CONTRACEPTIVES

Let’s talk about what works and what doesn’t. We are finding unplanned pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases on the rise. Make sure you know the facts about what is really “protecting” you. Read on for more information about comparing the effectiveness of birth control methods.
ABSTINENCE

Effectiveness

  • 100% effective in preventing an unplanned pregnancy and STDs. 
  • Nearly 60% of teens are choosing to delay sexual activity.  

Benefits

  • Respect for you, your body, and your future spouse
  • Free and available to anyone at any time regardless of age or gender 
  • Free from guilt and regret
  • Able to pursue goals and dreams as a result of choosing to voluntarily refrain from sexual activity
BIRTH CONTROL PILLS

Effectiveness

  • Must be taken by mouth everyday and at the same time each day.
  • There are varieties of birth control pills and have a typical use failure rate  of 7%.
  • Offers no protection against STDS. 

Side Effects

  • Acne 
  • Elevated blood pressure 
  • Headaches
  • Lighter periods
  • Mood changes 
  • Nausea
  • Sore or swollen breasts
  • Spotting
  • Weight gain
DEPO-Provera Shot

Effectiveness

  • The shot contains the hormone progestin and must be given every three months.
  • Each injection costs between $50-$95 plus the cost of the visit.
  • Offers no protection against STDs including HIV and has a failure rate of 4%.

Side Effects

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irregular periods
  • Nervousness
  • Weight gain 
Condom

Effectiveness

  • A latex (rubber) or polyurethane sheath that covers the penis trying to keep the semen and other fluids from entering the woman’s vagina.
  • 13% failure rate. Many STDs can still be transmitted even when wearing a condom during sex.

Side Effects

  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • STDs
  • Condom can break, leak, or tear

There are several other birth control methods, but these are the most common used among students today. Remember that, apart from abstinence, all birth control methods sometimes fail, resulting in unplanned pregnancy or STDs, even if used correctly and consistently. Abstinence among teens is more common than you think-half of all high school students have never had sex and nearly 60% of teens are choosing to delay sex.

What is Plan B One-Step?

(Morning After Pill)

Plan B One-Step is an emergency contraceptive. Foremost, it is important to understand what happens inside a womens body when a pregnancy begins. The scientific reality is that the moment the sperm and the egg unite in the fallopian tube and fertilization occurs, the genetic make-up of a baby is established, including the hair, eye color, and gender. It takes this new life approximately five to seven days to reach the uterus where it will implant in the plush lining and continue to grow and develop. All forms of emergency contraception have the potential to alter the uterine lining enough to prevent the new life from implanting. This is not a contraceptive effect, but abortifacient, causing an early abortion.

Plan B One-Step is intended to prevent pregnancy after known or suspected contraceptive failure, unprotected sex, or forced sex. It contains large amounts of levonorgestrel, a progestin hormone found in some birth control pills. It may work by preventing the egg and sperm from meeting by delaying ovulation. It will not disrupt an implanted pregnancy, but prevent a newly formed life from implanting in the uterus. Plan B One-Step consists of one pill taken within 72 hours of sex. As stated by the CDC, emergency contraception is not a regular method of birth control. 

There is evidence that Plan B One-Step use may increase the risk for ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, a potentially life-threatening condition. Women who have severe abdominal pain should get immediate medical help. It is reported that Plan B One-Step has a failure rate of 12% with an estimated cost of $49.99. There are no long-term studies on the safety of Plan B One-Step in women under 17, after repeated uses or effects on future fertility. Side effects may include changes in period, nausea, lower abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, and dizziness. 

 

Adapted from CDC, Plan B, Journal Ethics and Medicine

Myths

There are a whole lot of myths out there regarding sex and birth control. We want to share a few with you that we hear a lot. The following do not work at all in preventing pregnancy or STDs. So if you hear them, don’t believe them.

PEEING AFTER SEX

This is a complete myth! We realize that some students don’t understand the anatomy of the female body. The urethra and the vaginal opening are two different areas. Urinating after sex does not prevent pregnancy and STDs because the urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body rather than the vaginal opening. Therefore, urinating will not flush sperm out of the vagina.

PULLING OUT EARLY

It is highly possible to still get pregnant or contract an STI even if a guy “pulls out” of his partner before ejaculation. Did you know? Pre-ejaculatory fluid is a natural lubricant that is discharged from a male during arousal and usually occurs before ejaculation. This fluid may contain sperm. The first few drops of semen could have the highest concentration of sperm. 

DOUCHING OR TAKING A BATH

Instead of thinking you are actually rinsing the sperm out, there is a great probability you are actually helping them swim upstream toward the egg. It also can increase the risk of infection.

HAVING SEX DURING YOUR PERIOD

Just because you see blood doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. Some women bleed during ovulation. It’s also hard to predict or know when you are actually ovulating. So all in all, it’s a bad idea.

Wondering if anything else you heard was not true?

Our questions page is your place to ask us anything anonymously.