Birth Control and Safe Sex
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Condoms require the least amount of advance planning and are used more than any other method of contraception at first sexual intercourse. However, about 35 percent of first intercourse experiences take place without the use of any contraception at all.
If you are sexually active, you need to use an effective contraceptive and a barrier method to protect you from disease every time you have intercourse. You can get pregnant the first time you have sex and right after you finish your period.
*For more information about any of these methods or devices, click on one of the links in the left hand menu.
Methods of Protection Against Pregnancy
Method or Device
Chance of Getting Pregnant
Protection From STDs
|Abstinence (Defined as no genital contact.)||0% (As long as semen does not enter the vagina.)||Yes|
|Birth Control Pill||Typical use: 5% -- Perfect use: 0.1%||None|
|Cervical Cap (not available in the U.S.)||Typical use: 20% -- Perfect use: 9%||None|
|Condom (latex)||Typical use: 14% -- Perfect use: 3%||Yes|
|Depo-Provera||Typical use: 0.3% -- Perfect use: 0.3%||None|
|Diaphragm||Typical use: 20% -- Perfect use: 9%||None|
|Female Condom||Typical use: 21% -- Perfect use: 5%||Yes|
|Implanon||Typical use: 0.09% -- Perfect use: 0.09%||None|
|IUD||Typical use: 0.8%-2% -- Perfect use: 0.6%-1.5%||None|
|Mini Pill||Typical use: 5% -- Perfect use: 0.5%||None|
|Morning After Pill||Typical use: 0.3% -- Perfect use: 0.3%||None|
|The Patch||Typical use: 1% -- Perfect use: 1%||None|
|The Ring||Typical use: 5% -- Perfect use: 1%||None|
|Seasonale®||Typical use: 5% -- Perfect use: 1%||None|
|Spermicide||Typical use: 26% -- Perfect use: 6%||None|
|Sponge||Typical use: 20% -- Perfect use: 9%||None|
|Sterilization||Typical use: 0.15% -- Perfect use: 0.1%||None|
Typical use: 27% -- Perfect use: 4%
(Pre-ejaculate can contain enough sperm to cause pregnancy. Also, if semen or pre-ejaculate spill on the vulva, pregnancy is possible.)
- There is no evidence that combined hormonal contraceptives (the pill, patch, ring, IUD) cause weight gain.
- Birth control does not decrease fertility (your permanent ability to get pregnant).
- Hormonal methods of birth control reduce menstrual bleeding and cramps.
- Hormonal birth control does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections.
Below are sources PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Planned Parenthood. Birth Control [Online].
The National Women's Health Information Center. Birth Control Methods [Online].
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