Which Birth Control is Right For Me?

Two Teens Smiling Outdoors

Implant 

The Implant What It Is:

This type of birth control is a small rod placed into your upper arm by your health care professional (don’t worry - you will barely even know it’s there).

The little implant is a mighty birth control method.

The Details:

  • More than 99% effective
  • Lasts up to 3 years
  • Effects are completely reversible once it is removed

Effectiveness: 5 Stars (More than 99 percent effective)

Remember: The implant does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs.) Condoms do.

Your Level of Effort: Once it’s placed, you’re set! The implant will last up to 3 years.  

Side Effects:
Irregular bleeding and spotting are common. Possible side effects include weight gain, acne, mood changes or pain/scarring at insertion site. 

Hormonal IUD 

Hormonal IUD What It Is:

An hormonal IUD is a small T shaped device placed into the uterus by a health care professional. 

The Details:

  • More than 99% effective
  • Lasts between 3-5 years 
  • Effects are completely reversible once it’s removed
  • Approved and recommended for teens and women who have never had a baby – so when you decide it’s time to be a mother, simply have the IUD removed

Effectiveness: 5 Stars (More than 99 percent effective)
Remember: The IUD does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs.) Condoms do.

Your Level of Effort: With the IUD, you have no birth control worries for 3 to 5 years, depending on the type you get.

Side Effects:
Irregular bleeding and spotting between periods for the first several months after it is put in is common. Cramping and some discomfort can occur at the time it’s put in. 

Non-Hormonal IUD 

Copper IUDWhat It Is:

The non-hormonal IUD is a T-shaped device wrapped in copper and inserted into the uterus by a health care professional. It just doesn’t have hormones.

The Details:

  • More than 99% effective
  • Lasts up to 10 years
  • Completely reversible once removed
  • Can be used as emergency contraception

Effectiveness: 5 Stars (More than 99 percent effective)
Remember: The IUD does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs.) Condoms do.

Your Level of Effort: This birth control keeps you set for 10 years – a whole decade!

Side Effects:
Irregular bleeding and spotting between periods for the first several months after it is put in is common. Cramping and some discomfort can occur at the time it’s put in. Some women have heavier, longer periods.

The Birth Control Shot (Sometimes referred to as Depo)

Depo ShotWhat It Is:

The shot is given in the upper arm by a health care professional every three months.

The Details:

  • 94% effective with typical use 
  • You need to see your health care provider every 3 months
  • Each shot lasts 13 weeks

Effectiveness: 4 Stars (More than 94 percent effective)
Remember: The shot does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs.) Condoms do.

Your Level of Effort: The shot works pretty well when taken at the right time, meaning you need to come see your health care professional EVERY THREE MONTHS (no excuses!). You can get pregnant if you are late getting your shot or miss a shot.

Side Effects:
Weight gain and changes in your mood are potential side effects. Your periods will be irregular. In rare instances, women may have more days of bleeding than before they started the shot.

Birth Control Pills

Birth Control PillsWhat It Is:

Birth control pills are available with a prescription from your health care professional. There are lots of brands and varieties of pills, so work with your health care provider to find the one that works best for you.

The Details:

  • 91% effective with typical use
  • You should take a pill every day at the same time each day
  • Available by prescription only

Effectiveness: 3 Stars (More than 91 percent effective)
Remember: The pill does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs.) Condoms do.

Your Level of Effort: You should take a pill every day at the same time each day. Set a calendar reminder or plan to take it with one of your daily routines.

Side Effects:
Side effects include breast tenderness, nausea, irregular bleeding, and headaches. Most of these symptoms improve with time. Birth control pills may interact with certain antibiotics, anti-seizure and HIV medicines.

The Ring 

What It Is:

A small flexible ring you put into your vagina.

What do you need to know?

  • 91% effective with typical use
  • Available by prescription only

Effectiveness: 3 Stars (More than 91 percent effective)
Remember: The ring does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs.) Condoms do.

Your Level of Effort: Once you insert the ring, you leave it in for three weeks. Then you take it out for a week to get your period. After that week with no ring, you insert another to start the monthly cycle all over again. It is important that you place your on ring on time every 4 weeks.

Side Effects:
Possible side effects include: breast tenderness, nausea, unusual bleeding, headaches and mood changes. Many of these symptoms improve with time. The ring may interact with certain antibiotics, anti-seizure, and HIV medicines.

The Patch

Birth Control PatchWhat It Is:
A thin bendable piece of plastic that kind of looks like a square bandage (color on one side and sticky on the other).

What do you need to know?

  • 91% effective with typical use
  • Available by prescription only

Effectiveness: 3 Stars (More than 91 percent effective)
Remember: The patch does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs.) Condoms do.

Your Level of Effort: The patch lasts for one week. You stick it on your skin and every seven days you need to remove it and put on another. After three weeks of changing the patch weekly, you leave it off for seven days and get your period. You must change your patch on time every week.

Side Effects:
Possible side effects include Breast tenderness, nausea, irregular bleeding, headaches, and irritation or rash at the patch site. Many of these symptoms improve with time. The patch may interact with certain antibiotics, anti-seizure and HIV medicines.

Emergency Contraception

Plan BWhat It Is:

If you forgot to use birth control or had a birth control failure like a broken condom, you can use emergency contraception. Emergency contraception can be used up to 5 days after the encounter and comes in the form of pills or a non-hormonal (copper) IUD. Emergency contraception should not be used as a regular form of birth control.

Emergency contraception is not the abortion pill and should not be confused as such.

Condoms: Protect Yourself from STIs

What It Is:

Condoms should always be used during sexual encounters to protect against STIs. There are male and female condoms, which are available at most drug stores and online.

Female condoms are similar to male condoms but a bit bigger and designed to fit into the vagina.
Both male and female condoms must be put on and taken off properly during each sexual encounter to be truly effective. A new condom must be used for each sexual act. Use condoms all the time, every time. 

Using a condom with another method is the best way to prevent against pregnancy and STIs.

What do you need to know?

  • Condoms alone are 82% effective at preventing pregnancy
  • Available over the counter at most drug stores and free at several health departments and health clinics. You can get them delivered right to you.
  • Condoms should ALWAYS be worn during all sexual encounters

Effectiveness: The only method to protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs.) 

Know your birth control options – it’s more than just the pill. Watch the video below to hear teens discuss the benefits of all different types of birth control.