What Works/What Doesn’t (Text-Only Version)

AbstinenceMale CondomThe PillThe Shot (Depo-Provera)DiaphragmCervical Cap
MethodNot having sex (oral, anal or vaginal) and not participating in any activity that puts you or your partner in contact with either of your bodily fluids (like semen, vaginal fluids, or blood).A latex (rubber) or polyurethane sheath that covers the penis and collects semen and other fluids, preventing them from entering a woman’s vagina.A daily pill for women that contains either a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin or progestin only. These pills work in several ways to protect a woman from becoming pregnant.A shot for women that prevents pregnancy. The shot contains the hormone progestin and must be given every 3 months.A woman uses spermicide to coat the inside and outer-edge of this dome-shaped silicone or latex cup with a flexible rim. Then she inserts it to the back of her vagina so that is covers the cervix where it blocks sperm.A woman uses spermicide to coat the inside of this silicone sailor hat-shaped device. Then she inserts it into the back of her vagina so that is covers the cervix where it blocks sperm.
Success RateAbstinence offers 100% protection against pregnancy, and STDs, assuming no sexual content of any kind (including genital touching).With typical use, 15 women in 100 (15%) become pregnant inone year. With perfect use, 2 women in 100 (2%) will become pregnant in one year.With typical use, 8 women in 100 (8%) become pregnant in 1 year. With perfect use, less than one woman in 100 (less than 1%) will become pregnant in one year.With typical use, 3 women in 100 (3%) become pregnant in one year. With perfect use, less than one woman in 100 (less than 1%) will become pregnant in one year.With typical use, 16 women out of 100 (16%) will become pregnant in one year. With perfect use, 6 women out of 100 (6%) will become pregnant in one year.With typical use, 14 women in 100 (14%) will become pregnant in one year. With perfect use, 9 in 100 (9%) women will become pregnant in one year.
Groovy PartIt is the only 100% effective way to avoid pregnancy and STDs. And it’s more common than you’d think– half of high school students have never had sex.When used correctly and consistently from beginning to end, condoms are the only method for those who are sexually active that protects against both pregnancy and STDs, including HIV. Plus, you don’t need a prescription, and they are cheap and easy to find at any drugstore.If taken correctly, the pill provides non-stop protection from pregnancy; it can make a woman’s periods more regular, reduce cramps, and shorten or lighten a woman’s period.Once a woman gets the shot, she doesn’t have to think about birth control for another 3 months.It can be put in place up to six hours before sex and can stay there for up to 24 hours (though fresh spermicide should be applied each time you have sex).It can be put in place up to 6 hours before sex and can stay there for up to 48 hours (and unlike the diaphragm, additional spermicide is not needed (if you want to have sex more than once).
Drag FactorThere isn’t one. 70% of teens who have had sex wish they had waited.Condoms can leak or break if not put on or taken off correctly or if the wrong size. Oil-based lubricants (like Vaseline or massage oil) should not be used because these kinds of lubricants can cause condoms to break during sex.Offers no protection against STDs including HIV. Some women have nausea, headaches and changes in their moods. If you miss 2 or more daily pills during a cycle you should either abstain from sex or use a back-up method of contraception (like a condom). Each type of pill is different, so check with your doctor to learn more.Offers no protection against STDs including HIV. Some women have weight gain and irregular periods. This shot can cause bone loss, which is often reversible after a woman stops using the shot.Won’t effectively protect against most STDs including HIV, and can increase the risk of urinary tract infections & toxic shock syndrome. Can be messy (from the spermicide) and clumsy to use. It needs to stay in place for 6 hours after sex and be washed thoroughly with soap and water.Won’t effectively protect against most STDs including HIV and can increase the risk of urinary tract infections and toxic shock syndrome. It only comes in 4 sizes so it may not be an option for everyone. Also, it needs to stay in place for 6 hours after having sex and then needs to be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
How To Get ItEasy. Do nothing at all.At drugstores and supermarkets; costs 35 ¢ to $2 each. They are often free at family planning or STD clinicsThrough a prescription from a health care provider; the cost is about $15 to $50 a month depending on the pill brand, plus the cost of the office visit.Requires a visit to your health care provider every 3 months to get the shot; the cost is about $35 to $75 per shot, plus the cost of the office visit.Through a prescription from a health care provider; the cost is about $15 to $75 plus the cost of spermicide and the exam and fitting for the diaphragm.Through a prescription from a health care provider; the cost is about $15 to $75 plus the cost of spermicide and an exam.
The PatchThe Ring (NuvaRing)IUDImplantEmergency Contraceptive
MethodA woman applies a small patch to the buttocks, upper arm, or lower abdomen. The patch contains a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin. The patch is changed once a week for 3 weeks, followed by one week with no patch.A woman places a soft, flexible ring in the vagina for three weeks, followed by a ring-free week. The ring contains a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin.A small device that contains copper or the hormone progestin that is inserted into a woman’s uterus.A small rod is inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. This rod releases the hormone progestinIt is not a regular method of birth control, but emergency contraception can be used up to five days after unprotected sex, or if your birth control method failed (for example a condom broke). The sooner it’s started the better it works.
Success RateWith typical use, 8 women in 100 (8%) become pregnant in one year. With perfect use, less than one woman in 100 (less than 1%) will become pregnant in one year.With typical use, 8 women in 100 (8%) become pregnant in one year. With perfect use, less than one woman in 100 (less than 1%) will become pregnant in one year.Using either IUD, less than 1 woman in 100 (1%) will become pregnant in a year.Less than one woman in 1,000 becomes pregnant in one year.If taken within 3 days of unprotected sex, it reduces your chance of getting pregnant by 89%. It is more effective the sooner it is taken.
Groovy PartIf used correctly, the patch provides non-stop protection from pregnancy; it can make a woman’s periods more regular, reduce cramps, and shorten or lighten a woman’s period. It only has to be changed once a week.If used correctly, the ring provides non-stop protection from pregnancy; it can make a woman’s periods more regular, reduce cramps, and shorten or lighten a woman’s period. It only has to be changed once a month.It provides effective pregnancy protection and lasts a long time—a copper IUD can stay in place for up to twelve years, and a progestin IUD lasts 5 years.It protects against pregnancy for up to 3 years–without having to do a thing. It can shorten or lighten a woman’s period and reduce cramps.It can prevent a woman from getting pregnant if she has unprotected sex.
Drag FactorOffers no protection against STDs including HIV. Some women have skin reactions, nausea, headaches and breast discomfort. If the patch is removed for more than a day, or a woman is late starting a new patch, she should either not have sex or use a back-up method of contraception (like a condom) until she has used a new patch for 7 days.Offers no protection against STDs including HIV. Some women have vaginal discomfort, nausea, headaches and breast tenderness. If a woman misses 3 or more hours during a cycle, she should either not have sex or use a back-up method of contraception (such as a condom) until she has used a new ring for 7 days.Doesn’t protect against STDs including HIV. Some women have spotting between periods, heavier periods, and increased cramping.Doesn’t protect against STDs including HIV; may cause irregular periods, nausea,headaches, and weight gain. Some women may be able to see the rod under the skin and rarely can get a skin infection at the insertion site. Plus, having the rod removed can be a hassle.Doesn’t protect against STDs including HIV. May cause nausea. If a woman does not get her period within 3 weeks, she should take a pregnancy test.
How To Get ItThrough a prescription from a health care provider; the cost runs $15 to $50 a month, plus the cost of the visit to a health care provider.Through a prescription from a health care provider; the cost runs $15 to $50 a month, plus the cost of the visit to a health care provider.Requires a visit to a health care provider; cost is about $175 to $650 for insertion and removal costs about $100.Requires a visit to a health care provider; the cost for insertion is usually about $400-$800 (which is less than the overall cost of 3 years of birth control pills).If you are 17 or older, you can buy emergency contraception at most drugstores or family planning clinics; costs $10 to $70. If you are 16 or younger, you can get it from your health care provider.

