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Birth control is any method used to prevent pregnancy. Another word for birth control is contraception.
If you have sex without birth control, there is a chance that you could get pregnant. This is true even if you have not started having periods yet or you are getting close to menopause.
The only sure way to prevent pregnancy is to not have sex. But finding a good method of birth control that you are comfortable with can help you avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
Be sure to tell your doctor about any health problems you have or medicines you take. He or she can help you choose the birth control method that is right for you.
There are many different kinds of birth control. Each has pros and cons. Learning about all the methods will help you find one that is right for you.
Talk to your doctor about the options for birth control after your delivery. They include implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs), hormonal methods, and barrier methods. Many types of birth control are safe to use if you're going to breastfeed. But some work better than others.
The best method of birth control is one that protects you every time you have sex. This usually depends on how well you use it. To find a method that will work best for you, think about:
Birth control must be used correctly in order to prevent pregnancy. When you decide which birth control method to use, be honest about how much effort you are willing to put into birth control. If you aren't comfortable with or might not consistently use a birth control method for any reason, that method isn't likely to be reliable for you in the long run.
Some birth control methods require more effort than others.
If you have health problems or other risk factors, some birth control methods may not be safe for you. To make sure a method is right for you, your doctor will need to know if you:
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Emergency contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy if:
The most effective emergency contraception is prescribed by a healthcare provider. This includes the copper IUD (inserted by a healthcare provider) or a prescription pill. You can get emergency contraceptive pills (morning-after pills or plan B) without a prescription at most drugstores and sexual health clinics. If you have unprotected sex, use EC as soon as possible. If you are already pregnant and use EC pills, they will not stop a pregnancy. Emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Call 911 or other emergency services if you have:
Call your doctor now if you:
It's common to have mild headaches, mild nausea, mild breast tenderness, or irregular bleeding (spotting) when starting birth control. These mild symptoms should improve over time. If you have problems with a birth control method, talk with your doctor. They may recommend another birth control method or help you solve the problem you are having.
CitationsThaxton L, Lavelanet A (2019). Systematic review of efficacy with extending contraceptive implant duration. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics: The Official Organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, 144(1): 2–8. DOI: 10.1002/ijgo.12696. Accessed December 7, 2022.Ti AJ, et al. (2020). Effectiveness and safety of extending intrauterine device duration: A systematic review. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 223(1): 24–35.e3. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2020.01.014. Accessed August 29, 2022.
Adaptation Date: 4/5/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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