Though the overwhelming majority of sexually active women and men in America do use birth control, there are no
methods that are guaranteed to work 100% of the time. In a recent survey of new mothers in Forsyth County, over 40%
said that they had been using some form of birth control when they became pregnant. Many couples who do use birth
control may not be using it correctly or may not be using it each time they have sex.
The best way for a sexually active couple to prevent pregnancy is to plan ahead and be prepared.
- Find a birth control method that is right for you. Different women prefer different methods. Many hormonal
methods (like the pill, the patch, the ring) have very low failure rates but might not be safe for women with
certain medical conditions. For more information on different birth control methods, call your health care
provider or go to womenshealth.gov.
- Make a plan just in case you ever have a birth control emergency. A "birth control emergency" can happen any time
a couple has a birth control failure (such as a condom that breaks) or has sex without any protection. Sexual
assault against women who are able to become pregnant can also be a birth control emergency.
Emergency birth control can significantly reduce the risk of becoming pregnant AFTER a birth control emergency. Plan
B is the brand name of the emergency contraception medication available in the United States.
A woman or a couple can purchase Plan B from a pharmacist without a prescription to have on hand just in case she ever
has an emergency situation. The medicine has the best chance of preventing pregnancy if taken within 24 hours after a
birth control emergency. Taking it as soon as possible after unprotected sex is very important. The medication has a
4 year shelf life and costs about $25 - fairly inexpensive for a 4 year back-up plan to help prevent pregnancy.
Remember that although Plan B is highly effective, it is NOT as effective as regularly using a reliable form of birth
control. Plan B also offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV/AIDS.