If you are having sex but don’t want to become pregnant, there are many safe, effective birth control methods to choose from. Take a look at these options to see which ones might work best for you.
We’ve also got information about where to get free birth control and what to do if you are pregnant.
Why is birth control important?
Knowing your birth control options, including how and when to use various birth control methods is very important to your overall health. As well as helping to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, some methods can also protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs or STDs). Such methods include what are most commonly known as condoms, and internal or female condoms.
How do I choose the best method for me?
There are many types of birth control and choosing the best method for your lifestyle and budget can seem overwhelming. So how do you pick the option that’s right for you? One factor to consider is the relative effectiveness of birth control methods. Reviewing each option will help inform your decision. Combining a hormonal method with a barrier method—for example, using both the oral contraceptive pill (“the Pill”) and condoms—will help reduce the risk of pregnancy as well as protect against STIs.
Regardless of the method an informed decision means that both you and your partner know how to use the method correctly and consistently.
You can take into account other things, such as:
- your age and stage of life
- how long you plan to use birth control
- your sexual habits
- your overall health and lifestyle (for example, do you smoke?)
- if you have had a baby or been pregnant before.
Talking to your health care professional and partner about your choices can also help you decide. You can also learn more about birth control options.
Accidents happen. People can forget to use birth control in the heat of the moment, or you might miss taking your birth control pills. There are two emergency methods available: Pills known as emergency contraception or “morning after pills” and the copper IUD. Consider emergency birth control in these situations:
- When contraception has failed (e.g. the condom slipped off or broke or birth control pills were missed).
- When ejaculation has occurred inside the vagina (e.g. while using the withdrawal method).
- When intercourse occurred without using a reliable birth control method.
- In instances of sexual assault.
Intra-uterine device (IUD) - Copper
Copper IUDs are effective as emergency contraception if they are inserted within seven days of unprotected intercourse. Visit www.emergencyiud.com for more information.
Where can I get birth control?
Some birth control methods, such as condoms, are available for purchase over the counter or for free at all public health units during regular business hours. Other types of birth control require a prescription or a visit to a clinician.
Who qualifies for free birth control?
Depending on the method of birth control you want to use, you may be able to get it for free. Fraser Health youth clinics provide free birth control to youth up to the age of 19. Youth aged 19 to 21 are also welcome to attend and receive their first three months of birth control free along with a prescription. Find a youth clinic near you.
I’m pregnant. What are my options?
If you’ve missed your menstrual period, you may be pregnant. If a pregnancy test confirms that you are you pregnant, the first thing to do is consider your options, including:
- Talk to someone. Ask for advice from a close friend, family member or health care provider.
- Learn about adoption. This option enables you to have the baby, but not become their parent.
- Learn about abortion services. This option enables you to end a pregnancy early.
- Learn about Fraser Health prenatal services.