More than 3 million unintended pregnancies occur in American women every year. Almost half of these women are not using contraception, and for those women who are, the majority of unintended pregnancies result from the incorrect or inconsistent use of their contraception method.
Women who will potentially use a form of contraception to prevent pregnancy need to know the types of birth control methods available. Most importantly, they need to know how willing they will be to use, or remember to use, the birth control option they select.
Avoiding an unintended pregnancy involves weighing the advantages and disadvantages of contraception methods and selecting one that fits into your (and your partner’s) lifestyle. Even a technologically perfect contraceptive will fail when not used in the correct manner.
Most contraception methods have a theoretical success rate, or “perfect use” rate, ranging between 91 and 99 percent. However, the actual success rates can drop dramatically, depending on the form of contraception being used and human error. For example, male condoms have a “perfect use” rate of 97 percent but an “actual use” rate of 88 percent.
When selecting a form of birth control, consider your lifestyle, STD risk, cost, comfort, effectiveness and health history, if you smoke, your health, how often you have sex, and your relationship with your partner. In addition, use a method that you will follow correctly and consistently.
- Do I have concerns about using this method?
- Are there any medical reasons why I should not use this method?
- Will I have trouble remembering to use this method?
- Will this method make my periods longer or more painful?
- Will my partner have concerns about this method?
- Will either my partner or I be embarrassed by this method?
- Is this method disruptive during sex?
Not everyone chooses to have sex. Some people choose to abstain to avoid any risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection (STI). Some choose to abstain because of their beliefs or values. Some abstain because they simply are not ready for intercourse. Remember, abstinence is the only 100% certain way of not becoming pregnant or acquiring a sexually transmitted infection.
You have the right to have your values and limits respected.
You have the right to refuse sex any time, for any reason.