Eddie is a Family Nurse Practitioner and Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics at Tulane University Health Sciences Center. For many years, he has provided health care to adolescents and young adults at the Drop-In Clinic in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has extensive experience talking to teens and young adults about maintaining their health and reducing their risk of getting pregnant and sexually transmitted infections. He can provide them with the tools necessary to make informed decisions about having sex, getting pregnant, or choosing a contraceptive method that is right for them or their partner.
This Week's Question
What’s the best way to prevent pregnancy?
The best way to prevent pregnancy is to not have penile/vaginal intercourse.
A spermicide is a gel that kills sperm. It is not the best way to prevent pregnancy because if this method is used by 100 women for one year, 30 may get pregnant.
100% male condom use can prevent pregnancy in most instances – out of 100 women using male condoms 100% of the time for one year, 11-16 may get pregnant.
Hormonal methods of pregnancy prevention include the vaginal ring, the patch and oral pills. These methods of pregnancy prevention are used by females only. When using the ring, she must be comfortable touching herself in the vaginal area because the ring is taken out after 3 weeks and a new one is inserted a week later. The patch must be changed weekly for 3 weeks – week 4 is without a patch. Pills must be taken every day at the same time of day. If 100 women used these methods exactly the way they are prescribed for one year, 5 may get pregnant.
Other hormonal forms – the shot, intrauterine device (IUD) and the implantable rods are more effective at preventing pregnancy. If 100 women used these methods for one year, only one would get pregnant.