when it comes to preventing pregnancy, you have options!

If you are sexually active and aren’t ready to have a baby anytime soon, it’s important to get started on the birth control method that is right for you. If you haven’t started having sex yet, it’s a good idea to think about what method you might want to start in advance, so you are protected when you are ready.

There are so many birth control options out there! Find out which one is best for YOU! If you try one and it isn’t working out, that’s ok! You can try another one.


  • Choosing NOT to have sex is the most effective way to protect yourself against pregnancy and STDs. You can learn more here.


Forgetting to take your pill every day? Want to set it and forget it? Consider a long acting method like the IUD or implant. They work like a charm.

IUDs (Intrauterine Device)

  • The IUD is a small t-shaped piece of plastic that gets put in your uterus by a doctor to prevent sperm from making their way to an egg to cause pregnancy. It is about 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • Some IUDs have hormones in them and some do not.
  • IUDs are inserted once and can last anywhere between 3 and 12 years, depending on the type. If you want it out for any reason, you can have it removed at any time.


  • The implant is a tiny rod about the size of a matchstick that is inserted in the inner part of the upper arm for up to 3 years. It is about 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • The implant releases hormones into your body that prevent you from getting pregnant.


These methods are also very effective when used correctly:


  • “The Pill” is the most common BC method and is highly effective if taken every day.
  • It is a hormonal method that works by stopping ovulation (release of an egg), so there is no egg to fertilize and it is 92%-99% effective at preventing pregnancy. 
  • There are many different types of birth control pills. You can talk with your clinician about which type of BC pills are right for you.


  • You use the patch by putting a new one on once a week. During the fourth week you don’t wear a patch and you get your period.
  • It looks like a square band-aid and it slowly gives off hormones through the skin that prevent pregnancy. It is 92%-99% effective and preventing pregnancy.


  • Also known as the “NuvaRing,” it is a small, bendable ring you insert into your vagina.
  • You leave it in place for 3 weeks at a time, then take it out for the 4th week. The ring works by giving off hormones and it is 92%-99% effective at preventing pregnancy.


  • The shot contains Progestin, which prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs. When there is no egg to fertilize, no risk for pregnancy.
  • You get the shot once every 3 months, or 4 times a year and it is 97%-99% effective at preventing pregnancy but you have to visit a doctor or nurse for each shot.


While these methods are safe and effective to prevent pregnancy, they don’t prevent the spread of STDs. For maximum protection, you should use one of the birth control methods above to prevent pregnancy AND a condom to protect yourself against STDs. Condoms on their own can also be used as birth control, but they are not as effective as the methods above.

CONDOMS: Male & Female Condom 

  • Condoms come in every shape and size imaginable, take your pick … red, blue, orange, flavored, scented, glow-in-the-dark, ribbed, thin, small, large, there is ONE for EVERYONE. Not only do they prevent pregnancy, they lower the risk of STDs. Condoms keep the sperm inside the condom NOT in your partner’s body!
  • The (internal) Female Condom gives you lots of control. Similar to other condoms, you have to use one EVERY time, but you wear one on the inside instead of sticking it on a penis.
  • If you are interested in having condoms sent to your home or finding free condoms near you, sign up here

And remember – in California, teens have the right to access CONFIDENTIAL services. When you’re ready to make an appointment, find a clinic near you.

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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.

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