When should you start thinking about birth control? If you start having sex first and start thinking about birth control later, you could get pregnant by accident.
Do I want a baby?
If you decide to have sex, it's important to know whether you want to have a baby.
If you don’t want to get pregnant or get someone pregnant, you’ve got two options: don’t have sexual intercourse, or if you do, use birth control. It's also called contraception, or family planning.
Is there a difference between sexual intercourse and sex?
Sexual intercourse, when a man puts his penis in a woman's vagina, is just one way to have sex. Sexual intercourse is basically the only way to get a woman pregnant. Oral sex and anal sex are also ‘sex’, but they won't get a woman pregnant. You can only get pregnant without having sexual intercourse if sperm accidentally gets into the vagina.
You can get pregnant if:
- It’s your first time having intercourse
- You have intercourse before you’ve started your periods
- You’ve had intercourse during your period
- You forget to take your pill just once or forget to use condoms just once
- Your partner pulls out (withdraws) before he comes
Every couple has different birth control needs. So the best birth control method for each couple may be different.
There are lots of different types of birth control methods. The method you choose depends on various factors such as your sex life, health, your reproductive plans, Relationship factors – e.g. including marital status, and how often you have sex and partner preferences.
Ask yourself the following questions;
- What birth control options are available?
- How do the different birth control options work?
- What is the effectiveness of various methods?
- What are their failure rates?
- Do I want to use it every time I have sex, every day, or once every few months or years?
- Do I want a birth control method with or without hormones?
- Do I want a long-term, permanent or short-term method?
- How easy is it to get it?
- What does it cost?
- Does it protect me against sexually transmitted infections?
- What are the side effects?
- Is it acceptable to my sexual partner?
- How soon do you want children in the future?
- Can I get pregnant after stopping the method and how soon?
- Is it compatible with my religious beliefs or cultural practices?
Hopefully, these questions will help you figure out what is best for you.
The next step is to talk to your healthcare provider. Go through the available options with them and determine which solution fits your needs, lifestyle, and health history.