Birth control—without it, pregnancy can happen. That's why you need birth control you can count on.
There are lots of good options for birth control. Your best choices are those that you find easy to use—so you never go without it.
And of course, no matter what kind of birth control you use, you always need a plan for protecting yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Some birth control methods work around the clock. Others work only when you use them, which means it's so very important to use them every time you have sex.
If you want to stop using the hormone implant or the IUD, you can have your doctor remove it. You can become pregnant after it's removed.
Emergency contraception (EC) is what you use if you've had sex without birth control you can count on. You may know it as "the morning-after pill." In the first 5 days after sex, you can take a special type and dose of hormone pills. Or you could have an IUD put in right away to prevent pregnancy.
EC is most likely to prevent pregnancy during the first 3 days after sex. If you have unprotected sex, use EC as soon as possible—if you ovulate after sex, but before using EC, the EC will not stop a pregnancy.
Choosing birth control is a very personal thing. First, think through some basic facts about your birth control options. Then, focus in on what's important to you. And then, think about who you are and what your style is.
"Easy to use" birth control means different things to different people. What are you more comfortable with? You may want to try a method a few times. And then you may want to try some others.
Are you good at remembering things? Or do you tend to lose track of things like your keys or what's on your calendar?
You can buy birth control without going to a doctor. You can get male condoms in grocery stores, convenience stores, or drugstores. And you can get female condoms or a sponge and spermicide from a drugstore.
You can buy emergency contraception without a prescription at most drugstores if you are 15 or older.
At a doctor's office, you can get:
When you use abstinence for preventing pregnancy:
Your local Planned Parenthood clinic or women's health center may have a teen support group where you can talk with other teens about abstinence.
Don't believe it! You make an egg, or ovulate, and then have a period. And ovulation can happen at any time. There's no day of the month when it's safe to have sex without birth control.
Having protection against pregnancy and STIs means that it's there when you need it. But being prepared doesn't mean having to say yes unless you're comfortable with it.
Flushing water into the vagina, or douching, after sex does not prevent pregnancy.
This should always be true. It's important that you be able to say "no" or "stop" at any time.
Every time? Anyone can be forgetful. It's best that you count on yourself. But for a built-in backup plan, you and your partner can agree to both keep protection with you.
Most teens don't have a pelvic exam when they first go for birth control. But if you already have a health problem that needs to be checked, you might. If you do need a pelvic exam and you're nervous about it, talk to your doctor about it ahead of time.
That's right. Abstinence prevents pregnancy and STIs.
Other Works Consulted
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2013). FDA approves Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive without a prescription for women 15 years of age and older. FDA News Release, April 30, 2013. Available online: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm350230.htm.
May 22, 2013
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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