The birth control burden

The birth control burden

Kristen Noel, Rampage Special Reporter

The Rampage staff is by no means advocating for teenage sex. However, we know having sex rather than practicing abstinence is a choice teens will and are making. We are advocates for awareness and responsibility. This article is meant to be informational. 

*Names have been changed to protect privacy. 

There are dozens of birth control options, and if you’re looking to avoid a pregnancy, it is important to find which one is right for you. Deciding on your preferred method relies on many factors like your health, the effectiveness, your need for sexually transmitted disease protection, and your desire for fertility in the future. Listed in this article are the main birth control options that are readily available, ranging in price, and are a variety of methods.

The Pill

Birth control pills are around 91% effective if used regularly and according to instructions. To obtain the pill, you need a prescription. Many people have health insurance that will cover the cost of the pill, which ranges anywhere from $0-$50 per month.

There are many different brands of birth control pills, so if one brand gives you negative side-affects or isn’t right for you, you can try another. Brittany*, a 16-year-old from Iowa, said about her experience on Levlen, “I didn’t have any problems with it, and it dramatically helped clear my acne.”


According to, over 450 million condoms are used every year. Condoms are the most widely known contraceptive, but are only 85% effective.

They can be purchased at nearly every drug store or supermarket, and average about a dollar each, but many cities offer free condoms at a local sexual health clinic. Condoms are a great option to prevent STDs, as well as pregnancy.


IUD’s, or intrauterine devices, are one of the most low-maintenance and popular methods of birth control today. It is a device that is inserted into your uterus to prevent pregnancy, and can last up to 12 years. IUD’s are 99% effective and can cost up to $1,300 without insurance.

One bonus of an IUD is it can be used as an emergency contraception if inserted within 5 days of sex.

According to, there are five brands of IUD’s that are FDA approved, allowing for many options to find the one that fits you best.


Nexplanon is a small rod that is implanted into your arm and releases hormones to prevent pregnancy. It can last up to 5 years and is 99% effective. The implant can cost up to $1,300 and removal can cost up to $300.

Although it can be expensive, it is a very reliable option, is covered by most insurance plans, and is one of the most used forms of contraception in the world.

The Depo Shot

The Depo Shot is a 94% effective contraceptive that is injected once every three months. It is very important to remember to get the shot on a regular basis, otherwise it will not be constructive at preventing pregnancy.

According to, approximately 6 in 100 women who used the depo shot become pregnant each year, mainly due to not injecting it regularly. To prevent this, there are many birth control tracking apps to let you know when it is time to set up your next appointment.


The NuvaRing is a flexible ring you wear inside your vagina that releases hormones to prevent pregnancy. It should be replaced monthly and can cost up to $200. If you change your ring on time and it doesn’t fall out, it is 91% effective at preventing pregnancy.

A prescription is required, can be easily acquired from your doctor. You can also purchase a NuvaRing at drugstores and health clinics.


A birth control patch is worn on your body for three weeks, replaced once a week, and then one week without it before repeating the process again. The patch releases hormones in your body that prevent sperm from meeting an egg.

It is 91% effective and can cost up to $150 at a drugstore without insurance, but a prescription is needed for it.

Internal Condom

Although it is typical to think of a man wearing a condom, there are internal condoms made for women. They are plastic pouches you wear in your vagina that stop sperm from reaching an egg.

The condom can cost up to $3 and is able to be purchased mainly online or at drugstores. When used correctly, they can be 79% effective at preventing pregnancy.


In 1882, Dr. C. Hasse invented the diaphragm. It is a shallow silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina before sex and blocks your cervix. Diaphragms are often used with spermicide to keep it in place.

A prescription is required to obtain one and it can cost up to $75, but it is 88% effective and can be purchased at drugstores and health clinics.


The birth control sponge is a sponge you insert into your vagina before sex that blocks your cervix and prevents sperm from reaching an egg. The sponge can be 76-88% effective and is available at drugstores without a prescription. A pack of 3 will usually go for $15.

You can wear the sponge for 24 hours. It is a hormone-free contraceptive.

Cervical Cap

A cervical cap is a small silicone cup you use every time you have sex. It covers the cervix. It is usually used with spermicide to keep it in place. Cervical caps are easy to access at drugstores or clinics after receiving a prescription from a doctor.

They are 71-86% effective and can cost $0-$90. It can remain in place for over 48 hours and comes in three different sizes to fit you perfectly.

Plan B

Plan B is a pill you take up to 72 hours after sex to stop a pregnancy before it starts. It’s 85% effective and can cost up to $60. Plan B is available at most drug stores, but since it is an over the counter medication, it can only be purchased by 15 year olds and up.

It is not a traditional birth control; it is an emergency birth control, since you take it after sex, instead of planning before sex. If you are looking for a more regular birth control option, Plan B is probably not right for you.

Sterilization & Vasectomy

If you’re looking for a permanent birth control, you may consider sterilization or a vasectomy. For men, a vasectomy is a surgery performed where they cut or block the tubes in the scrotum that carry sperm. A vasectomy is 99% effective. Although they are reversible, your fertility may never come back after a reversal.

For women, sterilization is a surgery that blocks the fallopian tubes from sending an egg to be fertilized. It is also 99% effective, permanent, and extremely difficult to reverse. Both surgeries can cost up to $6,000 but may be covered by insurance, depending on your plan.

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