Contraceptives: Know Your Options and Make the Right Choice for You

Contraceptives: Know Your Options and Make the Right Choice for You

In South Africa, many young people make the decision to use birth control at some point in their lives. Recognising the need for effective family planning, there exists a range of contraceptive methods tailored to meet diverse needs. These options can be broadly classified into two categories: short-term and long-acting reversible methods, each with varying degrees of convenience in terms of frequency of use.
Contraceptives: Know Your Options and Make the Right Choice for You

As a young person, I understand how daunting the process of choosing the right contraceptive can be. Despite the availability of several options, healthcare facilities may only offer limited choices due to various reasons such as costs, availability, or lack of awareness, regardless of the right to access accurate information about the type of contraception you choose. Consequently, young people often find themselves resorting to whatever contraceptive is provided to them, without fully considering the effects it may have on their bodies.

Ever since I started working at the Soul City Institute, my knowledge of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) has expanded. I now understand that we are each unique and have our own needs. Being part of multiple health activations at tertiary institutions made me gain confidence in engaging more on SRHR topics with other young people. This made me realise that there is a lack of knowledge regarding the pros and cons of contraceptive methods, especially in marginalised communities. Young people are not given the courtesy to make informed decisions about their bodies.

The most common side effects many young people experience are changes in body weight, heavy bleeding, nausea, severe headaches, abnormal menstrual cycles and depressive episodes. These side effects differ from person to person because our bodies are not the same and they respond differently to different hormones. Insights on the experiences of young people on various contraceptive methods indicate that we are fully aware of our bodies and should be listened to.

Seeking accurate information about contraceptives and being allowed to make decisions that align with your unique health needs and preferences is what most young people need when it comes to accessing adequate sexual and reproductive services. It is advisable that you talk to your healthcare provider about changing to another method if you don’t like the contraceptives you are using.

I believe in the saying “my body, my choice,” it’s your right to choose what is best for your body and overall health.

Check out this contraceptive tool for assistance with choosing the right method for you. For more information on all your sexual and reproductive health needs, visit

Rearabetswe Mokotla is the Soul City Institute’s Feminist and Leadership Activism Centre (FLAC) Fellow and Communications Intern.

Rearabetswe Mokotla | 13 Feb, 2024
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