Please note: This archive was last updated in 2005.

RHO archives : Topics : Contraceptive Methods

Contraceptive Methods

Family planning reduces maternal mortality and improves women's health by preventing unwanted and high-risk pregnancies and reducing the need for unsafe abortions.Contraceptive use by women and men helps families space births, prevents unwanted pregnancy, and, in the case of consistent condom use, prevents transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. When properly provided and used, currently available contraceptives are safe and effective for the vast majority of users.

This section provides summaries of the characteristics of each contraceptive method as well as issues that providers need to know when providing family planning services and counseling. Information about the issues programs should address when providing quality reproductive health is provided in RHO's Family Planning Program Issues section.

This section is based in part on the recommendations and findings from the World Health Organization (WHO) medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use. These criteria are based on scientific evidence and were developed by WHO in consultation with groups and individuals from all regions of the world. The criteria are part of WHO's overall effort to ensure that women and men worldwide have access to safe and high-quality family planning services.