Contraceptives: Short-Term

There are both long-term and short-term contraceptives you could use. Short-term contraceptives are highly effective in protecting you against unplanned pregnancies. These are contraceptives that have to be used in short time intervals – in other words, taken daily, taken once and taken up to three months. Here are some examples:

The Patch

The patch sticks to the skin and it looks like a shiny plaster. It protects you from pregnancy by continuously releasing contraceptives into your bloodstream through the skin. This method isn’t transparent (meaning that it’s visible on your skin) but it is easy to use and is highly effective as well.

The pill

The pill is a small tablet that has to be taken every day at the same time, in order for it to be effective. Because our bodies are different, you may experience different side effects from the next person – or none at all.

The contraceptive ring

Unlike the pill, the contraceptive ring stays in place for three weeks, then it has to be taken out and you stay off it for a week. It looks like a see-through cross between an elastic band and bracelet.

It is inserted inside the vagina, and it releases the hormones oestrogen and progesterone  into your body, to stop your ovaries from releasing eggs.


Both the female and male condoms are highly effective when used properly. They’re highly recommended because unlike the other contraceptives, they also protect you and your partner against STIs.


A diaphragm is a form of contraceptive that looks like a small hat or shallow cup. It’s made out of soft silicone, and, like the ring, it is inserted into the vagina where it blocks the entrance of the cervix to stop sperm from entering the womb. However, it is recommended to combine it with spermicide.

The sponge

This is a small piece of foam with a dimple and a strap that’s placed over your cervix. It releases spermicide at all times to protect you against unplanned pregnancy for up to 24 hours.

The injection

The injection shot is highly effective and it has to be taken every one to three months from a healthcare provider. It works similar to the ring and the pill, but you don’t have to take it daily or weekly.

Cervical cap

The cervical cap is inserted into the vagina until it covers the cervix, to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. It’s smaller than a diaphragm and it works better with spermicide.


Spermicides are not that effective on their own as they don’t offer much protection. They should be used as add-ons with the diaphragm, condom and cervical cap . One of the possible side effects of spermicide is that it can cause irritation around the vagina (and surrounding skin) and this irritation can actually make you more at risk of contracting a STI. It’s extremely important that you speak to your healthcare practitioner before you consider this option. They should be able to advise you on whether you should use it and what precautions you should take.

Remember, before changing your contraceptive or trying one for the first time, it’s best if you speak to your healthcare practitioner for the best advice. For more information on contraceptives read:

Questions to ask before switching birth control

Myths about contraceptives

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about contraception

For part two of this article where I talk about long term-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).