What Types of Birth Control Are Effective for Teens? Find out!

Birth Control for Teens
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Talk with your doctor about birth control. Your doctor can answer questions about safe and effective methods, side effects, and costs. Here are some forms of birth control (all types for females; condoms for males) from most effective to least effective at preventing pregnancy.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

IUDs are small T-shaped devices placed inside the uterus by a doctor. They are highly effective at preventing pregnancy and may also be prescribed to help decrease menstrual bleeding and pain. The copper IUD contains a small amount of natural copper and prevents pregnancies for up to 10 years. There are 2 levonorgestrel IUDs, both of which contain a hormone and prevent pregnancy for 3 to 5 years depending on which one is used. Intrauterine devices, when used as prescribed, are about 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Contraceptive implant

A contraceptive implant is a tiny flexible rod that a doctor puts under your skin in your upper arm. It slowly releases a hormone that prevents pregnancy for 3 years. A contraceptive implant, when used as prescribed, is about 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Contraceptive injection

Depo-Provera is a shot given every 3 months. It's effective, and you don't have to remember to take a daily pill. The contraceptive injection, when used as prescribed, is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, when used typically (eg, women may occasionally forget to get a shot precisely on time), it is 94% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Birth control pills, patch, and ring

"The pill," the birth control patch, and the ring all contain 2 hormones, an estrogen, and a progestin.

Birth control pill: You take one pill each day. Birth control pills, when used as prescribed, are about 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, when used typically (eg, women may occasionally forget to take a pill), they are 91% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Birth control patch

The birth control patch is an adhesive patch that is placed on the skin. You wear the patch 3 weeks, remove the patch for 1 week, put on a new patch at the end of the fourth week, and repeat these steps. The birth control patch, when used as prescribed, is about 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, when used typically (eg, women may occasionally forget to replace the patch on time), it is 91% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Birth control ring

You insert the birth control ring in your vagina, it stays in for 3 weeks, you remove it for 1 week, and you put in a new one at the end of the week. The birth control ring, when used as prescribed, is about 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, when used typically (eg, women may occasionally forget to put in a new birth control ring on time), it is 91% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Condoms

Male condoms used the right way have about a 98% chance of preventing pregnancy, and female condoms have a 95% chance, but they must be used each time you have sex and used correctly. When they are not used correctly, male condoms may only have an 82% chance of preventing pregnancy, while female condoms may only be effective 79% of the time.

What Are Other Types of Birth Control?


The following types of birth control are less common and not as effective at preventing pregnancy:

Withdrawal

The male "pulls out" before he ejaculates or "cums." It does not prevent pregnancy or STIs. Even a small amount of sperm can lead to pregnancy or an STI.

The "rhythm method"

You avoid having sex during certain times of your monthly cycle. Because teens tend to have more irregular periods, this method is less effective at preventing pregnancy.

Spermicides

These are creams and foams used during sex to kill sperm. They may add protection to other methods but are not effective when used alone.

What Is Emergency Contraception?


Emergency contraception (EC) is a form of birth control that you use after you have unprotected sex. Unprotected sex includes not using birth control, condoms breaking during sex, or forgetting to take birth control pills.

Emergency contraception can be taken up to 5 days after sex but is most effective when taken as soon as possible after sex.

You can buy EC pills over the counter and no longer need to show proof of age. The types of EC pills available over the counter are levonorgestrel at 1.5 mg (eg, Plan B One-Step or Next Choice One Dose).

Another type of EC pill is ulipristal acetate 30 mg (eg, Ella), which you can only get with a prescription.

A doctor can also put in a copper IUD that will provide both EC and regular birth control.

Remember:
If you decide to have sex, it's important that you know the facts about birth control, infections, and emotions. Decisions of when to become sexually active, how to protect yourself from STIs, and how to prevent pregnancy are yours. These are important decisions and are worth talking about with adults who care about you, including your doctor.
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