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Birth Control for Teens - How to Decide

Choosing birth control is a very personal thing. First, think through some basic facts about your birth control options. Then, focus in on what's important to you. And then, think about who you are and what your style is.

How well does each birth control method protect me?

  • Some methods depend on you and how well you use them—every time. These include hormone pills or the hormone patch or ring. The same is true for the condom, sponge, diaphragm, or cap.
  • Some methods work very well for long periods of time without you having to do anything. These include the hormone implant or shot, and the IUD.
  • Only a condom protects you from STIs.
  • Abstinence depends on your commitment to not have sex. Not having vaginal intercourse prevents pregnancy. And not having oral sex, anal sex, or vaginal sex prevents STIs.

Is it easy to keep with me?

  • Some methods easily fit in your bag. These include hormone pills or a condom, sponge, diaphragm, or cap.
  • Some methods don't have to be carried around at all. These include the hormone shot or implant, the IUD, or the ring.

What do I think of as "easy to use"?

"Easy to use" birth control means different things to different people. What are you more comfortable with? You may want to try a method a few times. And then you may want to try some others.

  • You may have no trouble making sure you have a method with you whenever you need it. Or that may be too hard to keep track of.
  • It might be easy for you to put a sponge, cap, or ring into your vagina. Or that could be something you just won't do.
  • Using a method every time you have sex, without error, might be easy for you. Or it may be hard to get it right. If you ever use drugs or alcohol before having sex, this is important to think about.
  • "Easy" could mean you don't have to think about it, like the IUD or the implant. Or maybe you're looking for something you can easily switch off of so you can change to another method.

Can I stay on a schedule?

Are you good at remembering things? Or do you tend to lose track of things like your keys or what's on your calendar?

  • Can you take a daily pill or change a weekly patch? How about going to your doctor's office every 3 months for a shot?
  • Or do you need something that you hardly ever have to think about, like an IUD or a hormone implant?
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 22, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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