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How Does Birth Control Work And Make Sex Safer?

Published: October 01, 2014
Dear How Does Birth Control Work And Make Sex Safer?,

How does birth control even work? What does it do to help make sex safer?


Dear How Does Birth Control Work And Make Sex Safer?,

The most effective way to prevent pregnancy from occurring is abstinence. However, when people make a decision to be sexually active there are various types of birth control available to help in preventing an unwanted pregnancy from occurring. Birth control types include things like the birth control pill, birth control shot, condoms, diaphragms, IUDs and more. There are some types of birth control that are more effective than others.

Essentially all forms of birth control work by in one way or another preventing the woman’s egg from being fertilized by the man’s sperm. For example, if condoms are used the semen (which contains the sperm) is collected in the condom and, therefore, is prevented from entering the vagina. If the birth control pill is used, hormones from the pill work by preventing the egg from leaving the ovary so that there is no egg available to be fertilized by any sperm that are present.

One key thing to understand is that by using various methods of birth control you are practicing safer sex in terms of helping to prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, many methods of birth control do not provide any protection against the transmission of STDs. Abstinence is your best bet it you want to prevent the transmission of STDs. If you plan to be sexually active, condoms should be used to help prevent the transmission of STDs. But birth control methods like the pill, shot, IUD, and diaphragm offer no protection against the transmission of STDs.

For teens and young adults who choose to be sexually active, doctors generally recommend using condoms to help protect against the transmission of STDs, as well as to help protect against unwanted pregnancies, along with a back-up method of birth control such as the pill or shot.

If you are thinking of becoming sexually active, consider whether you are truly ready to take this step. If you are, it is important to talk to your doctor about the methods of birth control that would be best for you. If you have any other questions or concerns about birth control, speak to your parents or another trusted adult, as well as your doctor so you can get all the information and guidance you need. 

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

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