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Methods of Birth Control

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Abstinence is the right choice for some people, but many teens don't want to wait to have sex until they're ready to have a baby. Puberty brings with it a lot of sexual feelings and many teens choose to have sex for the first time during their teenage years. If you do choose to have sex and want to avoid pregnancy and STI’s, you need to make sure that
you use protection every single time.

Questions about Contraception

Are there many different methods of contraception? Yes. There are two main types of contraception: barrier methods and hormonal methods. Barrier methods physically prevent sperm from reaching the uterus and fertilizing the woman's egg. Hormonal methods alter a woman's hormonal cycle to prevent pregnancy. These are the two types of contraception that are generally used by teenagers.

How do you know which one to choose? There's no single "best" method of contraception, so talk with a doctor or another trusted adult about your specific needs and concerns before deciding which to use. Friends often have a lot of advice but it's often not as good as what a doctor can offer. Whatever your situation, there should be an option that works for you. For many people, condoms are best, because they not only help prevent pregnancy, but also help protect against HIV and other STIs. Some people prefer hormonal methods because they are extremely effective in preventing pregnancy -- but they provide no protection against STIs. For very good protection against both pregnancy and STIs, a hormonal method should be used at the same time as a condom.

Where do you get contraceptives from? Condoms are widely available from pharmacies and other stores without a prescription. Hormonal methods are only available from doctors and require a prescription.

Facts about Contraception

  • Teens are much more likely to have unplanned and unprotected sex when they are using alcohol or drugs. Teens 15 and older who drink are seven times more like to have sexual intercourse and twice as likely to have it with four or more partners than non-drinking teens. More than one-half of teens (53%) say the main reason teens do not use protection is because of drinking or using drugs.

  • Many teens feel pressure not to use protection. More than one-half of teens (52%) surveyed recently said that one of the main reasons that teens do not use birth control is because their partners don't want to.

  • Sexually active couples who don't use protection during intercourse have an 85-90% chance of becoming pregnant over the course of one year.

  • Many teens who have sex either don't use contraception or use it inconsistently.

  • Nearly one-third of teen girls used no contraception the last time they had sex.