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Contraception: Your Questions Answered

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 15 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Pregnancy unplanned Pregnancy

There is no such thing as absolutely safe sex, but there are ways to have safer sex. These methods reduce the risk of pregnancy as well as the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Using contraception is one important means of having safer sex and preventing pregnancy. Below are some basic answers to frequently asked questions about contraception.

What Is Contraception?

"Contraception" is a term used to describe methods of preventing conception and pregnancy by keeping a man's sperm and a woman's egg from meeting. Contraceptive devices are also frequently described as "birth control" or "family planning" items. The birth control pill, the birth control patch, condoms, contraceptive implants, contraceptive injections, intra-uterine devices (the coil) and the cap/a diaphragm are all common types of contraception used throughout the world. The rhythm method - timing sexual intercourse so as not to coincide with a woman's ovulation pattern - and withdrawal - a man pulling out of a woman before ejaculating - are also sometimes considered types of contraception though these are generally recognised to be much more risky and less effective methods than the others.

Does Using Contraception Protect Me from STIs?

Not necessarily. Condoms, both the male and female variety, are the only types of contraception that protect against both pregnancy and STIs because they prevent skin-to-skin contact for both parties engaged in sexual intercourse. While other types of contraception help to prevent pregnancy, they must be used with a condom in order for both parties to be protected against STIs. Condoms help prevent STIs from all types of sexual intercourse including vaginal, anal and oral sex.

How Effective Is Contraception?

Each type of contraception has different success rates, but it must be noted that absolutely no type of contraception is 100% effective 100% of the time. No matter which method you choose to use, there will still be a chance that pregnancy may occur. The chances of pregnancy are greatly reduced by using contraception, but pregnancy can still occur.

What Type of Contraception Is Right For Me?

In the United Kingdom the birth control pill and the male condom are the two most popular types of contraception. However, choosing a contraceptive method is something that you will want to do in consultation with your doctor. There are many reasons that people choose certain types of contraception, including the cost of the method, how the method fits into their lifestyle, how they can access the method, how the method relates to or may affect their health, and personal preference. In order to figure out which method if best for you, visit a medical professional to find out about your option.

Where Can I Find Out More About Choosing Contraception?

Visiting your doctor is a good place to start for finding out more about contraception, but many teens feel embarrassed or insecure about discussing birth control with their GPs. If this is the case then there are a number of free, confidential contraceptive services across the United Kingdom. You can find a local family planning clinic by contacting the fpa (formerly the Family Planning Association) (www.fpa.org.uk). Brooks Advisory Clinics (www.brook.org.uk) also offer information on sexual health and contraception to young people under the age of 25.

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[Add a Comment]
Sazbo - Your Question:
Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex last night however he did not ejaculate inside of me. We didn't do it for long as we just wanted to try it but Ive had pains ever since I woke up. I don't whether it's because I'm due on my period or whether im pregnant. I'm scared I might be pregnant. He did have a shower before we had sex so I don't know if that helps. But I'm lost and my heads all over the place. I just need some guidance. Also how can I ger the morning after pill?

Our Response:
The pains are natural, especially if this is the first time you have had sex. It is unlikely that you will be pregnant if sex did not last long and your boyfriend did not ejaculate. However, there is always a possibility when an individual has uprotected sex. You can see where you can get the morning after pill via the NHS link here.
TeenIssues - 16-Feb-17 @ 11:53 AM
Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex last night however he did not ejaculate inside of me. We didn't do it for long as we just wanted to try it but Ive had pains ever since I woke up. I don't whether it's because I'm due on my period or whether im pregnant. I'm scared i might be pregnant. He did have a shower before we had sex so i don't know if that helps. But I'm lost and my heads all over the place. I just need some guidance. Also how can I ger the morning after pill?
Sazbo - 15-Feb-17 @ 4:26 PM
@xcx - I think the best thing to do is to have a pregnancy test. If you are under the age of consent you can get a free pregnancy test from your doctor or family planning clinic, or walk-in health centre. If you have had protected sex then is is less likely you may be pregnant, unless the protection failed i.e the condom slipped off or burst. Sometimes periods can be a few days late or you may even skip a period. However, if you are even slightly worried I think it is best that you have a test done.
TeenIssues - 3-Mar-15 @ 1:42 PM
I'm 16 and am scared I may be pregnant. I had protected sex with my boyfriend,who I have been with 4 years, a week ago. My friend are telling me I'll be fine however I am very worried. A few days after having sex, we came very close to having sex again however didn't. I was then sick two days later. I was due on my period two days ago, and still am not on. Is there any chance I could be pregnant? Or am I just being paranoid? I daren't tell my parents as they are very strict.
xcx - 28-Feb-15 @ 1:16 PM
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