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Sexual and Reproductive Health

Birth control

Birth control methods are ways to help prevent pregnancy. There's an 85% chance of becoming pregnant within one year, if no birth control is used for vaginal sex.

There are many methods of birth control. Some methods prevent a pregnancy by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg during ovulation. Other methods of birth control act as a barrier to prevent sperm from reaching and getting inside the egg.

Using dual protection for any sexual activity gives the best protection against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Dual protection means using a condom to decrease the chances of getting an STI and using another method of birth control to prevent pregnancy. It's safe for most people to take birth control and use it as long as they want to.

It's best to choose a method of birth control that fits your lifestyle. This will give you the best protection because you'll be more likely to use it correctly and consistently. Talk to your healthcare provider about your medical history, lifestyle, and the method of birth control that you think is right for you.

Visit Alberta Health Services Sexual and Reproductive Health ​to get more information about how and where to get birth control, pregnancy options, safer sex practices, and counselling. You can also contact your healthcare provider to learn about resources and support in your area.

Methods of birth control

There are many methods of birth control to prevent a pregnancy.

Hormonal birth control

Hormonal birth control methods have hormones that prevent a pregnancy by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg.

Non-hormonal birth control

Non-hormonal birth control methods create a barrier between sperm and the egg, change the chemistry of the reproductive tract, or do both.

Natural methods

Natural methods of birth control don't use medicine or devices to prevent pregnancy. Instead, they prevent a pregnancy by using certain behaviours or making observations about the body and menstrual cycle. Natural birth control methods include:

Emergency contraception

You can use emergency contraception to help prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex or if you're not sure you're protected from pregnancy (for example if you've missed taking hormonal birth control pills or the condom breaks). Methods of emergency contraception include:

  • Copper IUD
  • Emergency contraception pill​

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