Tag Archives: Birth Control

What is Teen Maze?


Teen Maze is a FREE and fun event where you have the opportunity to join other teens in exploring making the best decisions for your future. Just like in real life, each decision you make in this maze has a consequence. Join us on Saturday, March 17, at CGTC Titans Arena to find out where your decisions take you!

What to expect

Through this interactive maze, you’ll encounter different situations and outcomes that will greatly impact your opportunity to “win” or graduate. Some of these situations include a car crash scene, drunk driving simulation and going to court or jail. You’ll also learn about the consequences and responsibilities involving: dating, safe sex, drug abuse and so much more.

Why should I attend Teen Maze?

At the Teen Maze, you’ll find out what happens when you make good life decisions… and you’ll see how drastically a bad decision can change your life. After this event, you’ll be able to make informed decisions that could increase your chance of graduating and achieving your goals. Teen Maze is hosted by Macon-Bibb County Health Department in partnership with many community organizations.

How can I sign up?

You can register online right now! 

Once you sign up, you’ll need to complete the following forms before you attend Teen Maze:

Can I get checked for STDs without my parents knowing?


Can I get checked for STDs without my parents knowing?

Yes! The Teen Health Center provides FREE and CONFIDENTIAL services for those aged 11- 19. We always encourage you to include a trusted adult when making health decisions, however we understand that isn’t possible for everyone.

We can’t legally share your information

There are many laws that protect your rights which prevent us sharing your information without your knowledge.
**Please note: If you inform the staff that you are experiencing some form of violence, or have the intent to harm yourself or others, we are legally responsible to report this information.**

What rights do I have as a minor?

Your health and safety are always our main concern. As a minor under the age of 18, you can receive the following services without parental approval:

  • Contraceptive care and counseling
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Pregnancy options counseling
  • STD testing and treatment
  • HIV testing
  • Substance abuse services
  • Labor and delivery services (pregnancy and birth services)

Please note: Abortions do require parental notification. We do not provide abortions or the abortion pill at the Teen Health Center.

What can I buy as a minor?

There are plenty of items you can purchase to protect yourself and your partner against STDs, even if you’re under 18. BONUS: You can get all of the services listed here for FREE at the Teen Health Center. These are totally confidential services!

  • Male condoms
  • Female condoms
  • Lubrication
  • Emergency contraception (Learn the difference between emergency contraception vs. the abortion pill. The abortion pill cannot be purchased by a minor, and is not available at the Teen Health Center.)
  • Pregnancy tests

Interested in finding out more about Teen Health Services and your rights? Check it out!

What is “The Ring”?


What is the ring?

The NuvaRing, often called ‘the ring,’ is a monthly form of birth control. It’s an awesome option for those who don’t want to have to remember daily or weekly birth control pills or patches.

About the ring

The NuvaRing is a soft, flexible circular ring about 2 inches in diameter. It’s temperature-activated, meaning hormones are released once it reaches a certain temperature, so the ring must be kept refrigerated until you’re ready to use it. The ring is inserted into the vagina, where it sits comfortably and release hormones. These hormones create a thick mucus around the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to travel and meet an egg. The hormones also prevent eggs from being released from your ovaries (a process called ovulation). After three weeks, you remove the ring and have a period.

Using the ring

The ring is very easily inserted into the vagina, where it relaxes against the cervix. To insert it, simply squeeze the ring in half and gently push it up into your vaginal canal. When you let go, the ring will regain its circular shape, which helps prevent it from falling out. When it’s placed correctly, you won’t be able to feel the ring at all. The ring can remain in your vagina for up to three weeks. When you’re ready to remove it, wash your hands, insert your finger and gently pull it out. Throw your used ring away in the trash.

It’s unlikely that the ring will fall out, because your vaginal muscles will keep in place. However your ring does comes out or is taken out early, you can just rinse it off under cool water and reinsert it within three hours. If the ring is not inserted within three hours, you have an increased chance of becoming pregnant.

The Ring: Pros and Cons

The ring is a great method to prevent unplanned pregnancies and reduce menstrual cramps, and it’s much less effort than taking a daily pill or applying a weekly patch. However, to use the ring, you have to be comfortable with your body and must be able to insert the ring inside your vagina.

