Before racing out to buy condoms and or other forms of birth control; there are a few things you should know.
Becoming aware of birth control:
What is the first thing you think of when someone says birth control? Is it the Pill? Or condoms? Or the Patch?
Birth control refers to any method used to prevent pregnancy. You may have also heard the word contraception, which includes many types of birth control.
If you think this topic does not apply to you, it does! Anyone who is thinking of being sexually active needs to know how to be safe, how to prevent unplanned pregnancy, and what the best option or options are for you.
Who can you talk to about Birth Control?
It is 100% normal to ask questions about birth control, although it may feel awkward for some people. It is important for both you and your partner to be informed to best protect yourselves from sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and emotional abuse. The whole birth control and condom conversation can feel very awkward but telling your parents that you are pregnant or have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) will be far worse.
Try speaking to a parent, caregiver, doctor, school nurse, counsellors, pharmacist, or someone at the health clinic. Remember Healthcare providers are there to help you reach your health goals so ask them anything.
What to ask?
This does not have to be a difficult conversation but here are some questions that might help prepare you and others.
- Have I done enough research?
- Do I want to prevent an unplanned pregnancy? Did you know that 61% of all pregnancies are unplanned? So, it can happen to you!
- Am I aware of the risk of unprotected sex for unplanned pregnancy and STIs?
- Am I aware of possible STIs and how to prevent them?
- What birth control is right for me?
- What do most people my age use for birth control?
- How effective is it?
- Are there any side effects?
- Does it work immediately (depending on what kind) or do I have to wait a while? What can I do to prevent unplanned pregnancy in the meantime?
- Where do I get it?
- How much does it cost?
- Do I need my parents’ consent?
- Do I feel confident about using birth control correctly?
Several types of Birth Control:
It may feel overwhelming with so many different birth control methods, but doing your research so you can understand the pros and cons of each one will help you to make your best decision to keep you safe and allow you to be comfortable. Start with this chart below as an example of possible methods of birth control that might be available to you.
Many of these methods are believed to be at least 95% effective when used properly, however their practical effectiveness is lower as people do not always use them properly.
What Is Abstinence?
Abstinence is choosing not to have intimate genital contact.
How Does Abstinence Work?
If two people don’t have sex, sperm can’t fertilize an egg and there’s no possibility of pregnancy.
Abstinence is a form of birth control and believed to be the most affective against pregnancy and STI’s.
Where do I find birth control?
You can find birth control at local pharmacies, supermarkets, and many convenience stores, depending on the types you are looking for. If you are nervous about purchasing birth control in a public store, go to your local community health clinic, sexual health clinic (see link below), talk to your doctor, or your local nurse as they often have free samples and offer you some privacy. Plus, talking to your doctor or a local nurse can provide you with detailed information on all forms of birth control methods so you can make the most informed choice.
Note: If looking for condoms, contact the FASD Network in your area, most of them will have free condoms to give away.