Birth control

While abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy as a teen, it is not realistic to expect every teen to practice it. So, because teens choose to have sex, despite the risks, or readiness, knowing what your options are to protect against unplanned pregnancy are is important. The rate of unplanned teen pregnancies is high, so if knowing your options can help you to avoid becoming one of these statistics.

The following are the options for birth control:

Birth Control Patch: This is a patch you wear as a girl that releases hormones through the skin into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. It costs about $30 a month, and like most hormonal birth controls is it 99% effective if used properly.

Birth Control Pill: This is a daily pill that contains hormones that influence the way your body acts, and thus prevents pregnancy. It costs about $25 a month, and is 99% effective if taken every day.

Birth Control Ring: This option involves a soft, flexible, doughnut-shaped ring that is inserted into the vagina and releases hormones through the vaginal wall into the bloodstream, preventing pregnancy by controlling g the ovaries and uterus. It costs about $45 a month, and is similarly effective as a pill or patch if used properly.

Birth Control Shot: This is a shot of long acting progesterone that is injected in the arm or butt and prevents ovulation so that you can’t get pregnant. Again it is 99% effective, lasts about 3 months, and costs about $60 each shot.

Cervical Cap: This is a device that acts as a barrier. The cervical cap keeps sperm from entering the uterus by covering the cervix. This is not a great option for teens as it can be hard to place, a diaphragm is a better option. The cap costs $70 and can be used for a year.

Condom: This is a latex barrier worn over the penis and prevents sperm from entering the uterus. The cost is less than $1 each and in some cases you can get them for free. They are, however, only about 80% effective.

Diaphragm: This is a dome shaped bowl that is flexible and rubber that sits over the cervix and acts as a barrier. It costs about $40 and is about 84% effective.

Emergency Contraception (Morning-After Pill): This is a hormone pill that releases high amounts of progesterone and estrogen into the blood to prevent pregnancy.

IUD: This is a more permnant birth control, it is a device placed in the uterus that releases hormones, it can be left in place up to five years, and is not usually used for teens. The cost depends on your insurance, but without insurance is about $300-$500.

Withdrawal: This is a technique also called “pulling out” it simply means the male does not ejaculate inside the female, but pulls out before ejaculation. This is only effective if it happens, and then only 80% or so.

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