Remember all birth control options have pros and cons. We can help you choose the one that fits you and your lifestyle best! It’s also important to use a dual method because birth control doesn’t protect you from STDs. Always use birth control with some form of barrier method, like internal/external condoms or dental dams.

Want to know more about birth control options?

What is “The Patch”?


What is the patch?

The patch is a form of birth control that lasts up to one week. It’s great for women who don’t want to take a pill everyday!

About the Patch

The patch looks like a two-square-inch band aid that can be put on the buttocks, lower abdomen or upper body (just not the breasts). It releases two types of hormones, estrogen and progestin. These hormones prevent the body from releasing an egg (a process known as ovulation). After seven days of wearing the patch, you remove it and replace with a new one. During the fourth week you won’t wear a patch at all, which prompts your body to have a period.

Wearing and removing the Patch

It’s important to think about where you want to wear your patch, because once it’s applied, it’ll be there for a whole week. To apply the patch, first make sure your skin is clean and oil-free. Hold the patch and peel half of the clear plastic backing away. Don’t touch the sticky part with your fingers, because it’s very sticky and will be hard to get your fingers off. Place the patch on your skin and remove the rest of the clear plastic backing. Pat the whole patch in place.

You should check your patch every day to make sure it’s still securely in place. You may see some slight fuzz forming around the edges, and that’s OK as long as it is still firmly in place. Don’t use lotions or body oils near your patch, as those can cause the patch to fall off. When you’re ready to remove the patch after seven days, just dip a cotton swab or tissue in baby oil and wipe the edges of your patch. Pull gently at the edges and continue wiping. Once the patch is removed, fold it in half and throw it away in the trash—not the toilet.

The Patch: Pros and Cons

The patch is an excellent option for women who want to prevent unplanned pregnancies and develop a predictable period. It’s also less effort than remembering to take a daily pill! However, the patch is less effective for those who weigh more than 198 pounds. Some women may experience slight bleeding between periods or skin irritation where the patch sits.

Remember all birth control options have pros and cons. We can help you choose the one that fits you and your lifestyle best! It’s also important to use a dual method because birth control doesn’t protect you from STDs. Always use birth control with some form of barrier method, like internal/external condoms or dental dams.

Want to know more about birth control options?

What is “The Pill”?


What is 'The Pill'?

Birth control pills, often called ‘the pill,’ are a great form of birth control for people who are responsible with their medication. For the pill to work effectively, you have to take it at the same time, every single day. A great way to remember to take your pill on time everyday is to set an alarm and download a period tracker app.

About the pill

The pill’s effectiveness in preventing pregnancy is all based on whether you take it on time, consistently. The pill has to be taken at the same time every day. There are two forms of birth control pills: one that has a combination of estrogen/progestin, which prevents your body releasing an egg (a process known as ovulation). The other kind of pill is made up of progestin only, which is for people who are sensitive to combination pills.

I missed my pill! What do I do?

If you’ve only missed one pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you don’t remember until the next day, go ahead and take two pills that day. If you forget to take your pills for two days, take two pills the day you remember and two pills the next day. You will then be back on schedule. But remember: forgetting to take your pills often will significantly reduce the effectiveness of your birth control. So even though you think you’re protected against unplanned pregnancy, you may actually still be at risk. Your best bet is to be as consistent as possible with your birth control pills. If you realize that you frequently forget to take your pills, then maybe another birth control option like the ring, the Depo Shot or the implant might be good for you instead!

It’s OK to skip your period!

Most 28-day birth control pill packs include a week of iron or sugar pills (called placebo pills), which allow you to have a period. But if you want to skip your period this month, it’s perfectly safe for you to skip the placebo week and start your new pack immediately. If you’re a responsible person and hate having periods, this method could be great for you! It’s important to tell your health care provider that you intend on skipping your periods, so they’re able to prescribe you a few extra packs.

Remember all birth control options have pros and cons. We can help you choose the one that fits you and your lifestyle best! It’s also important to use a dual method because birth control doesn’t protect you from STDs. Always use birth control with some form of barrier method, like internal/external condoms or dental dams.

