Department of Education

Contraception explained

Contraception explained.

Preventing pregnancy

  • Contraception prevents a girl becoming pregnant. It allows her to choose when and if she wants to have a baby.
  • Before you become sexually active, it’s important to think carefully about contraception so that you don’t have an unwanted child.

Preventing the spread of disease

  • Contraception also protects against certain infections that can be transmitted during sex – sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These can be passed between partners if neither of you use a condom.
  • Sometimes you can tell if you have an infection – you might feel unwell, have tummy ache, or it might be painful to wee or to have sex.
  • With some STIs you don’t have any symptoms – you can be infected for years and not know it. This can make it very difficult to get pregnant in the future.
  • If you have had unprotected sex, talk to your doctor about having a test.

Condoms are available free from your family planning clinic, sexual health clinic and may also be available from your doctor.

If you are sexually active, talk to your doctor about the best form of contraception for you. Your doctor is not allowed to discuss this with your parents without your consent.


The Brook Centre has lots of information about contraception.

As does the NHS website.


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