How Birth-Control Savvy Are You?

By Diana Vilibert

October 27, 2008 10:26 AM
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What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

Sure, you don't rely on the pull-out-and-pray method to prevent pregnancy, but how much do you really know about birth control?

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

1. What percentage of birth control pill takers miss three or more Pills a month?
A. 7%
B. 19%
C. 43%
D. 54%
E. 65%

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

CORRECT ANSWER: D, 54%.
When researchers put computer chips into women's Pill packs, they found that 54 percent of takers were missing three or more pills a month. That's a big deal. If you skip one, you aren't going to get pregnant. If you skip more than one, particularly with an ultralow dose, you might.
Have trouble remembering to take the Pill? Find another form of birth control to fit your lifestyle here.

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

2. Which of these condoms protect against HIV?
A. Latex
B. Polyurethane
C. Lambskin
D. A and B only
E. B and C only

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

CORRECT ANSWER: D, Polyurethane and Latex. Lambskin won't do a thing to protect you from HIV. You should also consider backing up with the Pill, the patch, or the implant for extra protection from pregnancy.
What kind of lube is a slippery slope to pregnancy if used with condoms? Find out here.

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

3. What percentage of women think men need to play a bigger role in choosing a method of contraception?
A. 20%
B. 35%
C. 50%
D. 70%
E. 90%

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

CORRECT ANSWER: D, 70%. And men might soon play a bigger role than they ever have before — researchers are hard at work on male contraceptive solutions that release combinations of testosterone and progestin to shut down sperm production.
No more PMS-induced freakouts when your guy leaves the toilet seat up — find out which Pill alleviates PMS.

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

4. Which method of birth control can make an existing STD much worse?
A. The patch
B. IUD
C. The Depo-Provera shot
D.The female condom
E. The chewable birth control pill

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

CORRECT ANSWER: B, an IUD, a small, T-shaped instrument inserted into your uterus. STD-free? Talk about it with your doctor.
Find out how the IUD compares to other methods of birth control.

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

5. TRUE or FALSE: Antibiotics decrease the Pill's effectiveness.

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

CORRECT ANSWER: True, but only two types, Griseofulvin and Rifampin, have been shown to do that. More commonly prescribed antibiotics have not been shown to affect contraceptive hormone levels.
Find out what is the single most important Pill in your monthly pack.

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

6. Which of the following birth control methods should you stay away from if you're prone to bladder infections?
A. Cervical cap
B. Diaphragm
C. Sponge
D. B and C
E. The Pill

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

CORRECT ANSWER: B, Diaphragm. The diaphragm is a flexible latex cup that sits over the cervix and is coated with spermicide — the spermicide immobilizes sperm, and the cap physically blocks the opening to the uterus. If you're sensitive or allergic to spermicide, both the diaphragm and the cervical cap are a no-go.
Why do failure rates for the diaphragm and cervical cap increase dramatically after you've had kids?

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

7. How effective is tubal ligation at preventing pregnancy?
A. 100%
B. 99%
C. 98%
D. 95%
E. 92%

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

CORRECT ANSWER: B, about 99%. Tubal ligations ("having your tubes tied") are done laparoscopically under local or general anesthesia. Fallopian tubes are closed off so that eggs can't reach the uterus. Failure can result in ectopic pregnancy, which requires emergency surgery.
Complications of anesthesia or bleeding problems are rare but possible with tubals. Want a safer but just as effective alternative? Find out what it is.

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

8. Femcon Fe is a birth control pill that:
A. Makes it possible to have just one period a year.
B. Is for men.
C. Is chewable
D. Prevents acne

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

CORRECT ANSWER: C, a chewable birth control pill. FDA-approved in December, Femcon Fe is the first chewable oral contraceptive available in the U.S. The estrogen-progestin tablets have the same 99-percent-plus efficacy rate with perfect use as other pills. Many experts, however, dismiss Femcon's minty tablets as gimmicky.
For more new birth control methods — like the Pill for men, pills that relieve PMS and prevent acne, and the Pill that gives you just one period a year — click here.

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

9. TRUE or FALSE: The Pill raises breast cancer risk.

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

CORRECT ANSWER: False. And, it decreases the chance of ovarian cancer by 30 to 50 percent, and of endometrial cancer by 30 percent.
The Pill makes it harder to get pregnant once you're off of it — fact or myth? Click here for the answer.

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

10. How effective is natural family planning, tracking your monthly cycle, and abstaining on fertile days?
A. 100% effective
B. 91% to 98% effective
C. 85% to 90% effective
D. 65% to 70%
E. Not effective at all.

What's Your Birth-Control IQ?

CORRECT ANSWER: B, 91% to 98% effective, but only with perfect use. Typical use gives you a 25% failure rate. It involved charting your hormonal ebbs and flows using a basal body thermometer, a calendar, and your own finger to test your cervical fluids. Slippery mucus indicates fertile days; the sticky kind probably means you're safe. If you can't tell sticky from slippery — or are too squeamish to try — forget it.
Learn more about the ins and outs of natural family planning and other methods of birth control.
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