A Trip to the Clinic to Get Hormonal Birth Control
Originally Published: January 28, 2015
Revised: January 28, 2015
I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one saw me as I quickly opened the door to my local clinic, Hoboken Family Planning. Though I didn’t need hormonal birth control, I was there to learn how you get it. I have to admit I totally understand why someone might feel uncomfortable about walking into a clinic. There can be a lot of stigma and fear that comes along with getting hormonal birth control. There’s the fear of being found out by your parents, who may have no idea you’re having or planning to have sex. And then there’s the fear you’ll be labeled a “slut.” But in spite of these fears, we all want to make sure we get to choose when we have children, and hormonal methods are a great way of making sure that decision rests with us.
The first step to getting any form of hormonal birth control is to find a clinic or health center that offers these services; I used the clinic finder at Sexetc.org to find a clinic near me. Once you’ve found a clinic that provides hormonal birth control, just make an appointment. It can be a tough step, but after making the appointment, you’re well on your way to getting hormonal birth control.
I know I have the right information to make smart decisions about my sexual health—because to me, being in control of my sexual and reproductive health is something to be proud of.
The Cost of Hormonal Birth Control
You might worry about the cost of hormonal birth control. Methods such as the implant and intrauterine devices (IUDs) can be expensive. When I spoke with Nitza Morales, an Advanced Practice Nurse in women’s health at Hoboken Family Planning, she said that cost shouldn’t stop teens from trying to get hormonal birth control, such as the Pill or the Shot, since many clinics offer them at reduced costs or they only ask you to pay as much as you can afford.
“We never turn anyone away because of their inability to pay for the service,” Ms. Morales says. While I already knew this was true for most clinics, hearing it come from a nurse reassured me, especially since cost can be such a big factor when it comes to getting birth control.
Choose a Hormonal Birth Control Method
Ms. Morales explained that most teens who come into her clinic already have an idea of which hormonal birth control they want, but if they don’t know or are unsure, she had some advice. She tells them to, “Consider their lifestyle.” Will you have to hide the birth control if your parents don’t know? She asks people to consider some of the following: “Is it better to take something every single day? Or is it better to use the Patch that is weekly? Or is it better to use the Ring, which you insert every three weeks?”
Or maybe getting the Shot every few months or having an IUD that you have for years would be best for you. These are all things to consider when choosing a hormonal birth control method. Depending on which method you choose, you may or may not need a pelvic exam. I learned that, at Hoboken Family Planning, nurse practitioners do the exams and everything is confidential.
While hormonal birth control methods are highly effective at preventing pregnancy and can even help with irregular periods and acne, they don’t prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). To prevent both pregnancy and STDs, use both condoms and hormonal birth control. Condoms are a great way to back up your birth control and ensure that you’re even more protected against pregnancy when you’re on hormonal birth control.
Deciding which kind of birth control works for you is a big decision, so ask questions!
“By the time they leave here they have all the information they’ll need,” says Ms. Morales. When she says this, I have to agree. I know I have all the information I would need if I ever decided to get hormonal birth control at a clinic.
Getting the facts about hormonal birth control was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and by the time I walked out of the clinic, I didn’t care anymore who saw me. I know I have the right information to make smart decisions about my sexual health—because to me, being in control of my sexual and reproductive health is something to be proud of.
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