Contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy, and is sometimes called "birth control". Some forms of contraception such as condoms can also help reduce the spread of sexually transmissible infections (STIs). Contraception is a very important part of making sure sex is safe and being responsible for your actions.
There are several methods of contraception, including:
- the pill - a tablet taken each day by girls to prevent pregnancy
- condoms – a rubber sleeve worn on the penis
- diaphragms – a rubber device worn inside the vagina
- contraceptive implant (e.g. Implanon) – a device inserted under the skin of girls by a doctor which releases hormones to prevent pregnancy.
There is also a form of contraception called the emergency contraception pill, which can help prevent unintended pregnancy. It can be taken by girls within 72 hours after unprotected sex, although preferably with 24 hours. It is available across the counter at chemists or from your local GP, family planning clinic or sexual health clinic.
It's important to talk about contraception with your partner and decide how you will handle any issues before having sex. You both have to be happy with the choice and make sure you're aware of any risks involved.