As a young woman, once you start menstruating, it’s possible for you to fall pregnant if you have unprotected sex. If you’re not ready to have a baby and you are having sex, you need to make sure you use protection correctly every time you have sex.
So what contraception choices are available for young women?
Condoms or femidoms (barrier method) Condoms or female condoms are always required if you are having a sexual relationship. They are called barriers because they stop the semen making any contact with your body - preventing pregnancy, infections and HIV. You should use them for oral as well as penetrative sex to protect you from getting a sexually transmitted infection. Female condoms can be inserted up to 8 hours before having sex. Even if you do chose one of the below birth control options - you still need to use a condom every time to protect yourself from HIV and STIs!
Hidden contraception (the implant or injection)
Some young women chose an implant or injection so that no one knows they are taking birth control. An implant is a small flexible stick or rod that is inserted under the skin of your upper arm and prevents a pregnancy for about three years. The injection works in the same way but you will have to visit the clinic every two to three months for a new injection. Another hidden contraception is an IUD (intrauterine device). An IUD is a small, T-shaped device that is inserted into your uterus by a healthcare professional. It is either wrapped in copper or contains hormones that help prevent pregnancy. This kind of device is not usually recommended for teeanagers.
The pill (oral contraceptive)
The pill is a small tablet you take every day. The pill releases hormones that help prevent pregnancy. There are a few options, so talk to a doctor who will know which one will be best for you.
If you are 16 or over, you can get any of the above birth control methods at the clinic for free without your parents or guardian giving permission.
Only a condom can protect you from pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV so you still need to use one every time you have sex.
Sex during your schooling or while still a student is risky because you may not be old or confident enough yet to stand up for your rights and insist on a condom. That’s a risk no one wants to take. The only foolproof way to prevent a pregnancy is wait to have sex until you are older and ready to handle all the responsibilities and consequences.