Choosing contraception as a teen can be a critical choice. You need a birth control method that is safe, reliable and easy to use properly every time. The right method works well with your body, keeps you safe from pregnancy and reduces your risk of sexually transmitted diseases. As a teen, you may want to use more than one method of birth control.
Three basic types of birth control are available–barrier methods, hormonal options and chemical spermicides. Barrier methods include condoms, the female condom, diaphragms and cervical caps. Hormonal contraceptives rely upon progesterone or a combination of estrogen and progesterone to prevent pregnancy. Delivery varies, but can be via a daily birth control pill, a shot, a patch or a vaginal ring. Chemical birth control options are spermicidal gels, foams or films.
Hormonal contraceptives are the most effective way for a teen to prevent pregnancy. If you don’t feel comfortable remembering to take a daily pill, the birth control patch or ring require less daily care, and the progesterone-only birth control shot requires none at all. While many barrier and chemical methods have a relatively high failure rate, with perfect use, Planned Parenthood reports that condoms are as much as 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.
Hormonal birth control does require a visit to your family doctor, gynecologist or family planning clinic. In some cases, your health insurance may pay the costs, or lower-cost pills may be available. Condoms can be purchased at drug, discount and even convenience stores. Many health clinics even offer free condoms, so there is no excuse not to use birth control.
Condoms offer reliable contraception with no side effects at all. Some people are sensitive to latex or the lubricant on condoms; however, polyurethane condoms offer an effective alternative in this situation. According to Planned Parenthood, hormonal birth control may cause nausea, weight gain and mood swings, as well as lighter and more regular periods. If you are at high risk for blood clots or strokes, you should not take combination birth control pills–just progesterone-only contraceptives.
Combining a hormonal contraceptive and a condom every time you have sex will do more than just prevent pregnancy. This combination makes both partners responsible for contraception and provides critical protection against many sexually transmitted diseases. Together, a condom and a hormonal contraceptive provide remarkably reliable birth control, allowing you to relax and enjoy your sexuality.