The Complete Guide To Birth Control

Abstinence: There are lots of different definitions, but to be 100% safe from STDs, it means avoiding all sexual activities, including oral sex and mutual masturbation (solo masturbation is okay).
Effectiveness: If you keep away from ALL sexual activities, this is 100% effective… not to mention the only completely effective way to protect against pregnancy and STDs.

 

Condom: A condom is a thin latex or plastic (or if you’re allergic, animal skin) barrier that fits over the penis like a glove, preventing sperm from entering the vagina during sex.
Effectiveness: 85% with typical use, 98% with perfect use (meaning no breaking or handling incorrectly).

 

 

The Pill: A combination of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) taken daily, which prevent ovulation and/or thicken the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg (depending on which type of pill). There are several different pills available.
Effectiveness: 92% against pregnancy with typical use. 99% against pregnancy with perfect use (meaning you take it correctly: at the same time every day). In order to protect against STDs, you’ll need to use a condom.

 

 

The Shot: Called depo, this shot is administered by your doctor and is effective for three months at a time. It stops the ovaries from producing eggs so you don’t get a regular period.
Effectiveness: 97% against pregnancy with typical use, Over 99% with perfect use. In order to protect against STDs, you’ll need to use a condom.

 

 

The Patch: A thin plastic patch that sticks on your skin like a sticker. Your skin absorbs hormones through the patch similar to those in the pill. You change it once a week.
Effectiveness: 99% against pregnancy with perfect use. Effectiveness with typical use is not yet known. In order to protect against STDs, you’ll need to use a condom.

 

 

The Nuva Ring: A contraceptive ring that is inserted into the vagina once a month. The ring stays in for three weeks; when removed, your period occurs. Each month you use a new ring. It stays within the walls of the vagina by itself and cannot get lost inside of you, nor will it fall out.
Effectiveness: 99.7% against pregnancy with perfect use. Effectiveness with typical use is not yet known. In order to protect against STDs, you’ll need to use a condom.

 

 

Female Condom: A thin plastic pouch that keeps sperm from entering the vagina. The closed end is inserted into the vagina, while the open end remains outside of the body.
Effectiveness: 79% with typical use, 95% with perfect use.

 

 

Spermicide: A cream, jelly, foam or suppositories that gets inserted into the vagina right before intercourse; it forms a barrier to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus.
Effectiveness: 71% against pregnancy with typical use. 85% against pregnancy with perfect use. In order to protect against STDs, you’ll need to use a condom.

 

Cervical Cap: A thimble-size cup filled with spermicide that goes into the vagina and covers the cervix. After sex, it should be left in place for about 8 hours before being removed.
Effectiveness: 86% against pregnancy with typical use for women who have never given birth. 91% against pregnancy with perfect use. In order to protect against STDs, you’ll need to use a condom.

 

The Sponge: It’s round and soft, about 2 inches wide, and filled with spermicide, and is inserted into the vagina before having sex; then removed like a tampon.
Effectiveness: 84% against pregnancy with typical use, 91% with perfect use. In order to protect against STDs, you’ll need to use a condom.

 

Diaphragm: A soft rubber dome with a flexible rim that goes into the vagina along with spermicide.
Effectiveness: 84% against pregnancy with typical use, 94% with perfect use. In order to protect against STDs, you’ll need to use a condom.

 

 

Sterilization: A surgical procedure that permanently prevents reproductive organs from working so that there is no chance of pregnancy. This is mostly used by adults who don’t want to ever have children.
Effectiveness: 99.5-99.9% against pregnancy. In order to protect against STDs, you’ll need to use a condom.

 

 

IUD: An Intrauterine Device is a small T-shaped plastic device that contains either copper or hormones and thickens the lining of the uterus, which makes it more difficult for a sperm to reach the egg. This is usually not used for teens.
Effectiveness: 99% against pregnancy with perfect use, 95% with typical. In order to protect against STDs, you’ll need to use a condom.

 

 

Calendar Method: Estimates the time of ovulation by tracking natural fertility patterns, and provides couples with a span of days in which to avoid sexual intercourse. This is another method that is not safe or recommended.
Effectiveness: 85% against pregnancy with typical use. In order to protect against STDs, you’ll need to use a condom.


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