If you want to make a difference and help others while learning about sexual health and keeping yourself safe, then you need to join SMART Youth! You can come to any of our events around the city or come to one of our movie nights or Open Mic events. Check out our schedule to learn what we are doing or e-mail

Sunday, November 11, 2012

SMART Youth Answers: I'll take the sex without the baby, please.

How can I make sure I don't get pregnant (besides using a condom)?

This is one of those very rare cases where you CAN have your Cake and EAT it too!

I am obligated to say (because it is true) not having sex is the 100% sure way NOT to get pregnant (or contract and STI or HIV).
That is not what I'm here for though, so let's get to your options!
Keep in mind though, any birth control option is best used in CONJUNCTION with condoms.
It's like having a harness and a safety net, or a jet-pack and a parachute, or emailing your essay to yourself and having it on a flash drive--- you get the picture.
All of these birth control methods DO NOT protect against STI's or HIV. 

Here are some birth control measures on their own:

(No Hormones, Use Spermicide, Vaginal Insertion Methods/ Covers Cervix and "Before the Act")

Cervical Cap (FemCap): The name almost says it all. This silicone cup is used in conjunction with spermicide. Before engaging in intercourse you are to insert this cap into the vagina and make sure it is positioned over your cervix. The cap has to stay in place for up to 6 hours after intercourse and should NOT stay in place for more than 48 hours. It can last for up to two years.

Considering a Cap? Check here: FemCap

Birth Control Sponge: The sponge is a... sponge that can be placed into the vagina (over the cervix and with spermicide) for up to 24 hours before intercourse. It must be left in place for up to 6 hours after intercourse. The sponge should NOT be worn for more than 30 hours in a row.

Think a sponge is more up your alley? Here's more info: The Sponge

Diaphragm: Here's a form of birth control that is very unique to you. A diaphragm is a shallow, silicone cup. For diaphragm's you have to be "fitted" for one. They are available in many sizes and designs and your size may change after: pregnancy, miscarriage/abortion, abdominal or pelvic surgery, or a change in weight. Again, a diaphragm is placed into the vagina in order cover the cervix (passageway to uterus) along with spermicide. It is inserted before intercourse and must stay in place for up to 6 hours after intercourse. Do NOT leave a diaphragm in for more than 24 hours. It can last for up to two years.

Maybe you want a Diaphragm? Here's more info: Diaphragm

Main Point: If you are not forgetful, and can pull yourself away from a passionate moment to insert one of these forms of birth-control, then this might be for you. There are no hormones, no regimens, just insert, use spermicide, and then you're protected from pregnancy. With these forms of birth control, practice with insertion is key to making sure they are protecting you to the highest percentage.


Birth Control Pills: This is a daily pill that contains hormones. Most pills contain a combination of estrogen and progesterone to prevent ovulation (the releasing of an egg). These pills have to be taken at the same time each and every day in order to maintain it's effectiveness. 
The pill comes in different packs, 21 or 28. The 21 pack has a set of hormonal pills for 21 days then the woman has her period and starts again after menstruation is complete. With the 28 pack there are 21 hormonal pills, then the last are non-hormonal pills that the woman will take during her period. This is to keep in the habit of taking a pill each day. 
There are some varieties of pills that give more hormonal pills 
and then after 3 months menstruation can occur. It depends on the woman's preference.

For more information on Birth Control Pills check out this link: Birth Control Pills

Main Point: The pill is NOT for the forgetful! You really need a routine with this form of birth control.

The Patch: The is a sticky, beige, square that sticks to the skin. Once placed on the skin (abdomen, butt, underarm, or upper torso--- besides breasts) it releases the hormones estrogen and progestin (same as the pill). The patch is changed every week, and then a patch free week allows menstruation. A new patch should be placed on the same day each week in order to maintain effectiveness.

For more information check these links: Birth Control Patch, Planned Parenthood on the Birth Control Patch

Main Point: Only one a week but still must have a routine. While it works for most activities and sports there could be an added stress on whether or not it will stay on, since it is adhering to your body.    

Nuva Ring: The Nuva Ring contains estrogen and progestin--- like the pill. It administers these hormones into once being inserted into the vagina. This is a month long birth control method. The ring releases the hormones for up to three weeks, then the woman takes out the ring, menstruates, and inserts a new ring the same day the previous ring was inserted (even if her period hasn't ended).
Nuva Ring has the same concept of  the pill, and is most effective if you have a routine.

For more information check out the Nuva Ring site:  Nuva Ring

Main Point: If you hate pills, are semi-regular with routines (that you can remember when you inserted a ring into your vagina), then this might be a birth control method for you. 

Depo-Provera Shot: This birth control shot releases the hormone progestin. The hormone prevents eggs from leaving the ovaries, and makes the cervical mucous thicker which prevents sperm from getting to the eggs.
The shot prevents pregnancy for three months.
Now if you're not worried about needles, this may be the birth control for you, but let me give you fair warning--- my doctor informed me that woman who use Depo-Provera as birth control, on average gain around thirty pounds (give or take).

For more information check out this link: The Birth Control Shot

Main Point: No pills to take, no rings to change, just a shot every three months. There is inevitable weight gain though.


Birth Control Implant (Implanon & Nexplanon):  The birth control implant is a tiny rod that is inserted in the arm to prevent pregnancy. It releases progestin in order to prevent pregnancy. This form of birth control lasts for up to three years.

For more information on the Implant, check here: Birth Control Implant

Hormonal IUD (Mirena): An IUD is an Inter-Uterine Device. This device releases small amounts of levonorgestrel intra-uterine. The device is a small, T-shaped, plastic piece that is placed on the uterine wall. The hormonal IUD can protect against pregnancy for up to 5 years.

For more on Mirena, check here: Mirena

Non-Hormonal (Copper) IUD (Paragard): This IUD and form of birth control is the only non-hormonal long-term one you'll find around. It is a T-Shaped device that is made of copper that actually protects against pregnancy. It has been shown in studies that copper interacts with sperm in a way that confuses and weakens them, disabling them from fertilizing an egg in the uterus. This is placed the same way as the hormonal IUD (past the cervix and onto the uterine wall) but since it is non-hormonal it can actually last for up to 10 years!

For more on Paragard, check here: Paragard

Main Point: If you are looking for long term birth-control without a daily or monthly method (out of sight, out of mind) then the implantation birth control may be right for you! Just remember, it is a minor surgical procedure. While will not have to be on pain killers, or numb for the procedure, something is still going into your body, so be prepared.
I will post a blog on "What It's Like Getting an IUD" if anyone is considering this form of birth control.
So check back for updates!

Good luck with you Birth Control Method hunting!
I hope this helps you pick the right one for your way of life!

No comments: