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In order to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, if you are sexually active, it is extremely important and sensible to use some form of contraception if your religion or culture, allows you to.

Contraception is not a new idea, women have used it for centuries, but now new methods have made it simpler and more effective. There are too many myths such as you can't get pregnant if its your first time, if you are breastfeeding, if she does not have an orgasm, or the man withdraws before he ejaculates.

These are just a few of the myths, which have no truth in them. If intercourse takes place without protection, there will always be a risk of pregnancy. This risk is lower at different times of the month, but it is not always possible to accurately predict when. It does decrease with the onset of the menopause, but pregnancy can still occur, so protection should be used up to 2 years after your periods have ceased.

For many couples, the decision as to what form they should use can sometimes be difficult. This is why there are family planning clinics and advice centers all over the country, available to everyone, young, old, married or single.

There are forms of contraception e.g. condoms, male or female, that not only protect against pregnancy but will also protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

For advice as to what to do, call or see your GP, or telephone the NHS Health Information Service on 0800 665544 or the Family Planning Association on 0207 837 4044.

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