4 Contraceptives For Women Who Smoke

In 2008, about 18 percent of women in the United States smoked. Yet, due to potential health risks, female smokers who don't want to get pregnant may not have all the same contraceptive options as nonsmokers. A woman who smokes has an increased risk of a blood clot-related disease, such as a stroke or heart attack, if she uses oral contraceptives with high doses of estrogen. Nevertheless, there are contraceptive options available for women who smoke. Here are a few: 

Hormonal IUD

"IUD" is an acronym for "intrauterine device." The hormonal IUD for a smoker should contain progestin, which is a natural or synthetic form of progesterone. The hormone causes the cervical mucus to thicken, so sperm is prevented from reaching the egg. It may also cause the uterine lining to remain thin, so if an egg is fertilized, it is unable to attach to the uterine wall. Some hormonal IUDs, such as the Mirena IUD, contain no estrogen and can prevent pregnancy for up to five years.   

Contraceptive Implant

An implant that contains progestogen can be placed under the skin of your upper arm to help prevent you from ovulating. The implant, which is a small tube, is about the size of a hairpin. About one out of 3,000 women who are sexually active become pregnant each year while using a contraceptive implant. This number is significant since about 2,400 of 3,000 sexually active adult females become pregnant annually without contraception. 


If you would like to avoid hormones completely, a diaphragm may be a good option. The device, which is shaped like a dome, fits over your cervical opening. It blocks sperm from entering your uterus.  To improve the effectiveness of a diaphragm, a spermicide should be placed in its cup. The diaphragm should remain in place for at least six hours after you have intercourse. Actual use shows that it is about 84 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.  

Condoms for Females

Female condoms, which are made of synthetic, latex-free rubber, are condoms that are designed to be inserted in the vagina just before intercourse. They line the vagina to prevent sperm from reaching your eggs, and they contain no hormones.  With typical use, 21 out of 100 women become pregnant while using an implant. However, with perfect use, the number drops to five out of 100. Nevertheless, perfect use rarely happens. 

If you are a female smoker, contraceptives that contain large amounts of estrogen may increase your risk of health problems. Contact a gynecologist (such as Mark E Richey MD PC) today for a complete list of contraceptives that can work for you.