Birth Control - Teens and Birth Control
Some teenage girls are worried
about visiting a health professional for birth control.
- Don't be shy about protecting yourself from sexually
transmitted diseases by having a condom on hand and asking your partner to use
it. Or you can use a female condom.
- If you are concerned about
pelvic exam or keeping your health information
private, talk to your health professional or a family planning clinic
- If you have not been sexually active before now, a
pelvic exam is not necessary.
- If you have been sexually active,
it's very important that you are screened for STDs every year. Some STDs can be
screened for with a urine test.
emergency contraception on hand or know how to get it
if a condom breaks.
Before choosing and using a birth control method, be
honest with yourself. If it failed and you started a pregnancy, what would you
do? Are you ready to raise a child? Is an abortion an acceptable option for
you? Answering these questions can help you know how committed you are to
preventing a pregnancy. For most sexually active teens, it is worth it to use
the most effective birth control methods possible.
When choosing a
birth control method, also consider protecting yourself against sexually
transmitted diseases. Condoms give the most effective STD protection for both partners, no matter what other birth control method
you are using. Some studies suggest that
female condoms are as effective as male condoms in
preventing STDs.1 But as birth control, condoms
used alone are not highly dependable.
Birth control methods for teenagers
- Not having sex is the most effective
method of birth control and STD prevention.
- Condoms are more likely to prevent
pregnancy if you use them with a spermicide or another birth control method. If
the condom breaks, you will need to use
- Male condoms are
inexpensive and easy to get without a prescription.
- Male condoms
give teen boys control over their STD risks and lower the risk of becoming a
- Female condoms cost more than male condoms and can be
difficult to use properly.
diaphragm, cervical cap, or cervical shield with a spermicidal cream, foam, or jelly
can be difficult to use without first learning how from your health
Hormonal pill, skin patch, or vaginal ring
- These are the most popular methods used
by teenage girls.
- You must remember to take a pill every day at about the same time.
- Talk to your
health professional about any side effects. Another type of hormonal birth
control may be better for you if side effects are a problem.
- After stopping birth control pills (at the end of a full
pack), you can become pregnant in the next month.
patch is changed every week, which you may prefer to
taking a pill each day.
vaginal ring is a foldable, flexible ring of plastic that stays in the vagina
for 3 consecutive weeks.
- Using a condom with these methods will help
lower the risk of getting an STD.
- The hormonal implant is an extremely
effective method of birth control. The implant, which is about the size of a
matchstick, is inserted under the skin on the inside of your upper arm. This
releases hormones that prevent pregnancy for about 3 years.
method is convenient and does not require use every day or with each act of
- With this method, you only need a new implant every 3
- This method doesn't protect you from sexually transmitted
- The most common side effect is irregular bleeding.
Menstrual cycles also become shorter or stop completely.
Birth control shot
- This method is convenient and does not
require use every day or with each act of intercourse.
- This method
requires that you see your health professional every 3 months.
effects of weight gain and irregular bleeding may be
- The shot causes mild bone thinning when it is used
for 2 or more years. This is of special concern during the teen years, when
young women are normally building bone strength. Be sure to get enough daily
calcium and weight-bearing exercise. And discuss with your health professional your bone health and birth
control options after 2 years of using the shot.
Intrauterine device (IUD)
can be used by women under 20.
- There are side effects that you should discuss
with your health professional.
- Starting an IUD isn't an option for
a woman who has a pelvic infection or a sexually transmitted disease. Inserting
an IUD can carry infection up into the uterus, leading to
pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
This is not recommended, especially
for teenagers, because it:
- Often leads to pregnancy, even with
careful planning and not having sex on fertile days.
protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.