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For information, news, and stories about some of the different methods, you can always check my tags:
Maybe you’re thinking about getting birth control for the first time, or maybe you’re ready for a change. Either way, there are some great resources out there!
To get the most out of your birth control, generally speaking, the more methods you use, the more effective it is. NO, that doesn’t mean using multiple condoms at once! It means using condoms along with the pill, or the IUD along with pulling out, or maybe a diaphragm along with Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (not having sex when you’re most likely to get pregnant). There are tons of methods and combinations, so if one doesn’t work the first time, keep at it!
If you’re not sure where to start, Planned Parenthood and Bedsider have tools to help you decide:
Someone asked us:
I’m planning on going to college in the fall, and I recently have been talking to my mom about getting started on birth control. I’ve been learning toward the pill, but I know it’s really important to take it everyday and I’m afraid I’d forget every once in a while. I’m curious about methods like the implant that lasts for three years, but I don’t know how effective that is? Also can you see the implant in your arm? It sounds ideal, but I don’t know enough about it!
Good news! The birth control implant (aka Implanon or Nexplanon) is one of the safest and most effective methods of birth control available, and it lasts for three whole years. IUDs are right up there with implants, so they’re another option you might want to consider — both are over 99% effective.
The most common reason birth control fails is because of user error, like forgetting pills, rings or patches. This is why methods like the implant and IUDs are so great – you set ‘em and forget ‘em until they need to be replaced or you want to get pregnant. There’s really no way you can screw them up (unless you don’t get them replaced when you’re supposed to).
And you’re absolutely right that, no matter what method you choose, it’s really important to use it correctly or you’ll be at risk for pregnancy. High-fives for thinking ahead and being honest with yourself about what’s really going to work for you. (And double high-fives to you and your mom for helping to ensure that you’ll be focusing on math tests instead of pregnancy tests in college.)
To answer your next question, the implant is usually invisible, though it can be felt through the skin if someone touches you where the implant is (which is a fun way to give your friends the willies). In rare cases, there may be scarring or discoloring of the skin where the implant is inserted.
The Planned Parenthood Tumblr team is a big fan of IUDs and the implant. I have a Mirena IUD, Chelsea has a ParaGard IUD, and Amy just got the implant. Reading our stories, checking out the Planned Parenthood website, and using our My Birth Control app can help you decide what’s going to work best for you.
-Kendall at Planned Parenthood
I wrote about my Nexplanon here! I really like it so far, and I think the one negative side effect, an extended period, is actually sorting itself out. Yay!
They literally believe that delaying or refusing childbearing destroys your womanhood.
And they call us misogynists.
^ I just now found the website and oh my goodness it’s kinda scary; check out the SELF Control tab - just, no. -_-
I don’t even know where to start with that website. This is horrible. How can anybody think this is okay?
It would be funny if I didn’t think children and young people were reading these things and believing them. I just want to take all those poor kids by the hand and show them the wonders of Scarleteen and Bedsider and Planned Parenthood. They deserve so much better than this.
Hi! I saw your post regarding the Nexplanon and I am really considering getting it, but I've read a lot of reviews on it and it seems a wee bit disheartening I'm especially worried about the constant spotting, mood swings, and acne breakouts. I was wondering if you could tell me how it is working for you? Thank you!
My only complaint - and it really is minor - is the extended period. It’s like a real period the first 3-5 days, then spotting for another week. (TMI Alert: I rarely wear underwear because I’m lazy, and the spotting is light enough that I usually don’t need to use any menstrual products either. So, eh.) Plus, my cramps are basically gone, which is awesome for someone who used to spend Day 1 rolling around on their bed and crying. Seriously. Halle-fucking-lujah.
I really, really love that I don’t get mood swings or a dead libido (like when I took the pill), that it was so easy to insert, that it lasts for three years, and that I don’t have to remember anything for it to work. Oh, and the >99% effectiveness. I also appreciate that I can get it taken out at any time if I change my mind.
You’re supposed to give it six months to “settle in,” so I’ll know soon if my cycle will get back to normal, or if I’ll need to weigh the spotting against all the benefits. I’ll probably write another update in a few months.
The implant works differently for everyone. Someone I know can’t use hormonal birth control at all, so it may just take some patience and experimenting. You can check my #implant tag for more on my experience and others’ perspectives!
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