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Facing An Unplanned Pregnancy

Wondering how to avoid unexpected pregnancy? Correctly using multiple forms of birth control every time you have sex is the best method of unplanned pregnancy prevention there is.

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3 Ways to Prevent Unplanned Pregnancy

Pre-marital sexual intercourse is more accepted than ever in the United States. A survey released in 2002 indicates that by age 20, 77 percent of Americans have had sex (whether marital or pre-marital) and, by age 44, 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex. Attitudes toward sex outside marriage have become more lax and, in turn, one other issue has become mainstream: how to avoid unexpected pregnancy.

With so many people having sex before marriage, it’s safe to assume a vast majority of them aren’t doing so to create a family. They are often young and may have other life goals before becoming a parent (if they wish to become one at all) — so unplanned pregnancy prevention is more important to them than ever.

The vast majority of unplanned pregnancies occur because of one reason: the improper use or lack of contraceptives. There are only three ways to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, and it’s critical that anyone considering having sex understand the precautions involved before diving in.

1. Practice Abstinence.

The only sure way to avoid unwanted pregnancy is by practicing abstinence — that is, not engaging in sexual intercourse at all.

While this method may work for some, for the majority of sexually active adults, abstinence is not an option. In fact, abstinence-only education can do more harm than good. Those who are taught only to avoid sex are often not taught the methods of preventing unplanned pregnancy when they do engage in sex. Therefore, they usually are more likely to experience an unwanted pregnancy.

While abstinence can be a valid method of unplanned pregnancy prevention, it’s important that those considering having sex are also aware of the other two methods available to them.

2. Use Multiple Forms of Birth Control.

The proper use of birth control is by far the most effective way for those having sexual intercourse to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Using multiple forms of birth control is even better.

Not every form of birth control is best for everyone, so it’s important that people speak with their doctor about the best ways to prevent unplanned pregnancy in their sex life. Here are a few forms of birth control to consider:

Not all of these methods will protect against STIs as well as unplanned pregnancies, which is why many medical professionals will advise the use of one or more methods. Learn about more methods of unintended pregnancy prevention here.

3. Utilize Emergency Contraception, if Needed.

The last method of unplanned pregnancy prevention is often used when people fail to use birth control or their birth control method is used improperly. As a last effort to avoid unwanted pregnancy, they utilize emergency contraception.

Emergency contraception comes in a couple of forms:

Contrary to popular belief, emergency contraception like the Plan B pill does not induce an abortion. Pregnancy does not occur right after sex, so taking emergency contraception as soon as possible after unprotected sex can prevent a pregnancy from occurring. Emergency contraception will not affect an existing pregnancy.

Which form of emergency contraception you use will depend upon several factors. Planned Parenthood provides more advice for this topic here.

Hands down, the most effective method of unintended pregnancy prevention is correctly using multiple forms of birth control every time you have sex. Women can get pregnant even during their first time having sex, and it only takes one unprotected encounter to result in an unplanned pregnancy.

If you have more questions about how to avoid unexpected pregnancy, please speak with your doctor.