Want to know more about birth control options?

What is the Depo Shot?


What is the Depo Shot?

The Depo Shot (also known as the Depo-Provera shot) is an easy birth control method that only needs to be injected once every three months.

About the Depo Shot

The shot is given every three months either in the arm or the buttocks. The shot contains progestin a hormone that prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg (a process known as ovulation). The shot also makes the body create a thick mucus around the cervix, making it harder for the sperm to travel and meet the egg.

Afraid of needles?

If you want to try this method but are afraid of a quick five-second shot, remember this: A little prick is easier than an unplanned pregnancy! If the Depo shot truly isn’t right for you, ask about your other options for safe and effective birth control. There are many additional birth control options available.

Depo Shot: Pros and Cons

The shot is very easy to use, and you only need it once every 3 months. It takes the stress out of remembering to take a daily pill. Depo is an extremely private form of birth control, and doesn’t interrupt the heat of the moment. But, some women may experience irregular bleeding for the first 6-12 months while on Depo. Others may notice a change in appetite, or could gain 5 pounds in the first year of use.

Remember all birth control options have pros and cons. We can help you choose the one that fits you and your lifestyle best! It’s also important to use a dual method because birth control doesn’t protect you from STDs. Always use birth control with some form of barrier method, like internal/external condoms or dental dams.

Want to know more about birth control options?

How does birth control work?


How birth control works

We all know birth control helps prevent pregnancy, but did you know there are other health benefits from taking birth control?

How hormonal birth control works

Birth control provides three great ways to prevent pregnancy. One thing it does is create a thicker mucus around the cervix, making it harder for sperm to travel and meet an egg. The second way birth control works is that it thins out the uterine lining (where a fertilized egg would latch on to create a pregnancy), making it harder for pregnancy to happen. Third, birth control prevents eggs from being released—a process called ovulation—at all.

Health benefits of birth control

Birth control isn’t just good at preventing pregnancy, though. It’s also really helpful to your health! If you have heavy or painful periods, birth control can help by thinning out the uterine lining. This makes cramps less severe and gives you lighter, easier to manage periods. Another beneficial side effect from birth control is that it can reduce your chances of developing ovarian cancer. The prevention of an egg is directly related to reducing ovarian cancer.

Non-hormonal birth control

If you’re sensitive to hormones, or just don’t want to take hormonal birth control, the Paraguard copper IUD is still a great birth control option. This device sits in the uterus and prevents sperm and egg from meeting. You’ll still release an egg, your uterine lining will remain the same, and you won’t build up any cervical mucus, so your periods will continue on as they always have. Still, Paraguard is an extremely effective form of birth control that can last up to ten years!

Remember all birth control options have pros and cons. We can help you choose the one that fits you and your lifestyle best! It’s also important to use a dual method because birth control doesn’t protect you from STDs. Always use birth control with some form of barrier method, like internal/external condoms or dental dams.

Want to know more about birth control options?

Why are condoms so important?


Why are condoms so important?

Condoms are the most common form of birth control used today. They are a great way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

What is a condom?

The male condom (external condom) is usually made of thin latex that can stretch over the penis. Condoms also come in non-latex versions in case you or your partner are allergic to latex. They can come in various flavors, colors and types of lubricant, but condoms that are flavored should only be used for oral sex. Condoms can be lubricated with a spermicide. Spermicide is a chemical that kills sperm (only for vaginal sex). It is suggested to use water-based lube when using condoms.

How do I use a condom?

Condoms are relatively straight-forward to use, but there are some important guidelines to follow to make sure they don’t break or lose effectiveness.

  • Storage: Keep condoms in a cool and dark place, like a drawer. Don’t keep your condoms in your wallet or your car! If condoms get too hot, they might break or snap.
  • Expiration Date: All condom packages have a date printed on them. Double-check the date before you use a condom, every time. If the expiration date has passed, don’t use it! The condom is no longer safe for protecting you from STDs or pregnancy.
  • Opening: To open a condom package, gently tear the top open with your fingers. Don’t use scissors or any other sharp edge—that could puncture the condom.
  • Technique: Pinch the tip of the condom before you put it on—this allows space for semen. Then, roll the condom down the penis.

