Family Planning


The contraceptive implant

How does the contraceptive implant work? 

The contraceptive implant is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (or LARC). These types of contraception are recommended by Marie Stopes United Kingdom, as they are over 99% effective - they’ve been shown to be 20 times more effective than the pill, patch or vaginal ring.
It stops ovulation (the release of an egg) and thickens the mucus around the cervix, which makes it difficult for sperm to get into the uterus. 
Long-acting methods of contraception all have the advantage that, once in place, you don’t need to think about them until they need replacing and none of them interrupt sex.
Implant advantages

The implant lasts three years, but can be removed earlier.
Fertility returns rapidly after it’s removed.

Things to consider

The implant is inserted like an injection.
Irregular bleeding can occur, but this can often be managed with medication to help it settle down.
Periods may stop, but this is nothing to worry about.
It requires a simple procedure to remove it.
Unlike condoms, it does not protect from sexually transmitted infections.

Implant aftercare advice

If fitted after an abortion, or on days 1-5 of a period, an implant will work straight away. If fitted on another day, use extra precautions such as condoms or abstain from sex for seven days. Keep the site of the implant insertion dry if you can (try wrapping your arm in cling-film when you have a shower). Remove the bandage after 24 hours and the dressing after 2-3 days.

You should have a small wound where the implant was inserted, but it should not be painful, hot or discharging fluid. If you have any concerns call our aftercare line.

It is common for the implant to change your bleeding pattern but it may stay the same. It could be irregular or stop completely which again is normal and nothing to worry about. Your implant will still be effective.
It may take 4-6 months for the implant to settle and for side effects to disappear. Troublesome bleeding lasting more than 4 months can be treated with medication - call our aftercare line to speak to a nurse.
You can have this contraceptive fitted after abortion.  Marie Stopes Vietnam will only offer removal for medical complications.


The IUD contraception method works by preventing sperm from meeting an egg, or by preventing an egg settling in the uterus. IUDs can also be used as an emergency method of contraception within five days of unprotected intercourse, or five days after expected ovulation.
IUD contraception is cost-effective in the long run, is highly effective and is completely reversible.
The device has a fine nylon string attached to it which, when in place, comes out through the cervix. You and your doctor can check that the device is still in place by reaching right up inside the vagina and feeling for the string. You will need to check the string on a regular basis.
IUDs may cause periods to be heavier and more painful. The IUD offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections or HIV.
IUD contraception is 99% effective.

Contraceptive Injection

The contraceptive injection works by slowly releasing the hormone progestogen into the body to prevent ovulation (release of an egg).
It must be given every 12 weeks otherwise it becomes ineffective, so it is important to return to a Marie Stopes International clinic or your local doctor for the next injection on time.
Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect but many women will have lighter or no periods with continued use. You should not use this method of contraception if you do not want your periods to change.
It is the only contraceptive that can delay your return to normal rates of fertility so might not be a good choice if you want to fall pregnant in the next year or so. Possible weight gain is also a consideration, as is possible decrease in bone density, which reverses when the injections are stopped. It offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
Contraceptive Injection is 99% effective.


The IUS contraception device is placed inside the uterus by a trained Marie Stopes International doctor and can stay in place for up to 5 years. It can be easily removed by the nylon string which is attached to it. It is important to check the string on a regular basis, to make sure the device is still in place.

The release of the hormone from the IUS causes the mucus in the cervix to become thicker so that sperm cannot enter the uterus and meet the egg. It also changes the lining of the uterus preventing a fertilized egg from implanting. In some women, ovulation may cease, though fertility returns rapidly after removal.

IUS contraception is useful for women with heavy, painful periods as it usually makes periods lighter, shorter and less painful. In many women periods don’t come at all. In women approaching or undergoing menopause it can be used as the progestogen component of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The IUS offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections or HIV.  

Side effects are uncommon but may include acne, headaches, moodiness, weight gain and breast tenderness. In most cases these usually settle down after the first few months.

IUS contraception is over 99% effective.

Contraceptive pill

The combined contraceptive pill, usually called ‘the pill’, is made up of two hormones; oestrogen and progestogen. The hormones present in the combined pill prevent pregnancy by blocking ovulation (the release of eggs from the ovaries). In addition the pill thickens the mucus at the cervix so that sperm cannot get through to meet an egg and also alters the lining of the uterus so that a fertilized egg is less likely to implant itself and develop.
The pill also has other advantages such as the ability to regulate your menstrual cycle, reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and period pain.
Side effects to the pill often settle with time and if not, changing to a lower dose or different brand may often improve side effects. Most women can find a pill that suits them. Minor side effects can include; headache, nausea, breast tenderness, acne (some brands of the pill can improve acne), chloasma (pigmentation of the skin of the face), lowered libido and mood change, bloating and spotting or ‘break through’ bleeding. 
The contraceptive pill offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
The combined pill is over 99% effective in preventing an unplanned pregnancy if taken correctly every day. Because some women may occasionally forget to take a pill, or illness and some medications may interfere with the pill working, the effectiveness is 92% with typical use

Emergency contraceptive pill

Emergency contraception may stop a pregnancy before it starts by preventing or delaying the release of an egg from the ovaries. It does not provide any on-going contraception and offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
When taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex the emergency contraceptive pill will prevent 95 percent of expected pregnancies. This decreases to 85 percent when the emergency contraceptive pill is taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. The emergency contraceptive pill may be effective up to 96 hours (four days) after unprotected sex, but its effectiveness decreases significantly with time.


When used correctly, every single time you have sex, condoms can be 98 percent effective as a contraceptive method. Allowing for mishaps, typical failure rates are probably around 15 percent.
Condoms are inexpensive and can easily be purchased from pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations and vending machines. They are also available at Marie Stopes International clinics and your doctor's clinic.