Celebrate World Contraception Day!

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Almost all (99%) of women between the ages of 15-44 who have ever had sex have used at least one birth control method. Birth control, sometimes called contraception, is not always about preventing pregnancy. Some people with a uterus use birth control to lessen their period cramps, clear up their skin, or make their periods more regular. But, no matter what someone is using it for, there are many different methods of birth control and each one is different to suit different people! Saturday, September 26, is World Contraception Day -- a great opportunity to learn about all of the options available! And remember, even though all of these methods except condoms are for people with a uterus, it is still important for everyone to know about different birth control options so they can talk to their friends or partners.

Long Term Birth Control Methods

Long term birth control methods last for years but can be removed at any time if someone changes their mind. These methods work the best and are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. There are two types of long-term birth control methods, IUDS and the Implant. The IUD is inserted into the uterus by a doctor or health care provider in order to prevent sperm from making it to the egg. There are two types of IUDs, some have hormones and one (paraguard) without hormones. IUDS can last for 3-12 years depending on which one is used. IUDs with progestin (hormones) also help to lighten periods or even stop them. One thing all IUDs have in common is that they don’t protect against STDs. You need to use a condom with an IUD to prevent pregnancy and STDs.

The implant is small plastic rod that is inserted in the upper arm by a clinician. The implant can last up to three years. Like IUDs, the implant does NOT protect against STDs. You can use condoms with an implant to protect against pregnancy and STDs.

Hormonal Birth Control
There are four types of hormonal birth control methods -- the Pill, the ring, the shot, and the patch. They are called hormonal methods because they prevent pregnancy with hormones that are released in the body.

  • The Pill, which is also called oral contraception because it is taken by mouth, is effective if taken every day.
  • The Ring is a plastic ring that is worn in the vagina and must be replaced every month. It’s sometimes called the NuvaRing.
  • The Shot, also known as the “Depo shot,” is a shot you get four times a year.
  • The Patch is worn on the skin and looks like a Band-Aid. It works for one week. The patch is changed every week except the fourth because that’s when someone gets their period.

All these birth control methods are between 92%-99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Hormonal birth control can be used to make periods regular and make cramps less painful. These methods can cause irregular bleeding or spotting in some people, but if that happens it will disappear over time. All are good at preventing pregnancy, but they do NOT protect someone against STDs. They should be used with a condom to prevent both pregnancy and STDs!

Barrier Methods

Condoms are a type of birth control called barrier methods. There are two types of condoms, one that goes over the penis and the other that goes inside the body and can be used by females or males. Both condoms are known as barrier methods because they block sperm from entering the body, coming into contact with an egg to cause a pregnancy. But that is not the only thing condoms do, they also are a barrier to help protect you from getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)! The difference between the external (or male) and internal (or female) condom is that the external condom is put on externally over the penis while the internal condom is inserted internally into the vagina or anus. You can get FREE condoms through TeenSource!

Find a Clinic to Get the Right Method for YOU!

No matter what method you or your partner choose, California teens can get FREE + CONFIDENTIAL birth control care at a clinic near you! Many clinics are now fully operational with safety measures in place, and are taking appointments for in-person visits. Some people might not want to go to a clinic right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic but there are options available for getting care remotely, without having to go to a clinic. Call a clinic near you to find out what options they have that fit your needs.