Pregnancy

If you’re sexually active, or think you might be in the future, if you don’t want to get pregnant right now, you don’t have to get pregnant right now.

 

 

How Pregnancy Happens

Sperm

The penis ejaculates semen (cum), which contains millions of sperm.

Sperm can live in a female’s reproductive tract up to 5 days. There may be sperm in pre-ejaculate (pre-cum).

EGG

An egg is released from the ovaries once a month (ovulation).

The time of ovulation can be different for every person. Most people don’t know when they ovulate.

Fertilization

The sperm swims to meet the egg. The sperm enters the egg (fertilization).

IMPLANTATION

The fertilized egg implants in the wall of the uterus.  Once this happens, it becomes a pregnancy.

Reducing the Risk of Pregnancy

Most teen births are not planned, and Chicago’s teen birth rate is higher than the national rate. Here’s how to reduce your risk:

Avoid sexual activity.

Talk about it.

It might feel weird at first, but try talking about it with the person you’re sexually active with. It’s about your health and safety.

Use a condom plus other birth control.

Use a condom along with another type of birth control every time you are sexually active (but never use two condoms together).

Types of Birth Control

Knowing the facts about birth control means each person can choose for themselves the best method to reduce their risk of pregnancy—regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. There are many different types, and it’s important to know all of the options so you can decide what’s best for you.

Condoms are the only birth control that reduce the risk of STIs.

Male (external) condoms & female (internal) condoms are the only methods that reduce the risk of both STIs and pregnancy.

Condoms are easy to get and often free. Below are some methods of birth control that are even more effective at reducing the risk of pregnancy. For the best protection, though, always use a condom every single time, along with another form of birth control.

Use condoms with one of the methods below to reduce the risk of pregnancy.

The “best” birth control is the one that you feel most comfortable using, and the one that is easiest for you to use correctly. The less you have to think about birth control the easier it is to use. We’ve listed our favorite types below.

Implant

LASTS 3 YEARS (Low-maintenance)

preg_stars_5Very Effective

A healthcare provider gently puts this small, soft implant (about the size of a matchstick) under the skin of your upper arm. It’s very small and not easy to notice, so it’s great for privacy. It lasts up to 3 years. This method is super low-maintenance, so once it’s in, you’re set—it’s always working!

IUD

LASTS 3-10 YEARS (Low-maintenance)

preg_stars_5Very Effective

A healthcare provider inserts the IUD or Intra-Uterine Device into the uterus. This is a method that no one can see, so it’s great for privacy. It lasts 3 to 10 years, depending on the type or brand. This method is also super low-maintenance, so once it’s in, you’re set—it’s always working!

Shot

Every 3 Months

preg_stars_5Effective

A healthcare provider gives the shot (Depo-Provera) every 3 months.

Ring

Change Monthly

preg_stars_5Effective

The ring looks kind of like a jelly bracelet, fits inside the vagina, and is changed once a month.

Patch

Change Weekly

preg_stars_5Effective

The patch looks like a square Band-aid that is worn on the outside of the body and changed once a week.

Pill

Take Daily

preg_stars_5Effective

The pill is taken once a day, at the same time every day.

Pulling Out

preg_stars_3 Moderately Effective

Pulling out (also called “withdrawal”) is not a very effective birth control method. It’s more difficult to do correctly than it might sound. Even before someone ejaculates (cums), there’s pre-ejaculate (pre-cum), on the tip of the penis which may contain both sperm and STIs.

Emergency Birth Control

Emergency birth control, sometimes known as the Morning After Pill, includes Plan B and the other options below. Use one of these, if you have sex without a condom or a condom breaks, to reduce your risk of pregnancy. Depending on the type, it can be used up to 3 to 5 days after unprotected sex, but you’ll want to use it as soon as possible. These do not cause abortions. They only reduce the risk of pregnancy.

Plan B

The “Morning After” Pill

Take Within 72 Hours

Plan B One-Step (the generic might have a different name). Available over the counter without a prescription.

  • Can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex—but take it as soon as possible (ideally within 72 hours after unprotected sex)
  • No prescription needed. Anyone can buy it over the counter at a pharmacy. If you’re ever turned away, try a different pharmacy
  • No cost with Medicaid and most insurance plans with a prescription (or at a clinic)

Ella

Prescription “Morning After” Pill

Take Within 5 Days

The newest form of emergency birth control is a one-pill formula available by prescription.

  • Can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex—but take it as soon as possible
  • Prescription needed
  • No cost with Medicaid and most insurance plans with a prescription (or at a clinic)

Paragard IUD

Available From Your Health Care Provider

Insert Within 5 Days

This is the most effective emergency birth control there is. A health care provider can insert it within 5 days. You can keep it in for up to 10 years of continuous birth control.

  • Can be inserted up to 5 days after unprotected sex—but get one as soon as possible
  • No cost with Medicaid and most insurance plans

1. Know your rights.

If you’re 12 or older, it’s your legal right in the State of Illinois to tested and treated for STIs and get birth control without anyone’s permission.

2. Find a clinic.

Youth-friendly clinics offer STI and pregnancy testing, as well as birth control. Birth control is accessible and often free. Search clinics by ZIP code.

3. Choose a birth control method.

Choose a method that that fits your body and lifestyle—use with condoms. Compare types of birth control.

There are lots of ways to get free birth control.

Condoms are the only type of birth control that reduce the risk of STIs.

Some birth control is over 99% effective.

Only abstinence is 100% effective, but there are some birth control methods that are very close, especially the IUD and implant. Remember, use a condom to reduce your risk of STIs.

The “best” type of birth control is the one that’s best for you.

The “best” birth control is the one that you feel most comfortable using and the one that is easiest for you to use correctly. There are many types of birth control. Some are more effective, or take less effort, than others. It’s important to know what your options are, talk them over with your healthcare provider, and decide what is right for you.

People use birth control for lots of health reasons.

Yes, they reduce the risk of pregnancy, but some types can also help make your period shorter or less uncomfortable. And some types can help with acne.

Using birth control will not prevent you from having children later on.

Birth control only works while you are using it. Once you stop using it, its effects go away and you can get pregnant.

Birth control affects people differently.

You’ve probably heard stories of people using this or that type of birth control, and it’s really important to talk this over with your healthcare provider, because each type of birth control affects people differently.

Getting pregnant or getting someone else pregnant won’t save a relationship.

If you’re feeling insecure about your future with someone, bringing a baby into the situation will not make those feelings go away.

No one has to know you’re on birth control.

In the state of Illinois, if you’re 12 or older, it’s your legal right to get tested and treated for STIs—and get birth control—on your own, without anyone’s permission. If you want to talk to someone about this stuff—maybe a parent, another family member, a mentor—that’s great … but legally, you don’t have to. If you are worried about your privacy there are types that are totally invisible—like the IUD, which is worn inside the body, or the implant, which is under the skin of your inner arm.

Other people won’t be able to tell that you’ve gone on birth control.

It doesn’t change the way you walk, look, or act. They will only know if they see you taking it or if you talk about it.

It only takes one sperm for pregnancy to happen.

You may have heard people talk about different things killing sperm. Don’t believe the rumors—talk to a healthcare provider and always use condoms, plus another form of birth control.