As you can see, there are a number of different contraceptives all of which can be broadly categorised into one of the following methods:
- Combined oral contraceptives
- Progestin-only pills
- Monthly injectables
- Progestin-only injectables
- Copper-containing intrauterine device
Choice is an important driver of contraceptive use and uptake. It may be defined as the ability of women to choose from amongst either several contraceptive methods, or several variety/brands of the same method, according to personal preference, clinical needs and other socio-cultural factors.
In addition to choice and preference, there are a number of other factors such as personal characteristic, reproductive history and co-existing conditions that determine which method can be safely used. The WHO Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use offers this guidance based on systematic reviews of available clinical and epidemiological research. A number of other organisations have summarised the information from the WHO guideline into a table or other easy-to-use tool. Below is a list of such useful links and resources.
- Family Planning, A Global Handbook for Providers. Appendix D - Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use.
- FHI 360, Quick Reference Chart for the WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use.
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use.
- UK Department of Health (England), UK Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use.