Everything you need to know to keep yourself safe

FAQs – Birth Control and Pregnancy

Birth Control

Do you need a parent to buy birth control?

In Hawaiʻi, if you’re 14 years or older, you do not need your parents’ permission to get birth control. However, healthcare providers and clinics may have their own policies about confidentiality for young people. Check with your provider’s policy about confidentiality before reporting anything you want to keep confidential.

If you have health insurance through your parents and plan to use insurance to pay for your appointment or birth control, check with your health insurance first about their confidentiality policies. You may need to sign forms with your insurance company so that your confidential birth control or appointment information is not shared with your parents if you don’t want it to be. Learn more about confidentiality on the Confidentiality page.

There are many clinics/locations where you can receive birth control without parental permission or even payment and/or obtain condoms for free. Visit the Find a Doctor page to find a healthcare provider near you.

In Hawaiʻi, there’s no age limit to buy condoms. Free condoms are available at locations listed below:

How does birth control change someone’s period?

Hormonal birth control can make you have less bleeding that lasts for a shorter time and can also improve period cramps. Hormonal birth control can also be used to have more predictable or regular bleeding. Some methods (injection or implant) can make you have light, irregular bleeding. Others can be used to make bleeding stop completely. This is safe as long as there’s a hormonal birth control reason for why you’re not having menstrual periods. The copper IUD, a non-hormonal form of birth control, can make bleeding heavier and cramping worse during periods for some people. Condoms and other barrier methods of birth control do not change menstrual cycles.

For more information on birth control, visit the Birth Control Methods page.

What methods of birth control come in the form of a strip or film?

The patch is a transdermal (releases hormones that are absorbed through skin) contraceptive that you can wear on your butt, back, belly, or upper arm and is changed once a week. It’s about 91% effective and convenient because, unlike the birth control pills, you don’t have to worry about it daily. More information on the patch can be found on the Birth Control Methods page.

Is it safe to use more than one method of contraception? Can you use another method with an intrauterine device (IUD)?

You should not use more than one hormonal method at a time, unless instructed by your healthcare provider. Hormonal methods include:

  • Combined oral contraceptive pill
  • Progestin-only pill (aka the “mini pill”)
  • Shot (Depo-Provera)
  • Ring (NuvaRing)
  • Patch (Ortho-Evra, Xulane)
  • Implant (Implanon or Nexplanon)
  • IUD (Mirena, Liletta, Skyla, and Kyleena)

These hormonal methods do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You should use condoms in addition to these methods to protect against STIs. This is called “dual protection”. Using dual protection will help prevent both pregnancy and STI transmission. You may also use condoms as a “backup method” when starting a new hormonal method of birth control. It’s important not to “double bag” or use more than one condom at a time during sex—this will cause friction between the condoms, which can lead to the condom(s) breaking!

For more information on contraception and condoms, visit the Birth Control Methods and Barrier Methods pages.

Will IUDs and the implant prevent pregnancy if the person with a penis does not pull out?

Yes, the IUD and implant are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy without pulling out (withdrawal). In other words, less than 1 out of 100 people who have the IUD or implant will become pregnant each year. IUDs and implants do not protect against STIs, but condoms can be safely used with those methods to prevent STIs.

One exception: If you get the implant or IUD at any time in your menstrual cycle other than the first week of your period, you must use another method of birth control for the first week after the IUD or implant is placed.

For more information on IUDs and the implant, visit the Birth Control Methods page.

What are some safe sex practices beyond just contraception?

Contraception, or birth control, will protect you from getting pregnant, but most birth control methods do not protect you from getting STIs. The best way to protect against STIs is to use a condom while having sex and make sure that you and your partner get tested for STIs. For more information, visit the Birth Control Methods, Barrier Methods, and Getting Tested pages.

Communication is also an important part of safe sex. Make sure you’re communicating clearly with your partner about what you’re comfortable and not comfortable doing. Also, be sure to respect your partner’s wishes about what they want to do. For more information, visit the Consent and Before, During, and After Sex pages.

Pregnancy

Can I get pregnant the first time I have vaginal sex?

Absolutely. Any time you have vaginal sex, you can get pregnant. Use both a condom and a reliable form of birth control the first time and every time you have vaginal sex. Learn more on the Pregnancy, Barrier Methods, and Birth Control Methods pages.

Can I get pregnant during my period?

Yes. Sperm can stay alive for several days in the vagina. Even if you had sex a few days ago, you could ovulate (release an egg) now and become pregnant.

Does having anal sex prevent pregnancy?

For pregnancy to occur, semen must be in the vagina to pass into the uterus, where sperm will swim upstream toward the fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg. During unprotected anal sex, if semen comes out of the anus and finds its way onto your vulva and into your vagina, there is a risk of pregnancy. Learn more about anal sex and pregnancy on the Types of Sex and Pregnancy pages.

What is the best way to protect myself from STIs and unplanned pregnancy?

The best way to protect yourself is to make sure you think carefully about when you want to have sex, communicate with your partner, use contraception, and get tested for STIs. Whether or not you decide to have sex, it’s important to be clear with your partner about your decision and prepare for any sexual activity, such as obtaining a form of birth control and condoms. Because STIs are most commonly asymptomatic, or showing no symptoms, the only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to get tested. Learn more on the Consent, Barrier Methods, Birth Control Methods, and Getting Tested pages.

Content reviewed by Shandhini Raidoo, MD, MPH, FACOG

Last Updated: September 25, 2020 by Phyllis Raquinio