Contraceptives: Long-term

Long-term contraceptives are contraceptives that you could use over a longer period of time (years) to prevent pregnancy. They are usually reversible (meaning you can stop taking them or remove them) and they are said to be quite affective because you don’t have to rely on remembering to take them. Here are a few long-term birth control methods.


The implant (also known as implanon) is about the size of a matchstick and it’s placed just below the skin of your upper arm where it releases hormones into your bloodstream. It can be used from 3 – 5 years before you can replace it.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

It’s a small and flexible device wrapped in copper that is placed inside your womb by the healthcare provider. It releases copper ions which make it hard for the sperm to move around the womb, and it can stay in place for 5 – 10 years.

Intrauterine System (IUS)

It is similar to the IUD, but the difference is that it has low levels of hormones, and it can only stay in place for 3 – 5 years. However, the IUS is not recommendable to everyone, so it’s best to consult a healthcare provider. 

Other methods


Sterilisation  is a more “permanent” birth control method. It is the process of completely taking away the body’s ability to reproduce through minimal invasion or surgery. It is suitable for people that are sure that they don’t want any more children and it is available for both males and females. While female sterilisation is meant to be permanent, it can actually be reversed. However, the process of reversal is difficult and doesn’t actually guarantee that you will be able to get pregnant. This is why it’s so important for you to be sure before going with this method.

Emergency contraceptive

The emergency contraceptive, also known as the morning after pill, offers you a second chance to prevent pregnancy if they’re taken for up to 72 hours of unprotected sex. They are normally taken if you forgot to take your pill or didn’t use a condom to prevent pregnancy. They’re only recommended as a Plan B option, and they shouldn’t be used as your normal contraceptive like the pill.

With all of these contraceptives easily available to you at your local clinic, it is important for you to figure out which method is suitable for you, based on your reproduction needs. If you’re not sure which one will work for you, speak to your healthcare practitioner who will be able to give you the best advice .

To read more about short-term contraceptives (and get more advice on contraceptives), click here.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).