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For Teens: Birth Control Options

If you have sex, you can get pregnant. Birth control helps lessen the chance that you'll get pregnant during sex. Having sex is a serious decision that you should think about carefully. If you decide to have sex, your healthcare provider can help you decide which type of birth control is best for you. Some of the most common types are described below. No matter which type you choose, remember to use it every time.

Image of a condom.


A condom is a thin covering that fits over the penis. A condom catches sperm that come out of the penis during sex. A condom also helps prevent the spread of certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Image of a female injecting a spermicide.


Spermicide is a gel, foam, cream, or tablet that you put into your vagina. These kill sperm that touch them. They are most effective when used with a condom, diaphragm, or cervical cap. 

Image of birth control pills.

The pill

The birth control pill is taken daily to stop your body from releasing an egg each month. It has to be taken at the same time each day.

Time-release hormones

Hormones like the ones used in birth control pills can be given in other ways. These include a skin patch, a ring inserted in your vagina, injections given in your arm or buttock every 3 months, or an implant placed in your arm that will remain for up to 3 years. You may find one of these methods easier to stick to than pills.

Diaphragm or cervical cap

Diaphragms and cervical caps are round rubber cups that keep sperm out of the uterus and hold spermicide in place. You put them into your vagina before you have sex.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

This is a device your health care provider will insert into the uterus and it can be left in place for 3, 5, or 10 years depending on the type you choose. This is only a good choice for those who are in stable monogamous relationships where both partners do not have sexually transmitted infections. This is because certain sexually transmitted infections can cause a more serious infection with an IUD in place.



Here are important things to consider:

  • Except for condoms, birth control methods don't protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. And condoms don't give you 100% protection.

  • You can decide not to have sex. This is called abstinence. Abstinence is the only way to be absolutely sure you won't get pregnant.

  • Be sure you are ready before you make the decision to have sex. Don't have sex because you think everyone else is doing it.

  • Whatever birth control you use, learn how to use it the right way.


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