Sex Education: Pregnancy and Birth Control
Remember back in junior high school, around the 7th or 8th grade when you took a course in “Sex Education?” Around this time you were about 12 or 13 and maybe you hadn’t had the birds and the bees conversation with your parents yet. Just thinking about sex made you unnecessarily nervous but you’ve secretly done your own research because lets face it, you were already watching porn and started to become very curious about sex.
Ladies, if you are anything like me then you remember your first visit to the gynecologist, and for all of you who have never heard of a gynecologist, you’re probably a boy. But don’t get discouraged fellas, this conversation is for you as well.
Anyway, the conversation probably went a little like this:
Doc: Are you on birth control or considering it?
Patient: No, I’m not on birth control but I have heard about the pill.
Doc: Great! Have you explored any other options?
Patient: *looks confused* I’ve only really learned about the pill and condoms.
Lucky for you and me, there are currently 17 forms of birth control on the market. This list includes: Abstinence; choosing to not have sex at all until marriage (or any other personal reasons), and Cervical caps; a silicone cup shaped like a sailor’s hat. You insert it into your vagina and over your cervix.
According to Guttmatcher.org, oral contraceptives, or the pill, as it is commonly known, is the most popular practice, which is why a lot of us have only heard of this method, along with the male condom. Planned Parenthood says that condoms alone are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly but because of human error they’re only about 82% effective when used as the only form of birth control.
So let’s just say that using these two methods, the pill and condoms together will give you approximately 90% protection against pregnancy when used correctly. Not to mention, the condom protects you from Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV.
There are currently 15-17 methods of birth control available on the market right now. Most are targeted toward women, while vasectomy, male condom, and abstinence are geared more for the male gender.
More recently, physicians have been pushing IUDs and Implants to their patients because of their proven effective rates. An IUD, as defined by Planned Parenthood, is a “T” shaped device that is inserted into the uterus and lasts up to 12 years. IUDs are the most effective forms. Less than one percent of women will get pregnant each year if they chose this method.
Some of the disadvantages of the IUD are:
mild to moderate pain when the IUD is put in
cramping or backache for a few days
spotting between periods in the first 3–6 months
irregular periods in the first 3–6 months — with Mirena or Skyla
heavier periods and worse menstrual cramps — with ParaGard
The birth control implant also known as, Implanon or Nexplanon, is a rod shaped device, about the size of a match-stick; thin and flexible. It is inserted into the upper arm of a woman to prevent pregnancy. The implant is very effective with statistics of less than one percent of women reporting pregnancy each year. Lasts for up to three years.
Some disadvantages include:
Irregular bleeding, the most common side effect, especially in the first 6–12 months of use.
For most women, periods become fewer and lighter. After one year, 1 out of 3 women who use the birth control implant will stop having periods completely.
Some women have longer, heavier periods.
Some women have increased spotting and light bleeding between periods.
Planned Parenthood also mentioned that the implant cannot be used by women with breast cancer.
Lastly, the pill. Also known as oral contraceptives, most are made up of two hormones: estrogen and progestin, and some progestin-only pills as well. This method works best when taken everyday at the same time. Less than one percent of women will get pregnant IF they take the pills correctly and about nine percent will get pregnant if they don’t always take as directed.
Some disadvantages include:
bleeding between periods (most common with progestin-only pills)
nausea and vomiting
It is important that we as young sexually active adults educate ourselves on the various forms of birth control and sexually transmitted infections. It is also important to remember that the only forms of birth control proven to protect you from infection are the male condom and abstaining from sex all together.
If you would like more information regarding all methods of birth control you can talk to your primary healthcare physician or visit www.plannedparenthood.com they have videos, detailed explanations, and photos.
Lets continue to be responsible together!
Jasmine Roper15 Posts
Jasmine E. Roper is a graduate of Grambling State University. A member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and The Society of Distinguished Black Women, Inc. She loves pizza, Ted Talks, and randomly snapchatting (is that a word?) Follow her on Instagram @OhMinaaa