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What is contraception?

Contraception, or birth control, is a protective method that allows you to have sex without any risk of pregnancy, or hardly any! Some contraceptives, such as condoms, also protect you from blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections (BBSTIs)

Here are the different kinds of contraception:


No contraceptive is 100% effective, but some of them are as much as 99.8% effective. So the risk of pregnancy is very low if you use appropriate protection every time you have sex.

Some contraceptive methods, such as the patch and the pill, can have an impact on your moods because of the hormones. Others can be uncomfortable.

Don’t hesitate to call Tel-jeunes to learn more or consult your doctor to find out which contraceptive is most appropriate for you. You can also discuss this with your partner to see which method is best for both of you.

The condom is your best friend: it protects you against unwanted pregnancy AND many BBSTIs. Find out how to use it!

Did you know?

CondomThe condom is the most widely used contraceptive method. Why?

Condoms are the only way to protect yourself against both pregnancy and many BBSTIs. What’s more, they’re accessible to everyone: in drugstores, from health care professionals, at school, etc. They’re not expensive and sometimes they’re even distributed free!

ContraceptionIs one particular contraceptive method best for teens?

Everyone has a contraceptive method that suits them best. For example, some girls find it difficult to remember to take the pill every day at the same time. And condoms have to be put on every time you have sex. If that’s a disadvantage for you or if you have questions, talk to your doctor or a pharmacist. They’ll be able to advise you on the best contraceptive method for YOU.

Consulting a health care professionalCan I consult without my parents finding out?

After age 14, your medical file is confidential. You can consult a health care professional without having to tell your parents. However, your parents’ consent is necessary if medical treatment could represent a serious health risk for you or if it could have serious, permanent effects. Your parents will also be informed if you spend more than 12 hours in a health or social services institution.

Contraception: who’s responsible?Is contraception a shared responsibility?

Yes. The burden isn’t on one person alone: both partners are responsible for ensuring that they have safe sex. In a heterosexual relationship, the guy can support and encourage his partner. He can help her choose and pay for a contraceptive method and plan how they’ll use it. And the girl can tell him about the contraceptive method she uses. That way, the guy will feel more involved and play a more active role.

Withdrawal techniqueDoes withdrawal (coitus interruptus) work?

Withdrawal means that the man withdraws his penis before ejaculating, which he does away from the woman’s genitals. It’s a very risky practice because you need a lot of self-control to manage to pull out at the right time. Furthermore, pre-ejaculatory fluid, which is secreted when a man is aroused, can also contain sperm cells. So the woman can still get pregnant; in fact, this happens 22 times out of 100. As well, this method doesn’t protect against BBSTIs.

PrescriptionCan a nurse prescribe a contraceptive for me?

Yes. A doctor can give a specially trained nurse a prescription, called a collective prescription for hormonal contraceptives. If you’re in good health, this nurse has the right to give you access to a hormonal contraceptive for 6 months. These methods include the vaginal ring, injectable contraceptive, mini pill, pill, and patch. To find a nurse near you, call Info-Santé at 811

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if a condom’s put on right?

Make sure you have a condom that’s the right size for your penis. You can buy a few at a drugstore to find out what kind you like best. Most condoms are already lubricated, which makes unrolling the condom and penetration easier. If necessary, you can add a few drops of a water- or silicone-based lubricant. Avoid using oil- or petroleum-jelly-based substances, because they can damage latex. Remember to check the expiration date, since an expired condom stops being effective. The latex deteriorates and the condom can break or tear very easily. If you find it difficult to put on a condom or you don’t know how to do it, read the instructions inside the box, call Tel-jeunes, or talk about it with your partner.

I forgot to take my pill! What should I do?

If you’ve forgotten to take one or more birth control pills, call Info-Santé at 811, consult your pharmacist, or talk to the nurse at your school or the CLSC. These people can tell you what to do and what your risk of pregnancy is. If you’ve had sex in the last 3 days, go to a drugstore and ask for the morning after pill, which is effective within 72 hours after the last time you had sex. If you had sex longer ago, you should see your doctor to get the morning after IUD.

What’s the best contraceptive?

No one contraceptive method is best, but condoms are the only kind that will protect you against both unwanted pregnancy and most BBSTIs. It’s important to use a contraceptive method that suits your body, your needs, your personality, and your lifestyle. For example, if you have an irregular schedule or you tend to forget things, it might be better not to choose the pill, since it has to be taken every day at the same time. To make your choice, look up the advantages and disadvantages of all the different contraceptives on our website or talk to a health care professional. If you notice any side-effects of your contraception or you feel it’s not right for you, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor.

Can I stop using condoms if I take the pill?

The pill protects you against unwanted pregnancy but not against BBSTIs. That’s why you should opt for condoms if you don’t have a stable partner. If you and your partner have taken a screening test and you have a sexual exclusivity agreement, you can think about not using condoms any more.

Condoms are 97% effective, while the pill is 99.5% to 99.8% effective. For both of them, the failure rate is due to incorrect use: a broken condom or a forgotten pill, for example. Your partner and you need to be aware of the risks and able to react if there’s a problem.

How can I get an emergency contraceptive?

You can ask for an emergency contraceptive from the pharmacist’s counter in a drugstore, a CLSC, a clinic, or a school nurse. The professional will ask you some questions about your health and your relations with your partner. He/she will give you the morning after pill, also called an emergency contraceptive pill (ECP), without a prescription. You must take one dose immediately and another dose 12 hours later.

The morning after pill isn’t meant to replace your usual contraceptive method. It’s there to help you in case of accident. Did you have a problem with a condom? If yes, make sure you’re using the right size and that you pinch the end of the condom to remove the air from the tip before you put it on. Condoms can also rip if the envelope is opened with a sharp object and they become more fragile if they’re used in water.

I’m scared of the risks even though I use protection. What can I do?

Remember that, if you use contraceptives properly, they’re very reliable. However, it’s true that no method is 100% effective. If you have sex, you have to accept a certain amount of risk.

Ask yourself if there’s a real risk or if this is just nerves, and find ways to manage your stress. Pay attention to your reactions, thoughts, behaviour, and emotions. You’ll get to know yourself better and learn how to calm down when you become anxious. If you need some help, contact us!

Should you put a condom on before or after foreplay?

That depends on the foreplay: stroking, kissing, oral sex, etc. Some people really like putting a condom on at the start, since that avoids interrupting things later on. Other people don’t like using it during foreplay since it results in a loss of sensitivity. In all cases, the guy has to have an erection to be able to put the condom on. Remember that there’s a risk of pregnancy as soon as pre-ejaculatory fluid or semen comes into contact with the girl’s vagina or vulva. If you want, you can talk with your partner to find out what he/she thinks and make sure you’re on the same wavelength.

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