If you choose to be sexually active, our health care providers will help you understand your birth control options so you can pick one that works best for you. We will listen and work with you in a respectful, personalized approach so you understand your options and choose one that fits your personal situation.
Emergency contraception can stop a pregnancy before it starts. It can be used up to five days after unprotected sex, but is most effective when used as soon as possible. Emergency contraception does not cause miscarriage or abortion, but it will delay ovulation. Even if you are pregnant or become pregnant, it will not cause harm to a developing embryo. Emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Levonorgestrel (Plan B / Ella) is available over-the-counter at Boynton Pharmacy as well as in a Coffman Student Union vending machine. Levonorgestrel (Plan B / Ella) may also be billed to your insurance (often at low or no cost) with a prescription from your provider or upon request from a pharmacist at Boynton Pharmacy. Call the number on your insurance card to ask about your coverage.
Ulipristal (Ella) is an alternative emergency contraception. It is only available by prescription from a provider. It is effective for 5 days.
See our Emergency Contraceptive Options chart for more information about precautions, side effects, other product info, sexual assault resources and more.
Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)
These options provide highly effective contraception for an extended period of time.
- The implant (Nexplanon) is a form of hormonal birth control. It contains progesterone and is inserted into the upper arm. The implant prevents pregnancy by stopping an egg from being released (ovulation). Many experience lighter periods, or no periods at all. The implant is easy to remove if desired and should be replaced every three years. Make an appointment with us to see if an implant is an option for you. It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are small T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. IUDs can prevent pregnancy from five to 10 years, depending on the type best suited for you, and can easily be removed at any time. Make an appointment with us to see if an IUD is an option for you. IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
- Depo-Provera shots contain progestin, a hormone that stops an egg from being released (ovulation). Depo-Provera lasts for three months, after which you will need to come in to receive another shot. It can take nine to 12 months for fertility to resume after you stop the shot. Depo-Provera does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Pill, patch, ring
The pill, patch, and ring all use estrogen and progesterone to stop an egg from being released (ovulation). You take the pill once a day, at the same time every day. The patch sticks on your skin and only needs to be changed once a week. You insert the ring into your vagina, leave it in place for three weeks, then take it out on the fourth week.
Make an appointment with us to see if the pill, patch, or ring is an option for you. None of these methods protect against sexually transmitted infections.
These methods are called “barriers” because they provide a physical barrier between the sperm and uterus. You should use barriers with a spermicide to prevent pregnancy. You need an appointment to get a diaphragm but condoms are available without a prescription at Boynton Pharmacy. Condoms (male and female) greatly reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
Students can order safer sex supplies online at no cost.
Spermicides contain chemicals that immobilize or kill sperm. They come in a separate tube or can be found in a sponge that can be inserted in the vagina. They are not as effective when used alone and are best used in combination with condoms, diaphragms, or cervical caps. Spermicides do not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
This involves tracking normal menstrual cycles (periods), predicting possible days of ovulation, and avoiding having sex on those days. It’s best used by those with regular cycles and after tracking cycles for 6-12 months. This is an inexpensive, hormone-free option. It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Abstinence is the decision to not have sex. It is the only way to completely prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Remember that pre-ejaculate (pre-cum) can contain trace amounts of sperm, so pregnancy can still occur even without having penetrative sex.
Sterilization is a permanent and highly effective form of birth control. However, sterilization should only be considered by those who are absolutely certain they don’t desire pregnancy at present or any time in the future. This procedure is done by a healthcare provider outside Boynton. Sterilization does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.