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How Long Should I be on the Birth Control Pill Before we have Sex?

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,

 

Hi I’m 14 years old and me and my boyfriend want to have sex we’ve been dating for a year and 3 months. Me and him talked about sex and we want to do it. So how long should I be on the birth control pill before we have sex?

Signed: How Long Should I be on the Birth Control Pill Before we have Sex?

Dear How Long Should I be on the Birth Control Pill Before we have Sex?,

 

The length of time that it take for oral contraceptive to be completely effective as a sole method of birth control varies depending on the type of pill you use and when you start using it.  You should be able to get this information from your doctor when he/she prescribes the medication. Often you will need to use an alternate form of contraception like a condom before the pill you were prescribed becomes completely effective. To be on the safe side, you should be on the pill for one monthly cycle before trusting its protection. The insert that comes with the medication should also give you specific instructions on what you should do.

 

You should be aware that certain medications like antibiotics can make the pill less effective. The birth control pill has to actually get "activated" in the intestines by certain bacteria and some antibiotics can kill off the bacteria that help to activate the pill. Similarly, stomach problems such as sickness and diarrhea can affect the absorption of the pill. Using a condom during these times can guard against pregnancy.

 

You have thought about the pregnancy issue but what about the possibility of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s.) Practicing safer sex is a huge responsibility that goes along with being sexually active. Even if you think you don’t have to worry about this with your boyfriend are you willing to take this chance? It is possible for a person to have an STD and not be aware they have or that they could infect other people. When visiting your doctor be sure that you go over with him/her all the responsibilities that come with being sexually active.

 

Entering a sexual relationship is a big decision and something that require a lot of thought. Here are some Questions you should ask yourself taken from TeenHealthFX’s response to Want To Have Sex, But Not Sure If I'm Ready:

 

  • Do you understand the physical nature of sex – how it all physically works?
  • Are you prepared to deal with all of the responsibilities that come with sex, such as doing what is necessary to protect yourself against STDs and unwanted pregnancies?
  • Since abstinence is the only form of protection against STDs and unwanted pregnancies that is 100%, if you become sexually active are you prepared to deal with a situation where you become pregnant or infected with an STD if your safer sex method fails?
  • For some people having sex at a young age or before marriage goes against family, cultural, or religious beliefs. If this is the case for you, are you prepared to go against the beliefs of other people in your family and/or community?
  • Are you comfortable talking about sex with your partner and talking with your doctor about how to practice safer sex?
  • Do you feel emotionally ready to deal with all the feelings that come up in relation to being so intimate with another person? Many adolescents minimize the significance of having sex with another person and are therefore often surprised by the intensity of their emotional reactions to having sex – particularly how they react if the relationship does not last. 

This is a big life decision take your time and make sure it is the right decision for you.

 

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health in Morristown 973-971-6475 or the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health in Summit at 908-522-5757 for an appointment. Outside this area contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood.

 

 

 

 

 

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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