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Birth Control and Contraception

Knowing how to prevent pregnancy is an important responsibility both males and females should have before making the decision to have sex. The page below outlines birth control methods that should be discussed between two people in order to prevent pregnancy and possibly sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Many types of birth control exists. There are two primary categories of birth control. 

Hormonal birth control release hormones inside your body to prevent ovulation (the release of eggs from the ovaries), thicken the mucus on the cervix (to prevent the sperm from getting to the egg) or shed the lining of the uterus (so that fertilized egg does not get implanted).  Hormonal birth control may come in the form of birth control pills, injections, implants, intra-uterine devices (IUDs), hormonal rings or permanent sterilization.

Non-hormonal methods serve as temporary barriers that keep sperm from entering the vagina.  Examples of non-hormonal methods include male condoms, female condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms, and non-hormonal intra-uterine devices.

The only method of preventing pregnancy that is considered 100% effective is to abstain from sex. No matter what way, with who or when you have sex, there will some risk of pregnancy.

The decision to have sex is an important one. Read here to determine what things you should consider before making the decision.

Some people think the above two methods serve as effective methods when birth control is not available.  This is not the case and neither are recommended due to the risk of fluid exchange that occurs with both activities.  During the “pull out” method, a male may pull out after the pre-ejaculate which contains sperm is already in the vagina.  During outercourse, a partner may climax and ejaculate in the open, which can still enter the vagina.

Not everyone uses the same type of birth control.  The different birth controls method in price, convenience and comfort.  What works for you may not meet the needs of the person next to you. Choosing a birth control method is a decision you alone should make based on what you know about your body and your level of comfort.

When you are ready to have sex or if you are already sexually active, it is best to talk to your provider about what options may be right for you.  Your provider will have an honest and non-judgmental conversation about what you should consider when making this decision. 

What questions do I ask?

  • I’m interested in learning about birth control. Can we talk about my options?
  • How do I figure out the best choice for me?
  • How soon after starting <birth control>, will it be effective?
  • What are the side effects of <birth control>? 
  • Will my insurance cover <birth control>?