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5 birth control options for youth to avoid unwanted pregnancies and STIs

Did you know that 21 million teenagers get pregnant every year? Here are some birth control methods for teenagers to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Birth control options for teenagers. Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Arushi Bidhuri Updated: 23 Apr 2024, 03:17 pm IST
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Teenage pregnancy is more common than you think. Approximately 21 million teen girls become pregnant every year, as per the data by the World Health Organisation. Out of these, 12 million give birth which changes the course of their future. Lack of awareness is one of the major problems why this happens, which is why we need to encourage discussions around important topics such as contraception use among teenagers. It helps them navigate their sexual health journey confidently without any challenges. Teenagers should be aware of barrier methods of birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies and other complications.

What are barrier methods of birth control for youth?

Barrier methods are hormone-free methods for teenagers to keep pregnancy at bay. These tend to include condoms, contraceptive gels, and spermicides, along with diaphragms and cervical caps. Condoms are also known to safeguard one from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy. It is a known fact that sexually transmitted infections are common among teens. Hence, they should consider using a condom, explains Gynaecologist Dr Shruti Ugran.

Additionally, barrier methods empower teenagers to actively participate in their reproductive choices and promote a sense of responsibility toward their well-being.

Know the different types of contraceptive methods to avoid pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Types of barrier methods of birth control for youth

Several options can help teenagers and youth avoid unwanted pregnancies, including:

1. External condom (male condom)

Made up of synthetic or natural material, these condoms are the most commonly used products to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. These are designed to be put over the penis. Natural fiber condoms fail to safeguard against protection against sexually transmitted infections.

  • Pros: These condoms can be purchased without a prescription, are not so expensive, easy to use, and effective in preventing pregnancy.
  • Cons: moderately high failure rate, skin irritation, allergic reactions in some cases, and potentially diminished sensation.

Also Read: 5 things to know about condoms to avoid unwanted pregnancy

2. Internal condoms

An internal condom is a loose-fitting polyurethane sheath, consisting of flexible rings. One ring is located inside the vagina or the anus, and the other is on the outside to successfully prevent pregnancy. For a long time, they were called female condoms but they can be used by any gender for vaginal or anal sex.

  • Pros: Keeps control in your hands, doesn’t contain hormones, is latex-free, comes in one size, is convenient, can be combined with other contraceptive methods, works for oral and anal sex, and doesn’t diminish pleasure.
  • Cons: comparatively less effective, harder to find, more expensive than external condoms, less discreet, uncomfortable for some people, can make less pleasurable, and may slip out of place.

3. Dental dam

A dental dam is a latex or synthetic (nitrile or polyurethane) sheet that is placed over one’s penis, vulva, or vagina anus to keep infections at bay while performing oral sex. This dam is available without a prescription, explains Dr Ugran.

  • Pros: preventions of STIs, easy to use, convenient, and non-hormonal.
  • Cons: reduced sensation, limited availability, difficulty to use, and not a contraceptive but help prevent transmission of STIs.

4. Spermicides

Spermicides can be used with other methods to help avoid pregnancy without any side effects. It is a type of contraceptive that helps stop the sperm reach an egg in the female body. It is placed in the vagina before sex and comes in many forms such as creams, foam, suppositories, and gels. Think of it as an extra layer of protection if you are trying to avoid pregnancy.

  • Pros: convenient to use, non-hormonal, additional barrier, and immediate effectiveness.
  • Cons: effectiveness, irritation, allergic reactions, discomfort, messy to use, can be used only for a short duration, and may not be suitable for people with underlying health concerns.

Also Read: Know this before you use spermicidal creams and gels to prevent unwanted pregnancy

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5. Contraceptive gel

It is a gel that is applied inside the vagina before intercourse to stop sperm from meeting an egg. It works just like spermicide but it isn’t one.

  • Pros: Non-hormonal, easy to use, provides additional barrier if used with another contraceptive, and does not reduce satisfaction.
  • Cons: less effective than other contraceptives, messy to use, allergic reaction, irritation, short duration of action, and not protective against STIs.
Contraceptive gels can help you avoid pregnancy. Image courtesy: Freepik

Things to keep in mind

  • When it comes to choosing a barrier contraception method for teenagers, consider your lifestyle and preferences.
  • Discuss the options with them without any hesitation can help you make an informed decision based on individual needs.
  • Understand the pros and cons of each of these contraception methods to find the most suitable one for you.

Parents should be supportive of their teenagers in making responsible decisions regarding barrier methods of contraception to ensure they have a safe and healthy sexual experience.

Arushi Bidhuri

Arushi Bidhuri is a journalist with 7 years of experience in writing, editing, and conceptualizing story ideas across different genres, including health and wellness, lifestyle, politics, beauty, fashion, and more. Arushi has a strong connection in the industry that helps her write concise and original stories as she believes in working towards writing pieces that can enlighten people. ...Read More

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