Guidelines that can help prevent pregnancy and protect your reproductive well-being


Woman talking with a doctor
The decisions you make about birth control can affect your reproductive health—and your partner’s.

Here are guidelines that can help prevent pregnancy and protect your reproductive well-being.


Abstain

The only 100 percent safe and effective way to avoid unwanted pregnancy is not to engage in heterosexual intercourse.

Limit sexual activity to outercourse or oral sex

You can engage in many sexual activities—kissing, hugging, touching, massage, oral-genital sex—without risking pregnancy.

Talk about birth control with any potential sex partner

If you are considering sexual intimacy with a person, you should feel comfortable enough to talk about contraception.

Know what doesn’t work—and don’t rely on it.

There are many misconceptions about ways to avoid getting pregnant, such as having sex in a standing position or during menstruation. Only the methods described in this blog post are reliable forms of birth control.

Talk with a healthcare professional

Great deal information and advice is available—in writing, from family planning counselors, from physicians on the Internet. Check it out.

Choose a contraceptive method that matches your personal habits and preferences.

If you can’t remember to take a pill every day, oral contraceptives aren’t for you. If you’re constantly forgetting where you put things, a diaphragm might not be a good choice.

Consider long-term implications

Since you may well wish to have children in the future, find out about the reversibility of various methods and possible effects on future fertility.

Resist having sex without contraceptive protection “just this once”

It only takes once—even the very first time—to get pregnant.
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