Preventing Unplanned and Unintended Pregnancy:
What Doesn’t Work Very Well

Fertility Awareness Based MethodsSpermicideWithdrawal
MethodWhen a woman keeps track of her menstrual cycle and has unprotected sex only during the “safe” (or infertile) days, when it is less likely that she will get pregnant.A woman inserts a spermicide available in foams, films, creams, jellies, or suppositories–deep into the vagina before sex to kill sperm before they can reach an egg.The man withdraws his penis from the vagina before ejaculation.
Success RateWith typical use, between 12 and 25 women in 100 (12 to 25%) will become pregnant in one year, depending on the method. With perfect use, between 2 and 9 women out of 100 (2 to 9%) will become pregnant in one year.With typical use, 29 women in 100 (29%) become pregnant in one year. With perfect use 18 women in 100 (18%) will become pregnant in one year.With typical use, 27 women in 100 (27%) become pregnant in one year. With perfect use 4 women in 100 (4%) will become pregnant in one year
Groovy PartIt’s free and there are no devices to deal with. There are no side effects, except having to go without sex or use a barrier method for several days before and after ovulation (when it is possible for a woman to get pregnant).You can buy it at any drugstore without a prescription; it can provide lubrication for sex.It’s better than not using any protection, but it isn’t a very effective method of birth control.
Drag FactorDoesn’t protect against STDs including HIV. Predicting when a woman will ovulate is not easy, and sperm can live inside a woman’s body for days. Women have to keep careful track of their vaginal mucus, menstrual cycle, and/or body temperature beginning several months before they can start relying on this method. Because it’s difficult to accurately track fertility patterns, there are a lot of accidental pregnanciesDoesn’t protect against STDs including HIV. Some spermicides such as nonoxynol-9 have been found to irritate the vaginal walls making some more susceptible to STD and HIV infection. Follow the directions carefully: this may mean waiting a while to have sex until after inserting the spermicide so that it can dissolve and spread. You must insert more spermicide each time you have sexDoesn’t protect against STDs including HIV. Because sperm can live in pre-ejaculate (pre-cum), even if a man withdraws early, there is a chance of getting pregnant. Also, it may be a stressful method to rely on–women have to rely on men to get it right; and men have to remember to withdraw prior to ejaculation.
How To Get ItWomen will need good instruction–a class or health care provider–and several months of charting before they begin to rely on his method.At drugstores and supermarkets. The cost is $9 to $12 for the spermicide and applicator; refills cost $4 to $8.You just do it.

Preventing Unplanned Pregnancy: What Doesn’t Work At All

If you’re considering any of these to prevent pregnancy or STDs, don’t. They won’t help you. Here’s why:

HAVING SEX DURING YOUR PERIOD

First of all, just because you see blood doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant–some women bleed during ovulation, when they’re most fertile. And it’s often hard to predict when you’ll ovulate. Sex during your period is also a riskier time for HIV transmission. So you should use protection whenever you have sex.

PEEING AFTER SEX

A complete myth! Urinating after sex does nothing to protect against pregnancy because women do
not urinate out of their vaginal opening. So although the urinary opening is near the vagina (just above it), urinating will not flush sperm out of the vaginal opening.

DOUCHING

Instead of rinsing sperm out of the vagina, douching may actually help them swim upstream towards anegg. It also can increase the risk of infection. All in all, a bad idea!

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