Choosing a Birth Control Method

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A lot of us think of birth control and don’t even know where to start. With all the options available, it’s hard to decide which kind would be best for you. The pill? Implant? Shot? Patch? Ring? If you were born with the “indecisive gene” this process can definitely be more difficult than you had imagined.

But when you boil it down, it’s really all about what you’re looking to get out of your birth control method. Here are some things to consider:

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Girls:

  • Do you want protection against HIV and other STDs? Condoms are the only method of birth control that protects against STDs but other methods of birth control can be more effective at preventing pregnancy. Using condoms along with another birth control method is a great way to protect against STDs and also decrease the risk of pregnancy. It’s a win-win situation!
  • Do you have any allergies? Allergies to things such as latex or other chemicals may prevent you from being able to use certain methods, and force you to rule them out. If you have any concerns regarding allergies, you can talk to your doctor or other health care provider.
  • How often do you want to think about your birth control? Skipping your pill just one day may lead to some unwanted results. Therefore, if you don’t have the best memory, you may want to consider some other options, such as the IUD or implant. These methods can last for up to ten years without any daily maintenance!
  • How much can you afford to spend on birth control? Birth control methods can range in prices. If cost is a larger concern for you, you can talk to your physician about what options you have. And remember:  Starting August 1st, birth control will be available at no cost to insured women. And we mean NO COST – not even co-pays! Visits to the OB/GYN will also be covered. Curious about the other changes created by the new health care reform? Read more here: http://teensource.org/ts/blog/2012/07/how-affordable-care-act-aca-affects-you
  • Who might find your birth control? Some methods, like the pill or condoms require carrying something around. The patch requires putting something on your body. Other methods, like the IUD, implant and shot, require a visit to a doctor but are completely private for 3 months to 10 years. It can be helpful to think about what would be most comfortable for you.

Our friends at Planned Parenthood have created a short quiz that incorporates these factors, and many more, giving you a suggested method that would be best for you: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/all-access/my-method-26542.htm.
 

Guys:

Guys have the double-edged sword of having only a couple birth control options. The up-side? You don’t have to choose from a wide variety of options. The down-side? You don’t have a wide variety of options to choose from. Condoms are the method of choice for the majority of men, but scientists are in the process of developing other options.

To find a clinic near you: http://teensource.org/ts/find-a-clinic

To order free condoms: http://teensource.org/ts/condoms/free