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Birth Control for Teens - Your Choices

Some birth control methods work around the clock. Others work only when you use them, which means it's so very important to use them every time you have sex.

Birth control methods

  • Abstinence. Not having sex (abstinence) is the most effective method of birth control and sexually transmitted infection (STI) protection.
  • Barrier methodsBarrier methods. The diaphragm, the cap, and male or female condoms are examples of barrier methods. They block the sperm from fertilizing an egg. You use one each time you have sex. Using a condom is the only barrier method that helps protect against STIs.
  • The pill, the patch, and the vaginal ring. These methods have hormones that stop you from releasing an egg each month (ovulation). You can choose to take a pill at the same time every day, change a patch every week, or change a ring every 3 weeks. These methods do not protect against STIs.
  • The shot. The shot contains hormones that prevent pregnancy for 3 months. You see your doctor every 3 months for the shot. The shot does not protect against STIs.
  • The implant. The implant, which is about the size of a matchstick, is put under the skin on the inside of your upper arm. It releases hormones that prevent pregnancy for about 3 years. The implant does not protect against STIs.
  • Intrauterine device (IUD)Intrauterine device (IUD). The IUD is a small device that is inserted into the uterus by your doctor. There are two hormone IUDs-one works for 5 years, and the other works for 3 years. A copper IUD works for 10 years. IUDs do not protect against STIs.

If you want to stop using the hormone implant or the IUD, you can have your doctor remove it. You can become pregnant after it's removed.

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception (EC) is what you use if you've had sex without birth control you can count on. You may know it as "the morning-after pill." In the first 5 days after sex, you can take a special type and dose of hormone pills. Or you could have an IUD put in right away to prevent pregnancy.

EC is most likely to prevent pregnancy during the first 3 days after sex. If you have unprotected sex, use EC as soon as possible-if you ovulate after sex, but before using EC, the EC will not stop a pregnancy.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: /2, 14 1
    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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