Dear Miss Meghan,
I recently have become sexually active with my boyfriend. How do I decide which birth control method is right for me?
The Decision to start on birth control can be an easier choice than deciding which one to take. I would foremost recommend discussing your options with one of the health center staff or your gynecologist (once you become sexually active, you should see a gyno anywhos). They will help explore any interactions between birth control and other medications or medical conditions that may need to be controlled for. There is no 100% effect way to avoid risk of pregnancy outside of surgical sterilization or abstinence.
Even after you go on birth control, it is important to continue to use condoms (male or female) with your partner to reduce the risk of catching an STI or pregnancy. If you are 100% certain that you and your partner are monogamous AND trust that your partner will tell you if they “wander from the nest” AND you are both regularly tested for STIs (once prior to engaging in any sexual activities with your partner and again six months into the monogamous relationship) AND the results of your STI testing indicated no presence of a STI, AND your birth control use is 100% consistent and stable (no adverse reactions), ONLY then is it safe to stop using a condom. That seems like a lot of work, but is no where near the amount of work babies take, so I think it all evens out.
But I digress. BC pills are a great option, typically affordable, and usually covered by health insurance but consistent use is difficult for many women in that taking a pill at the same time every day rarely happens. Sleeping in on the weekends, parties, travel, or stress can all affect remembering to take the pill every day. Illness, stress, antibiotics or other medications can render the pill less effective or useless and increase the likelihood of getting preggo. Talk to your gyno about which pill would work best for your body, as there can be huge variances between brands.
Some folks like the patch as you only have to remember to chance it once a month, however the frequently falls off the body so “appropriate use” is difficult to achieve. I generally would suggest avoiding contraceptive injections (“the Shot”) at first because if your body reacts negatively to it, there is no removing it from your system. The vaginal ring is great for some women, but it also requires consistence use and high level of comfort with your vagina, as you have to insert and remove it on a regular basis.
Stay tuned for my next article where I’ll explore the sponges, diaphragms, cervical caps, IUDs, and Implanon.
Sincerely stoked about SexFest,
P.S.: What is this “SexFest” you ask? Well, put on your party hats and go to:www.facebook.com/SMCMPHE to find out event details! Its going to be legendary!