Contraceptive Methods Print

A Lesson Plan from Life Planning Education: A Youth Development Program

Purpose: To present factual information about preventing pregnancy, STDs, and HIV infection

Materials: Newsprint and marker or board and chalk; Leader's Resources, “Types of Contraception" and “Teaching about Contraception” (pdf); large anatomy drawings and/or clear plastic pelvic model from a local health/family planning clinic; one sample of each of the methods of contraception listed on the Leader's Resource, “Types of Contraception"; pamphlets and brochures on the various methods

Time: Session 1: 40-50 minutes; Session 2: 40-50 minutes

Planning Notes

  • If you do not feel comfortable teaching about contraception or feel you cannot make the presentation dynamic, invite a local health educator or family planning professional to conduct this activity. Be sure the person you invite has worked extensively with teens in your group's age range. Make it clear to your guest that the program promotes both abstinence and contraceptive use to help teens reduce their risks of unintended pregnancy, STDs and HIV infection.
  • This activity covers information on prescription and nonprescription methods of contraception. As you introduce the different methods, be sure to encourage a combination of any female method with condoms for heterosexual intercourse. While some methods (oral contraceptives, Norplant, Depo Provera) are extremely effective in preventing pregnancy, they do not prevent transmission of HIV and other STDs so they must be used in combination with a condom.
  • Review the Leader's Resource Contraceptive Methods. for basic information. Pay special attention to nonprescription methods, since many teens use them. When you review each method, actively involve teens in the discussion. It will make the session livelier, and uncover the extent of the group's misinformation about contraception.
  • Review the Leader's Resource, Teaching About Contraception, for guidelines on how to present this material.
  • On newsprint or the board, list the six questions to ask about each method. Display the poster for Step 7.
    • How does this method prevent pregnancy? (Does it provide a barrier between sperm and the egg? Does it prevent ovulation?)
    • What are the advantages of using this method?
    • What are the disadvantages of using this method?
    • Does this method protect against STDs, including HIV'
    • How does a woman use this method?
    • Can a partner participate in use of this method (such as going with a partner to get it, paying for it, reminding/encouraging a partner to use it, helping insert it or put it on)?
  • Obtain brochures on the various methods of contraception from a local drug store, health department or other family planning organizations.


Session 1

  1. Remind teens of the risks of sexual behavior: unintended pregnancy and infection with STDs, including HIV.
  2. Emphasize that abstinence, or avoiding sexual intercourse, is always the most effective way to avoid sexual risks. Also state that using contraception, including condoms, correctly and consistently will reduce the risks substantially for those who have sexual intercourse.
  3. Review the points in the Leader's Resource, Teaching About Contraception, and make certain to mention the following:
    • Do not assume that anyone or everyone has had vaginal intercourse just because we are discussing contraception. This is information that you may need now or later.
    • It is important to minimize risks when you do have sexual intercourse. The best way to do that is to use contraception, including condoms.
    • Individual values about having sex and using contraception differ and that is okay.
  4. Ask teens to name as many methods of contraception as they can. List their responses and add any that are omitted:
    • Abstinence
    • Condoms
    • The female condom
    • Spermicidal foam, Cream or jelly
    • Oral contraceptives
    • Diaphragm
    • The Patch
    • The Ring
    • Emergency Contraception
    • IUD
    • Withdrawal
    • Natural family planning (rhythm method)
    • Vaginal contraceptive film
    • Contraceptive implant
    • Injectable contraception (Depo Provera)
    • Tubal ligation (female sterilization)
    • Vasectomy (male sterilization)
  5. Ask teens which methods can be purchased over the counter,  or without a doctor's prescription. Put a star beside those and display samples. (Over the counter methods include: male and female condoms, foam/cream/jelly and vaginal contraceptive film. Abstinence, rhythm and withdrawal might also be classified as over the counter, because they do not require a doctor's prescription.)
  6. Display the remaining methods. Point out that they require a physical examination and a prescription from a physician or nurse practitioner. Ask teens about the two categories of contraceptives:
    • Which ones are most effective?
    • Which ones do most teens use? Why?
    • How would you feel about buying the over the counter methods?
    • How would you feel about going to see a health practitioner for prescription methods?

      Discuss the questions for a few minutes to get a sense of the group's attitudes about the various methods.
  7. Beginning with the prescription methods, describe how each method works, using the anatomy illustration or pelvic model to demonstrate placement of the diaphragm and to indicate where/how sterilizations are performed. After you describe a method, ask the six questions listed on newsprint or the board.
  8. Use the Leader's Resources to supplement your own information. Make it clear that many adults do not know how most methods of contraception work, so teens who do not know a lot of information should not feel embarrassed.
  9. Ask for reactions to each method and encourage them to express any concerns. Correct misinformation regarding: how a method affects it user, physical discomfort associated with a method, impact on future fertility and so on. Suggest that teens talk further about any of the methods with a parent, another adult they trust or someone at their community health clinic
  10. Answer any questions and explain that the remaining methods will be covered in the next session.

Session 2

  1. Repeat Steps 7, 8 and 9 with the non prescription methods.
  2. Conclude the activity using the Discussion Points.

Discussion Points:

  1. What contraception myths have you heard that we have not covered here (such as douching)?
  2. What stories have you heard about prescription methods of birth control? Over the-counter methods?
  3. Many girls who are having sexual intercourse wait until they suspect they are pregnant before they go to a family planning clinic Then they ask for a pregnancy test. Why wouldn't they go earlier to get contraception? How would you counsel a friend who was having sexual intercourse without using contraception or condoms?
  4. Which, if any, of these methods make the most sense for teens to use? Why?
  5. How important is it for a male to be involved in his female partner's use of contraception?
  6. How do you feel about a girl using a method of contraception even if her partner does not agree with it?
  7. How many teenagers talk to their parents about contraception? Why is that so?
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