Birth Control FAQ!

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We are wrapping up Unintended Pregnancy Prevention Month and wanted to make sure you had “the facts” about birth control!

We answered several questions about contraception during our Birth Control AMA on Instagram. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we received from California teens.

How effective is birth control?

When it comes to birth control effectiveness, or how well it works to prevent pregnancy, there is usually a range of numbers. For example, the birth control pill is 92-99% effective at preventing pregnancy. The higher number refers to when someone takes the pill perfectly, like in a scientific study. The lower number refers to a person who uses the pill regularly, but not perfectly. Long term contraceptive methods like the IUDs and the implant are usually more effective (over 99%) at preventing pregnancy, because once they are inserted into the body, there’s not a lot of room for error. The pill, patch, ring, and shot are each 94-99% effective, and condoms are about 85-98% effective, again, depending on how “perfectly” they are used.

How do I choose the birth control method that is right for me?

There are a lot of choices when it comes to birth control! Think about things like how effective the method is, how long it works, and how often you have to use it. There are some quizzes and comparison charts to help you think through what is important. If you have questions or want more information, call a clinic near you! Remember, if you don’t like one method, you can always switch to another.

Why does birth control make you gain weight?

It is a common myth that birth control makes people gain weight. While everyone’s experience is different, studies have shown that people on birth control gain weight at the same rate as people not on birth control. The only exception is the shot, which has been shown to cause weight gain in some people. Everyone’s experience is different. If you feel that a birth control method is not right for you, you can always change to a different one.

How do I change my birth control method?

Many people try different methods of birth control throughout their lives. If a method is not working for you or if you just want to try something different, that is fine. You can talk to the doctor or clinic staff who gave you birth control in the first place. Or you can find a clinic near you to answer questions. Long-term methods like the IUD or implant can last up to 3-12 years, depending on the method. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep it for that long. If a long-acting method is not working for you, or you want to stop using birth control for any reason, or want to try another method, you can have it removed at any time.

There’s a lot of information out there about birth control, but the most important thing is to find a method that works for you! If you want to learn more about a specific method, check out TeenSource! For more AMAs, quizzes, and to stay up to date, follow TeenSource on Instagram at @teensourceorg.