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Once sexual activity occurs, a method of birth control should be implemented. There are many different forms, including abstinence, pills, condoms, implants, and shots. Read on for more info.

Abstinence is the only form of birth control that is 100% effective. It means abstaining from any kind of sexual contact.

Pills are another form of birth control; most work by preventing eggs from being released by your ovaries. The hormones estrogen and progesterone also thicken your cervical mucous, increasing the difficulty of sperm reaching your uterus.

An IUD is a small t-shaped piece of plastic that is inserted into your uterus and prevents sperm from fertilizing your eggs.

Implants are just what they sound like! A very small implant is put under your skin and it prevents pregnancy with hormones for up to four years.

Condoms are the most well known method of preventing pregnancy. There are both male and female versions. Keep in mind that they must be used properly for full effect, which includes lowering the risk of STIs.

Other hormonal methods are the ring, which you insert for three weeks in your vagina, the patch, which is replaced weekly, and the shot, which is administered once every three months.

Non hormonal methods include the diaphragm, which when used in conjunction with spermicide prevents the sperm from reaching your cervix, the cervical cap, which works much the same way as the diaphragm, and a sponge, which contains spermicide that is continuously released. Each of these must be placed far up inside of your vagina before sex to be effective.

Further, there is the method of fertility tracking which requires an acute awareness of your body and it’s cycle. Talk with your doctor for more information.

One last option to consider: there are many ways to be intimate without having vaginal sexual intercourse.

If you had a momentous accident, there are emergency contraceptive pills widely available at pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription- however, this should be a last resort to any of the above mentioned methods. It works for up to five days after unprotected sex.

For more information, checkout thenationalcampaign.org’s page on birth control.