What do condoms protect you from?

Condoms are a cheap and easy birth control that protects you from pregnancy and STDs. Condoms prevent body fluids from mixing. Semen and vaginal fluid are considered bodily fluids. Semen is a fluid that comes out of a penis after orgasm. Vaginal fluid is from the vagina to prepare for sex. Condoms are not 100% effective; there is the possibility of the condom breaking from using it wrong. Condoms also don’t protect against STDs (like herpes and HIV) that are spread from skin to skin contact.

Learn more about condoms:

Thinking about getting the birth control implant?


Nexplanon is a small, flexible rod about the size of a matchstick. It’s inserted in your upper arm by a healthcare professional in the office. You’ll be able to feel it, but no one will really see it. In fact, people probably won’t even know you have it! Nexplanon is 99% effective and works for up to 3 years, so you can get it and forget it. No more worrying or remembering to take a pill every day or visit the doctor’s office for a shot every few weeks!

Do we still have to use condoms with Nexplanon?

If inserted during your period the Nexplanon is immediately effective. If you don’t have your period when it’s put in you should use a condom for at least 7 days. Wearing a condom every time you have sex is still a good idea with any birth control as a backup method and to prevent STIs.

Will Nexplanon break, fall out or get lost in my arm?

No! Once it’s placed, the Nexplanon will remain safely in it’s spot for 3 years until removed by a trained health care professional. There is less than 0.1% risk that the rod will break, and that can only happen if it’s bent back and forth in the arm repeatedly.

Is Nexplanon really expensive?

Good news! If you’re 19 and younger, you can get Nexplanon for FREE at a NCHD health department or the Teen Health Center. If you’re 20 or older, you can talk to your local health department about how to get the Nexplanon at low or no cost to you.

I have Nexplanon and now I’m spotting… is this OK?

Spotting and irregular periods are a common side effect of Nexplanon and it’s nothing to worry about. It takes a few months for your body to get used to the new device. Spotting may continue for up to 3 months. If it continues for longer than 6 months, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to control the bleeding.

Not sure if Nexplanon is right for you? Have more questions? Check out these links:

Birth control spotlight: An I-U-what?


An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, T shaped device, less than the size of a quarter, which sits inside your uterus (womb) and prevents pregnancy for 3 to 10 years. IUDs are easily inserted by your doctor, nurse practitioner or midwife, and they can also be easily removed whenever you’re ready to have a baby. They’re 99% at preventing pregnancy, so you know they’re very reliable!

Who Should Get an IUD?

If you are sexually active and looking for birth control that you don’t have to worry about taking every day, week, or month, then the IUD may be for you! IUDs make it easy to prevent unplanned pregnancies, because you don’t have to remember anything. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if an IUD is a good match for you.

What Kinds of IUDs Are There?

There are two main types of IUDs. Hormonal IUDs, including Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena and Liletta, have a small amount of the hormone progestin that is slowly released. This thickens cervical mucus so sperm can’t get through, prevents ovulation and also thins the lining of the uterus. Bonus- the hormonal IUD can help with heavy periods and cramps!

The non-hormonal IUD, Paragard, is covered in thin copper. This copper is toxic to sperm, killing it before it can reach an egg to fertilize.

Can IUDs Get Lost or Stuck?

There is a small risk that an IUD can push itself through the wall of the uterus. This is very rare. More often, people are referring to their strings getting lost. You may not be able to feel the strings, but your provider may be able to see them on exam. Other more common side effects include spotting, cramping and missed periods.

Do I Need Condoms if I Have an IUD?

The copper IUD is immediately effective once placed and the hormonal IUDs are effective if inserted when you have your period. Otherwise, they take up to one week to become effective in preventing pregnancy. Using a condom is still important as a backup method against pregnancy and to prevent STDs. If you have multiple partners or get vaginal infections a lot, keep using condoms every time you have sex.

Want more info on IUDs and other birth control options? Check out these links:

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