Birth Control Glossary

TermMeaning
Family PlanningFamily planning is all about controlling the number of kids in a family and the intervals between their births. It's about getting pregnant when it's right for you and your partner.
ImplantThe implant is a small rod - about the size of a matchstick - that's inserted into your upper arm. It releases the hormone progestin, which keeps your ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens your cervical mucus. This helps block sperm from getting to the egg. The implant prevents pregnancy for up to four years.
IUDThe IUD (intrauterine device) is a t-shaped piece of plastic that's inserted into your uterus to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg. IUDs are long-acting, preventing pregnancy anywhere between three and twelve years, but you can remove them to get pregnant at any time. There's a few different varieties, including Mirena, ParaGard, Skyla, and Liletta.
AbstinenceNo vaginal sex 100% of the time means no pregnancies 100% of the time - but you gotta have willpower. If you're avoiding sexual activity altogether, you'll be safe from sexually transmitted infections too.
SterilizationBoth guys and gals can get sterilized, which is procedure that prevents pregnancy.
The PillThe pills, AKA oral contraception, is a pill you take once a day at the same time every day to prevent pregnancy. The Pill works by releasing hormones that keep your ovaries from releasing eggs. There are lots of different brands of The Pill, ask your health care provider which one is right for you.
The ShotThe shot is also called "Depo" (short for Depo-Provera) and it's got you covered for a full three months. The shot contains progestin, a hormone that prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs.
The RingThe ring (or NuvaRing) is a flexible, bendable ring that you insert into your vagina for three weeks at a time, then take out for the fourth week. It's as effective as The Pill if you use it properly.
The PatchThe Patch (called Xulane) kinda looks like a square Band-Aid. You put a new Patch on once per week for three weeks in a row, and then go without one for the fourth week. The patch is easy to use and fairly effective if you use it properly.
CondomShow some love for the glove! Condoms can be gotten without a prescription and they lower the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections by keeping sperm inside the condom and out of your vagina.
Female CondomFemale condoms (also known as internal condom) are great if you like to be the one in control. You have make sure to use the condoms correctly, every time, no matter what, in order for them to be effective though. You insert the female condom inside your vagina before vaginal intercourse. Female condoms are okay for preventing pregnancy, but they're more effective when used with spermicide.
Emergency ContraceptionEmergency contraception (also called "EC" or "the morning after pill") can stop a pregnancy in its tracks before it starts (it's not the same as an abortion pill). You want to take EC as soon as possible though - you've only got up to 5 days after unprotected sex for them to be most effective. DYK: Guys can pick up EC too?
Withdrawal or Pulling OutWithdrawal is simple and free, but it's not the most effective method. Why? Because your guy has to do it exactly right every single time for it to work - he needs to have extreme body awareness and the ability to predict ejaculation.
Fertility Awareness or Natural Family PlanningThis method is all about tracking your period to determine the days you can get pregnant. This can be tricky to do, and to be most effective it needs to be done daily.