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Contraception involves various means and methods one can use to avoid becoming pregnant. It is important to find the means of contraception that suits you best. Doctors, health visitors, midwives and nurses can provide advice on contraception. Everyone who works in a doctor’s office, public health clinic, or hospital is bound by a duty of secrecy.

  • Condoms
  • Diaphragms/caps
  • Spermicides
  • Oestrogen free contraceptive pills
  • Contraceptive pills
  • Contraceptive rings
  • Contraceptive patches
  • Mini pills
  • Hormone coils
  • Contraceptive implants
  • Copper coils
  • Sterilisation
  • Emergency contraception
  • Unreliable means of contraception


A condom is a thin rubber sheath that is unrolled over the erect penis. The condom should be worn during the entire period of sexual intercourse. The reliability of a condom is increased when the condom is used together with a spermicidal foam or cream. Condoms also provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection. Condoms are sold everywhere: in food shops, chemists, petrol stations, etc. Condoms are very reliable when used correctly.


A diaphragm/cap is an elastic rubber shell that a woman inserts into her vagina so that it covers her cervix, the opening to the womb/uterus. Diaphragms/caps come in different sizes and you must be fitted by a doctor. A diaphragm/cap should be used with spermicidal cream. The diaphragm/cap can be put in at any time before sexual intercourse and should stay in place for at least six hours afterwards. Diaphragms/caps can be used by most women. Diaphragms/caps together with spermicidal cream are a reliable means of contraception if they are correctly inserted into the vagina.


Spermicides are used together with condoms or diaphragms/caps and are not a suitable means of contraception on their own. They are produced as creams, foams, jellies, or suppositories. Spermicides can be bought from a chemist’s without a prescription and have few side effects.

Oestrogen free contraceptive pills

There is only one type of oestrogen free contraceptive pill on the Norwegian market. The pill hinders ovulation (when a woman produces an egg). In order for it to be effective, it is important that the pill be taken at the same time every day. The pill can also be used by women who are breastfeeding. The pill is almost 100% reliable if used correctly. A doctor’s prescription is needed to obtain oestrogen free contraceptive pills.

Contraceptive pills

©Stephen Meddle/Rex Features/All Over Press©Stephen Meddle/Rex Features/All Over Press

Ordinary contraceptive pills have been on the market for more than 30 years. They contain two different kinds of synthetic hormones: oestrogens and progestogens. These two hormones mimic the hormones produced by the ovaries. Different contraceptive pills have different compositions. Your doctor will help you find a type which suits you and write you a prescription. Contraceptive pills hinder ovulation and make it difficult for an egg to attach to the lining of the womb. Contraceptive pills are very reliable when used correctly. A doctor’s prescription is needed to obtain contraceptive pills.

Women over the age of 35 years old who smoke should not take contraceptive pills. This also applies to women who have had a blood clot, breast cancer, heart attack or other heart problem, or serious liver illness.

Contraceptive rings

A contraceptive ring is a soft, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina by the woman herself. The ring contains oestrogens and progestogens, though in smaller doses than in contraceptive pills. The ring releases these hormones gradually. Contraceptive rings should remain inserted in the vagina for three weeks. The ring is then removed and a new ring inserted after one week. The ring prevents ovulation. The ring is easy to use. Contraceptive rings can be obtained from a chemist’s with a doctor’s prescription. They are very reliable. Women who cannot use contraceptive pills cannot use contraceptive rings either.

Contraceptive patches

Contraceptive patches contain the same quantities of oestrogens and progestogens as the contraceptive pills with the lowest doses. The hormones are released through the skin. The patches are changed on the same day of the week for three weeks. Once you have used three patches over three weeks you take a break for a week before putting on a new patch on the same day of the week. The patches prevent ovulation. Patches can be obtained from a chemist’s with a doctor’s prescription. They are just as reliable as contraceptive pills.

Mini pills

Mini pills only contain one kind of synthetic hormone: progestogens. The mini pill should be taken at the same time every day. If you forget to take the pill and more than 27 hours pass between two pills, then you must use extra contraceptive protection against pregnancy for the next 14 days. The pill must be taken as normal. A doctor’s prescription is needed to obtain mini pills.

Hormone coils

A hormone coil (also known as an intrauterine system (IUS) or an intrauterine device (IUD)) is a small object which is inserted into a woman’s uterus by a doctor. The insertion of the coil can be a bit uncomfortable, but the discomfort usually passes quickly. If the discomfort persists, you must contact the doctor. The hormone coil obstructs the growth of the womb’s lining and makes it impossible for sperm to penetrate the lining of the cervix. It also hinders the sperm moving through the uterus. The hormone coil is effective for several years. It is a very reliable means of preventing pregnancy.

Contraceptive implants

Two types of implants are available on the Norwegian market. They are about the same size as a matchstick and contain the synthetic hormone progestogen. They are inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm for a period of three or five years, depending on the type. This is done at a doctor’s office. The implants work by preventing ovulation and affects the cervical mucous making it difficult for the sperm to reach the womb and fallopian tubes (oviducts). Implants are a reliable means of contraception.

Copper coils

©Steinar Myhr/Samfoto©Steinar Myhr/Samfoto

The copper coil (also known as an intrauterine system (IUS) or an intrauterine device (IUD)) is inserted in the uterus just like the hormone coil. The coil hinders the egg from attaching to the uterus. The copper can also hinder sperm moving through the uterus. The coil is effective for between five and ten years and provides good protection against pregnancy. Copper coils can result in heavier periods and sometimes period pains.


Sterilisation is the ultimate means of contraception. A man or a woman who is sterilised can no longer have children. The operation can rarely be reversed. It is therefore important to think about this seriously before taking this step.

Emergency contraception

If sexual intercourse takes place around the time the woman is ovulating, the chance of getting pregnant is around 20%. If you have had sexual intercourse without using contraception at around this time, you can purchase emergency contraception without a prescription from a chemist’s. These pills contain large doses of special hormones that must be taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse. It is important to visit your doctor for a check up after three or four weeks to check whether you have nevertheless become pregnant. The pills can harm the foetus if the pregnancy continues. One can also hinder a pregnancy by inserting a coil within five days of the unprotected sexual intercourse.

Unreliable means of contraception

Safer periods

Theoretically one can avoid becoming pregnant if one does not have sexual intercourse during the period the woman is ovulating. This is a very unreliable method because both the length of the cycle and the moment of ovulation vary greatly from woman to woman.

Withdrawal method

If the sexual intercourse is interrupted before the ejaculation of sperm, this may prevent pregnancy. However, this method is unreliable. Some sperm can enter the vagina before ejaculation occurs and sperm on skin around the vagina can move into the vagina.

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