A dear friend called me on phone a few days ago. We had talked about contraception in the past and after the birth of her last child she had started using a new method of contraception like any responsible person who didn’t want an unplanned pregnancy.

So I was stunned when she said she had done a pregnancy test and found out she was pregnant despite her contraception.

I know none of the methods are 100% effective (try abstinence or hysterectomy if you must have 100%) but it’s always a huge surprise to me when I meet someone who is the <1% person who will get pregnant despite using an effective method that does not depend on user expertise.
Methods like coils, implants and injections just do the job without any help from you but, very occasionally, they fail.

I could feel her distress and confusion.

What had gone wrong??
She did as she was told and yet….

How do you counsel such a person? What can you say to make it right?

Nothing really except to empathise and crosscheck that they had indeed done everything the right way.

Ensure they attended their three monthly injections on time… check.
They could feel their coil threads after each period and it hadn’t been pulled out with the tampon… check.
The implant can be felt in their arm… check.
The pills were taken regularly, they hadn’t had diarrhoea or vomited and lost the tablet… check.
They used the condom consistently and correctly… check.

So what next?
At this point I let each person go and talk to their spouse and decide on what to do. Only they can make the decision. Whatever decision they arrive at, my role is to support and not judge.

Sexual Wellbeing Network
Sexual Wellbeing Network

And I explain again carefully to the next person how to use a method properly while in my heart hoping and praying that they are not the <1% who the method will fail.

Have you ever been failed by your contraception? What went wrong in your case? And what helped to make things right?

You can also join the conversation on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/healthysextoday

2 Responses

  1. Happy New year Adaeze, just to let you know that even a hysterectomy is not a guarantee of a 100% success rate, as the very remote chance of an intra-uterine pregnancy is still there.

    1. Nice to hear from you, Emeka and a fabulous new year to you!
      Thanks for your comments.

      In your comment, I guess you meant -the very remote chance of an ”extra-uterine pregnancy” is still there. That is that after a hysterectomy, a pregnancy outside the womb (Ectopic pregnancy) is still possible.

      True…however- the chance of this happening is of the order of 1 in 1000,000 chance which compared to failure rates of 1 in 100 for many contraception is excellent indeed.

      The type of hysterectomy matters as well- if its a ‘Total hysterectomy’ with the removal of womb, tubes, cervix and ovaries then this can be regarded as 100% contraception, in my opinion.

      However if a woman undergoes Partial hysterectomy’ where some parts above as still left, then the very uncommon chance of an ectopic pregnancy remains.
      Such pregnancies are not viable though.

      For our dear readers who may have had a partial hysterectomy, if you experience any tummy pain/bleeding, it is best to do a pregnancy test to ensure you are not having an ectopic pregnancy.
      Thanks again to Emeka whose comments have allowed this clarification! :)))

Leave a Reply