Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Getting contraception is a pretty simple process.
If you are a young women and have decided to use contraception, first of all, good on you for taking control and protecting yourself.
Secondly, keep reading! We’ve talked with our national nurse advisor and have a heap of information to help you understand what will happen at your appointment at one of our clinics.
Will I see a nurse or a doctor?
Almost everyone who comes to us wanting contraception will be seen by one of our nurses. They will have quite a few questions to ask you but your health, personal safety and wellbeing are their biggest concern.
What kind of questions will the nurse ask me?
The nurse will welcome you to the clinic and ask how they can help you.
The questions you’ll be asked will cover three main areas:
- Your health
- Your sexual activity and safety
- Which contraceptive option is going to be best for you
The general health questions will ask if you are on any medication, have you had any operations, are your parents well?
Your height, weight and blood pressure may be taken as your choice of contraceptive can be affected by higher blood pressure or weight.
The nurse will ask about your periods – are they painful or heavy, are they regular.
The nurse will check if you’re currently using contraception, such as condoms. You will also be asked if you’ve ever been pregnant – have you had a baby or had an abortion.
Finally, there were will questions about smoking and drinking.
Your answers to these questions can help determine which contraception will be best for you or any contraception you shouldn’t be using.
Sexual activity and safety
The nurse will ask some questions about your sexual activity such as:
- Have you been having sex?
- Is there someone you’re having sex with regularly?
- What contraception you are already using (this includes condoms and emergency contraception)?
- Is there any chance you could be pregnant?
- When was your last period?
The way you answer these questions will help the nurse decide if there’s a chance you could already be pregnant or if there’s any other help you need.
The nurse will talk about sexual health checks and help you decide when you need to do this.
The nurse will also ask about your safety and will ask if you feel okay to say no to sexual activity or if you are being pressured or bullied into doing things you don’t want to do.
I think I know what contraception I want to use – can I tell the nurse about it?
Most young women have an idea about the contraception they want to use. Often it’s something their friends are using or something they’ve seen in the media.
It is helpful for the nurse if you have an idea before your appointment of the kind of contraception you think would be best for you.
If you’re thinking about the pill, for instance, the nurse will ask if you think you’ll be able to remember to take it regularly – every day. If you think the pill is right for you, the nurse can give you a prescription right then which you can get at your pharmacy.
There are lots of options other than the pill and the nurse will be able to help with all of these other methods.
For example, if you choose depo provera, an injection that you get every 12 weeks, the nurse will be able to give you your first injection at this appointment.
Or if you choose another option such as the implant or IUD the nurse will be able to give you some information to take home to read, and help you make the appointment to have your implant or IUD put in place.
I’m under 16? Can I get contraception without my parent's consent?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer is that there’s a New Zealand law (the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977) which allows people under the age of 16 to be given contraceptive information, services and prescriptions.
The health professional, in this case the nurse, must be sure you are able to make an informed decision. The information you gave when you answered the questions we talked about earlier will help the nurse do this.
The nurse will ask who you’ve talked to about your appointment and will encourage you to talk with a parent or another adult you trust, if you haven’t already.
Contraception is very important if you do not want to become pregnant. Our nurses will support you to get the best contraceptive for you.
How do I know that they won’t pass on my information? What about confidentiality?
Confidentiality is very important to us and we know it’s important to you. All our consultations are confidential but if the nurse thinks you’re at risk or that you’re putting someone else at risk, they’ll need to talk with someone else to get you some help. They will talk with you before they do this.
My partner wants to come to my appointment too. Is that ok?
It’s fine for your partner to come to the appointment with you. The nurse will see you alone for part of the appointment and then your partner will be able to come back into the room.
If you want to talk to a nurse about contraception and what is best for you, come into one of our clinics. You can book an appointment or visit during our drop-in times with no appointment.
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.