I feel like I write these words a lot but they’re important words so despite feeling like I’m repeating myself, I’m writing them again. The only way to be 100% sure you’re not going to get pregnant is to choose to remain abstinent. I know that’s not something a lot of women like to hear but it’s the truth. I’m not a conservative woman and I believe a woman should be in charge of her body and her sex life but that doesn’t change the fact that if you are a woman who has reached sexual maturity, having sex could mean getting pregnant. With that said, there are a lot of things you can do to reduce the chances of getting pregnant but if you want to know how to not get pregnant, my answer will always be the same – choose not to have sex until you’re ready for a baby.
How to Not Get Pregnant: Your Birth Control Options
If you want to know how to not get pregnant but don’t want abstain from sex entirely (which, let’s be honest, most women don’t want to do) choosing an effective birth control method is the best defense you have. There are a lot of options out there in terms of birth control so educate yourself on what those options are and choose what is right for you. If you’re having trouble deciding, consult with your doctor. Some birth control methods are covered by insurance while others aren’t. If money is an issue, you may want to find out what options you can afford and narrow the list down from there. Some of the most common and most effective forms of birth control are:
- Birth control pills
- Diaphragms and spermicidal gel
- Vaginal implants
This is by no means a complete list and doesn’t even cover all of the most common forms of birth control but it represents the variety of options available for women who want to have safer sex. All of the options on the above list are considered highly effective when properly used but it’s important to note that sometimes even the most effective birth control methods can fail and they can fail for a variety of reasons. Let’s talk about those reasons and what you can do to reduce the chances of birth control failure now.
How to Not Get Pregnant: Getting the Most Out of Your Birth Control
If you want your birth control method to be effective, you need to make sure you use it as directed. Improper use is the biggest reason birth control methods fail. If you aren’t clear about something with your birth control, ask your doctor or a pharmacist. The first step of knowing how to not get pregnant is knowing how to use your birth control properly. Here are a few simple tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your birth control.
- If you’re using a condom, make sure your partner pulls his penis out right after he ejaculates. Allowing him to leave his penis inside you after he ejaculates increases the chances the condom will slip or come off because after ejaculation, the man’s penis will begin to go soft meaning the condom will no longer be a tight fit. If the condom slips, you may wind up getting pregnant.
- Know what to do about missed doses if you’re taking birth control pills. Birth control pills are only effective if you take them properly. Find out what you should do in the event of a missed dose when you first get your prescription so you’ll be prepared if you do forget a pill.
- Make sure you store your birth control properly and check for expiration dates. Expired birth control products will be less effective and some methods will be less effective if they are stored in an area that is too hot or too cold. The instructions on the package or in the insert that comes with the package should give you storage directions. If not, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- If you’re using a diaphragm or a vaginal implant, make sure you have it replaced as often as recommended by your physician. Using a diaphragm or implant longer than advised may make it less effective and possibly even dangerous.
Let’s say you’ve been careful but something went wrong and you believe your birth control method has failed. Plan B may be right for you. Plan B is not birth control. It is an emergency contraceptive that is used after unprotected sex or after a birth control method has failed to prevent pregnancy. It is also not an abortion pill and must be taken within 72 hours of the unsafe sexual encounter.