Use Multiple Forms of Birth Control

The proper use of birth control is by far the most effective way for those having sexual intercourse to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Using multiple forms of birth control is even better.

Not every form of birth control is best for everyone, so it’s important that people speak with their doctor about the best ways to prevent unplanned pregnancy in their sex life. Here are a few forms of birth control to consider:

Condoms: Condoms are the most popular and cheapest method of birth control. A latex sheath covers the penis to prevent unplanned pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). When used properly, condoms are 98 percent effective, but with typical use, they are actually only 85 percent effective. Make sure to use condoms correctly to maximize their prevention of unplanned pregnancy and STIs.

Hormonal Birth Control Pills: Women can take birth control pills to prevent ovulation and pregnancy, but this method does not prevent STIs. You will need to take your daily pill at the same time every day in order for this method to be effective. When used properly, the birth control pill is 91 percent effective. A prescription is required for this contraceptive.

Birth Control Implant: Otherwise known as Nexplanon, the birth control implant is a small rod inserted into a woman’s arm that prevents ovulation and thickens the mucus on her cervix for up to four years to prevent pregnancy. This birth control method must be inserted by a doctor, and it is 99 percent effective.

IUD: An IUD (intrauterine device) is another inserted method of birth control. It’s a tiny device implanted into a woman’s uterus to block the movement of a sperm cell to an egg and prevent ovulation. There are hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs, and they can last for years. They are 99 percent effective and can even be used as a form of emergency contraception (more on that below).

Fertility Awareness Methods: Women and men using Fertility Awareness Methods (FAMs) track a woman’s ovulation cycle to avoid having sex when she is ovulating (or, if they wish to start a family, have sex during this time). Also known as “the rhythm method,” FAMs are only 76 to 88 percent effective because they are difficult to use and a woman’s cycle can be