Conversations about birth control can feel the most awkward to talk about. Many people, regardless of gender, want to avoid talking about it even if it's with a sexual partner. Growing up, sex was hushed throughout health classes. The typical "wear a condom" speech was made, STDs were told to us with fear and pregnancy was made out to be the ultimate consequence for having sex. Other than that, nothing else was talked about. It was left for the students to explore more into the topic and ask their doctor's questions. Even then, how many of us did that? Again, many people want to avoid talking about sex. We shouldn't feel awkward or embarrassed asking questions and making sure we are healthy when it comes to sex, especially when it comes to birth control.
So let's stop that awkwardness. Let's talk about all things sex, and what you can do to make sure you are safe, healthy and emotionally prepared.
1. Do your own research and find out which methods you are most interested in.
Google can be your best friend when it comes to this. Do some research on your own to see what works best for you. Check out Planned Parenthood to find a list of birth controls you can use.
2. Think of the reasons why you want it: Protection for sex? Controlling periods?
The most popular options for period control would be the pill, NuvaRing and IUD. Talk to your doctor about what would work best for you.
3. Before you do anything, go see your doctor.
Many people brush this over and don't worry about getting checked. Before a person even becomes sexually active, its important to talk to a doctor, especially for women. The gynecologist will be able to examine you and make sure everything is running smoothly before you do anything.
4. Ask your doctor about different birth control methods, and which works best for you.
Back to #2, no one will be able to give you a proper answer unless they are a gynecologist. Ask them what would work best with your body and needs.
5. You must take it consistently at the same time frame recommended for it to work best.
Each birth control method has to be taken or replaced after a certain amount of time. For example, the pill must be taken everyday at the same time, while the NuvaRing must be replaced every month.
6. Even if you are on birth control, always use condoms.
It's better to be twice as safe. Condoms are pretty effective when it comes to birth control and preventing STDs.
7. Get tested regularly.
This one is important! If you are sexually active (especially with multiple people) you should be getting tested regularly, even if you don't have any symptoms.
8. Talk to your partner about sexual history before anything.
Open communication is what's most important in any relationship, casually or seriously. Be sure to be open and honest when talking about your sex life.
9. Abstinence is the most effective form of birth control.
This one is simple: the most effective form of birth control is not having sex. If you don't feel ready, having seconds thoughts or feel anxious about it: don't do it!
10. Alcohol consumption can decrease the effectiveness of your birth control.
Drinking can lower the effectiveness of the birth control by a small percentage. Ask your doctor about it and see what will work best!
11. If all else fails, Plan B can be used!
If everything else fails, another source can be the morning after pill. According to WebMD, "If you take it within 72 hours after you've had unprotected sex, Plan B One-Step can reduce the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent. If you take Plan B One-Step within 24 hours, it is about 95 percent effective." Although this is not recommended every single time, it is a good emergency back up plan!