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Hormonal Contraception

Hormonal contraception methods

General practice nurses (GPNs) are often involved in helping women and their partners to choose appropriate and reliable contraception. To paraphrase the World Health Organization, effective contraception gives women the freedom to choose when to try for a baby and when to avoid pregnancy while still enjoying fulfilling sex lives – i.e. to have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so – through the availability of safe, effective, acceptable methods of fertility regulation. The available contraception methods can be split into two main groups: hormonal and non-hormonal. Hormonal contraception is widely used throughout the world but especially in the western world, including the UK, where it is the number one method of contraception. The subject of hormonal contraception is covered in this module. Non-hormonal methods will be covered in a separate module.


WHO (2015) Reproductive health

HSCIC (2014) NHS Contraceptive Services, England – 2013-14, Community contraceptive clinics

This resource, consisting of five assessment questions at intermediate level, tests your knowledge of hormonal contraception. The level and nature of these questions are aimed at people working in an extended role who may also be prescribers. Complete the resource, including the recommended reading and some or all of the suggested activities, to obtain a certificate for one hour of continuing professional development to include in your annual portfolio.


On completion of this resource, you should have an understanding of:

  • The key indications for hormonal contraception (HC)
  • The role of the GPN in evidence based contraception counselling
  • How to assist people with making a choice
  • The place for newer contraception choices
  • How to support women to be in control of their reproductive health


NICE PH51. Contraceptive services for young people up to age 25, 2014

NICE CG30 Long-acting reversible contraception, 2005 (update).

Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Health Care. UK Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2009

WHO (2015) Reproductive health


Contraception update Stephanie Garner