia due to heavy bleeding. 

Reduces Period Pain: the hormonal coil is also an effective solution for relief from painful periods as it can make your periods lighter or shorter – even stopping them altogether. So, if you experience painful periods, the hormonal contraceptive could be a good option for you (even if you’re not sexually active currently). 

Oestrogen-free: the hormonal coil is also a good option for people who cannot use contraceptives containing the hormone oestrogen, including those at a high risk of blood clots and migraines.

Long-form Contraception Method: once inserted, the hormonal coil is effective for 5-10 years. After removal it is possible to get pregnant straight away. So, use of the hormonal coil should not restrict your family planning goals.

The Benefits of the Copper Coil 

Not Permanent: one of the great things about the copper coil is that it lasts for 5-10 years as a form of contraception but it isn’t permanent. So, as soon as you decide you want to get pregnant, you can have the coil removed and start trying for a baby straight away. There’s no need to wait for hormones to clear your system. Instead, you can get on with your life without delay.

Effective as an Emergency Contraception: if you’ve had unprotected sex but you don’t want to get pregnant, the copper coil can be used as a form of emergency contraception. When inserted into the uterus within 120 hours or 5 days of having unprotected sex, the copper coil is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

No Need to Interrupt Sex for Contraception: the copper coil negates the need for interrupted sex. You don’t need to stop during the event to put on a condom; you can enjoy the experience completely uninterrupted.

Effective for up to 10 Years: many women want a contraceptive solution they don’t have to think about and the copper coil offers a great solution. Once inserted, the copper coil can remain in place for up to 10 years, providing 99% effective protection against pregnancy. What’s more, you can set a reminder on your phone or request one from your surgery to alert you when it’s time for your coil replacement so that you don’t forget. But otherwise, you can put it to the back of your mind and just enjoy being in the moment.

Can be Used While Breastfeeding: because the copper coil does not release any hormones into the body, it is safe to use after birth and while breastfeeding. In fact, many women find the copper coil is a great way to protect against pregnancy safely and easily while nursing. 

Speak with Your Doctor

We hope this article has highlighted the benefits of the contraceptive coil and how it can support your family planning goals. If you would like to find out more about contraception methods and the options available, browse our blog.

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