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Choosing a Birth Control or Contraceptive Method


When choosing a birth control or contraceptive method, there are many things to consider. Every person should become familiar with the various methods available, weigh the benefits, drawbacks, effectiveness, risks factors, health issues and lifestyle needs in order to find a method which will best meet her needs.

Many people think that pregnancy is not something that happens easily. They think that the risk is low that they could become pregnant if they have unprotected sex or do not use birth control. Nothing could be further from the truth; the risk is actually very high!
If you are a teen and have unprotected sex, you have an 90% chance of getting pregnant within one year.

(Harlap S, Kost K and Forrest JD, Preventing Pregnancy, Protecting Health: A New Look at Birth Control Choices in the United States, New York: AGI, 1991, Figure 5.4, p. 36.)

The more successful you are in finding a method which is a good fit with your needs and lifestyle, the more success and satisfaction you will have with your method.

Motivation and commitment are very important if you want to be successful with your method. You also need to have patience and awareness. You need to understand how your method works, how to use it properly and if there are health risks. In addition, you will need to take responsibility for your health, and to follow through with necessary appointments when they are needed.

All the methods have benefits and drawbacks. Some methods are highly effective in preventing pregnancy when used properly, such as the Pill. Although the pill offers superior protection from unplanned pregnancy, it will not protect you from Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

Here are a number of issues or factors to consider when choosing a contraceptive or birth control method. Again the more successful you are in finding a method which is a good fit with your needs and lifestyle, the more success and satisfaction you will have with your method.
  • Your health
  • Your knowledge of the method
  • Your attitude: positive or negative, confident or fearful
  • Your comfort with your body and sexuality
  • Your level of commitment to use it properly and consistently
  • The cooperation of your partner
  • Your willingness to get help from professionals when you need it
  • Recognizing and taking responsibility for the barriers to using your method effectively and consistently
  • Understanding the effect of drugs or alcohol on your ability to use a condoms and other methods
  • Recognizing when a method simply is not working for you and you need to choose another
  • Recognizing and preparing for changes in your life and your lifestyle which could affect your satisfaction with your method or effectiveness of the method. Lifestyle changes such as:
    • a divorce, a relationship change or a new partner
    • a move to a new home
    • starting a new job
    • a crisis such as a sick family member
    • changing schedules: work or school
    • a death in the family
    • after the birth of a child
    • when breast feedng a child

Links

We have listed some links to information on the various birth control methods which are discussed and rated according to effectiveness in preventing unplanned pregnancy and disease. There are many links to family planning and birth control information on the Web. We have listed only a few which we hope you will find helpful. Check out the Resources and Links section on this Web Site and theReproductive Health section in particular.

Birth Control Information

Birth Control- Helpful Guides and Useage

Reproductive Health/Birthcontrol

Birth Control
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals
A Birth Control Interactive-an excellent quiz which helps you explore what methods might be best for you.
*Spanish version also great!!!

Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)

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