When you use a condom, you want to know that it is safe and effective.


The good news is that statistics show that they are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. This means there is still a small chance you could become pregnant when using condoms but the odds are massively stacked in your favour.


To put this into context, no method of contraception is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy except for swearing off sex altogether. And condoms are the only way you can protect yourself from sexually-transmitted infections so are essential if you are sleeping with more than one person or have a new sexual partner.


If you’re just looking to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, there are a number of other choices available but some are less effective than condoms while others can cause unpleasant side effects.


They include:


Contraceptive cap – a silicone cap which women can insert into their vagina to stop sperm reaching their cervix – 92-96% effective

• Diaphagm – This works in a similar way to the cap but needs to be used with a spermicide – 92-96% effective

• The pill – This is an oral contraception which is taken by the woman to stop her ovaries releasing eggs each month. Some people may suffer side effects including mood swings and headaches – more than 99% effective

• Contraceptive implant – This is an implant which is inserted into a woman’s arm and uses the hormone progestogen to stop the release of eggs. It lasts three years but it can cause a loss of sex drive, headaches, nausea or acne for the first few months – more than 99% effective

• Contraceptive injection – There are three types of injection which can stop a woman getting pregnant for eight, 12 or 13 weeks, depending on which type you have. It can cause weight gain, headaches and mood swings in some people – more than 99% effective

• IUD/coil – The coil is inserted into a woman’s womb and stops sperm and eggs surviving so a fertilised egg will not implant. They last between five to 10 years but there is a risk of infection and the woman’s body can expel the coil - more than 99% effective


These other forms of contraception all rely on the woman taking steps to prevent an unwanted pregnancy while condoms can be carried by either partner to ensure they are protected during sex.