It can be difficult to know when to start using birth control and which option is best for you. Here, an expert discusses what to consider before starting birth control. Many people start thinking about birth control when they are considering becoming sexually active.
It may not be appealing to talk to your family healthcare provider about sex and contraception, but it is empowering to take a step to protect yourself and any partners. If you would like support during your first appointment, consider bringing a trusted friend or loved one.
At your appointment, your healthcare provider will likely ask about your medical history, any sexual experiences you have had, and your relationships. They will also ask about your first period, the regularity of your periods, and any symptoms you experience during your menstrual cycle (such as cramping, mood changes, or headaches).
You do not need to be 100% sure of which method you want to use at the appointment, as your healthcare provider should be able to provide lots of helpful information. However, if you feel more comfortable looking at your options beforehand, they can answer any questions you may have. They may even suggest a method that you had not considered before.
Barrier methods of birth control, such as condoms, are the only types of contraception that can protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you feel uncomfortable or have questions about STIs during your appointment with a healthcare provider, remember that you have the right to ask for clarification or end the appointment.