Contraception in Malta: Key Facts
Condoms are the only contraceptive that not only protect against pregnancy, but also help prevent infections. The male condoms that cover the penis are available in pharmacies, supermarkets, and restrooms around Malta and cost around 1 Euro each.
Condoms prevent pregnancy in around 85% of people. If a condom bursts or slips off during sex, consider taking a morning after pill. There are other contraceptives that offer better protection against pregnancy than condoms.
Combined oral contraceptive pills contain two hormones that prevent pregnancy - an oestrogen and a progestogen. They are around 91% effective. The ones available in Malta include Adele, Yaz, Yasmine, Yasminelle, Mercilon, Nelya, Vreya, and Qlaria. Almost every pharmacy will have contraceptive pills. They usually cost between 8-12 Euro a month and require a doctor's prescription every six or twelve months.
Mini pills contain one hormone that prevents pregnancy - a progestogen. The Lamya is a mini pill available in Malta. Mini pills may be slightly less effective than combined pills, but may also have less side effects.
It is important to take contraceptive pills at the same time every day. Set up a reminder on your phone if you need help remembering. If you miss a pill, follow the instructions on the leaflet that comes with the pills.
Hormone intrauterine devices (Hormone IUDs, also known as IUS) are inserted into the uterus by a gynaecologist and prevent pregnancy for 3-5 years. Most gynaecologists in Malta insert IUSs in their clinics. The Mirena lasts five years and costs around 180 Euro. The Jaydess is used in women who have not given birth before, and it costs around 145 Euro and lasts three years. Clinic and doctor fees usually increase the cost of an IUS to around 300 Euro in total.
Hormone intrauterine devices reduce the flow of your periods and may even stop your periods completely. Women who suffer from heavy periods may obtain a hormone intrauterine device free of charge on the national health service.
Copper intrauterine devices do not contain hormones. The ones available in Malta include FlexiT and Eurogine which last around five years, and the Monalisa which lasts around ten years. They tend to be considerably cheaper than hormone IUDs, but unlike hormone IUDs they do not reduce the flow and discomfort of periods.
Hormone implants are small rods inserted under the skin in the arm and release a hormone that prevents pregnancy. They are about 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, making them one of the best contraceptives. Like hormone IUDs, implants also reduce the flow of periods. The Implanon NXT is available in Malta, it lasts around three years, and costs around 185 Euro, excluding clinic and doctor fees.
The vaginal ring contains two hormones that prevent pregnancy. A new ring is inserted into the vagina by the woman every month. The NuvaRing is available in Malta and costs around 20 to 30 Euro a month.
Some contraceptives, especially the ones that have hormones, can produce side effects and may not be suitable for every woman. You should have a discussion with your GP or gynaecologist about the different types of contraceptives before deciding which contraceptive is right for you.
Remember, only condoms can protect you against sexually transmitted infections. Even if you are using another contraceptive to prevent pregnancy, you should use a condom as well whenever there is a risk of catching an infection.
For more information on contraception in Malta, please see the website of Doctors for Choice (Malta) by clicking here.