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There are some forms of birth control other than a pill. They include the copper Intrauterine device (IUD) effective for 10 years, a hormonal IUD effective for 3-7 years, and an arm implant (effective for 3 years). These methods of birth control can prevent unwanted pregnancy much better than other methods of birth control.
You may also consider the “Depo” or Depo-Provera shot that prevents pregnancy for 3 months. It is super effective when used perfectly, and safe.
The birth control ring (which requires a prescription) works a lot like the birth control pill, but does not require daily pill consumption. It is a jelly-like ring that you insert into your vagina 3 weeks at a time.
The birth control patch is a small sticker you adhere to your skin for 3 weeks at a time, and similarly to the vaginal ring, doesn’t require the work of taking a daily pill.
For more information, refer to Bedsider.org
When deciding on which type of birth control is best for you, consider:
Your age and health history: Some contraceptive options are not safe with certain health conditions.
Side effects: Everyone reacts differently to different types of contraceptives. The first type you choose (for example a specific brand of birth control pills) may not always be the best fit for your body. It may cause uncomfortable side effects at first. That’s ok and it’s common. It’s important to not give up and to be open to explore other options – there are many brands of birth control pills or alternative contraceptives, and your health provider can help you find a better one!
Whether they prevent sexually transmitted diseases: Most forms of hormonal contraceptives do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs & STIs). It is recommended to pair a condom with the use of a birth control pill (or other hormone contraceptive) for the best protection against both unwanted pregnancies and STDs/STIs.
The effectiveness of the birth control in preventing pregnancy: Most contraceptives are highly effective at preventing pregnancy only if used correctly as instructed. Consider whether your lifestyle allows you to use these methods to achieve the maximum effectiveness. (The effectiveness of each method is worked out by calculating how many women get pregnant if 100 women use the method for a year. For example, if a particular contraceptive method is 99% effective, 1 woman out of every 100 who uses it will get pregnant in a year.)
Bedsider has a tool to help you compare different contraceptive options.
You can also talk to an expert in sexual and reproductive health during Ask Her open hours to get your questions answered and consider the best option for you!
Yes! In Dallas there are many teen friendly clinics that will provide free or very low cost services to teenagers. These clinics are called Title X clinics. When you call the clinic to make an appointment, just let them know you aren’t going to be using insurance and you’ll need assistance covering the cost of your visit.
You can find a list of these clinics in your area that will provide free services here.
Yes! In Dallas there are many teen friendly clinics that will provide confidential services that no one besides you has to know about. This means they will not require you to have parental or adult permission to receive services. These clinics are called Title X clinics, and you can find a list of the ones in your area here.
Besides the copper IUD, non-hormonal forms of birth control include: “barrier” methods such as the male condom, internal female condoms, diaphragm (over-the-counter birth control spermicide sponge that you insert into your vagina before you have sex), spermicide creams, films, foams, gels, and suppositories; and fertility awareness or natural family planning (which includes tracking your menstrual cycle to understand when you can get pregnant). This last method is very tricky, especially if you are irregular, requiring you to pay very close attention to your body and its patterns over time. Explore all the methods on Bedsider.org and talk to your doctor or chat with us on Ask Her to understand what method best works for you.
The insertion of an IUD (intrauterine device) will be different for everyone, but going to a trained health care provider will ensure you have a safe experience. Some people may have pain or discomfort with the insertion of the speculum into the vagina. The insertion of the IUD itself can cause cramping and/or pain. Your medical provider may prescribe prescription strength Ibuprofen after the IUD insertion to help with any pain, discomfort or cramping. For most women, any cramps or discomfort will subside within a few weeks. Some women experience cramps on and off for a few months after the IUD insertion. If you have serious pain or other concerns about the process, you can speak to a trusted adult or medical professional. More information on IUD insertion can be found at Bedsider.
Yes. Research has shown that use of birth control does not affect your ability to have a child later in life. Some methods of birth control may take your body a few months to return to its normal menstrual cycle, but no matter what no birth control method permanently affects the ability to have a child later in life.
To make an appointment at a free and confidential clinic, just call one of these Title X health centers in your area – you can find one near you here. Tell them you’d like to make an appointment for birth control. If you know what type you’re interested in you can let them know, or say you’d like to talk more with a doctor about your options. They may ask you some questions such as your name, birthday, and other personal information. If they ask anything you don’t know the answer that’s okay, just say you don’t know and you will still be able to make the appointment.
If you’ve ever been to a check up with a doctor, this won’t be much different! After checking in with the front desk and providing some information, you’ll see a medical professional like a nurse first who will take your vitals and ask some questions about why you’ve come to the clinic today. Afterwards, you’ll have time with the provider – this medical professional will answer all of your questions about birth control, counsel you on all your options, and help you come to a decision about the best birth control method for you and your life.
Anything you tell the provider will remain confidential, judgement-free, and private. Feel free to be as honest and open with them as you like. After you’ve selected a birth control method, you should always feel okay calling your doctor with any follow up questions or concerns over side effects.
There are several resources for free condoms. Health departments and other family planning clinics are great sources for free condoms. In schools, your school nurse or counselors may be a good resource to help you connect with free condoms. There are also condom companies that may send you free samples.
To find free condoms near you, check out Condom Finder.
You can buy condoms at any age. In the United States, minors may purchase condoms just like legal adults can.
Deciding to use condoms is a great way to protect yourself if you are sexually active. While no person can force someone else to do something, being clear about the reasons you want to use condoms (such as to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections) can be helpful when speaking with your partner. Moreover, being consistent in your decision when it comes to condom use, (such as using condoms every time & the whole time), is important. Being prepared by having condoms of your own can also give you some control in the situation. And if your partner does not agree with you, be willing to walk away from the situation if your needs and wishes are not being respected.
Creating these boundaries (the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others) may take practice, so working on this skill when it comes to something you are very serious about, like your health, is a great place to start.
They provide an easy-to-navigate digital tool to compare birth control options and find a method that is right for you.
Enter your zip code to a find teen private health clinic near you with free to low cost access to services and birth control.
Learn about barriers to access birth control through stories of doctors and women with lived experiences.
Vetted and suggested credible OB-GYN’s to check out and follow on TikTok for sexual health advice.
Learn how to make a confidential appointment with a clinic that can provide free birth control, including what to expect when you call and go to your appointment.
Other Credible Resources