Re: back up birth control
I use birth control pills and condoms with my fiance. We're engaged, but we're not ready for kids!
I would suggest starting prescription birth control pills (or something along those lines). If I remember right, they don't fully protect you for the first month while your body is getting used to them, so you may want to use two back up methods for a while. So:
Step 1: Talk to doctor about birth control pills, ring, or patch (the most effective forms). Also ask about the Norplant and other long-term protection if you're interested. Begin taking the pill or whatever you decide on.
Step 2: Keep using condoms. I would recommend using condoms that have a spermicide coating (unless you find that you or your partner are allergic to the spermicide). I use them because, well, better too careful than not careful enough!
Step 3: Until the pills (or whatever) take full effect, use a spermicide just in case. I used a vaginal insert that is inserted sort of like a tampon (although it was a cream, not a piece of cotton). While you're asking the doctor about what pill or patch to use, you can ask which spermicide to use in the meantime.
Step 4: Once the pills take full effect (make sure you ask the doctor when this will be- it varies), continue taking them and using the condoms. You shouldn't need the spermicide anymore, unless you choose to use condoms coated with spermicide.
Step 5: ALWAYS, ALWAYS take your pills, patch, etc. and use the condoms. Nothing is 100%, but the more careful you are, the closer to 100% protected you will be. <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/smile.gif">
Don't be afraid to go to the doctor or clinic. You have lots of options to choose from. If you can't pay for the doctor or the birth control, call a clinic. They will help you figure out if you can pay a reduced price or if you qualify for free visits and protection.
Also, if you're worried about your parents... check out your state's information on the internet. I think physician/patient confidentiality rules apply in every state, so you can do all of this without telling them if that's what you want.
Unless you are positive that your parents are completely against your sexual activity, I encourage you to tell them about it if you haven't, though. Your parents can really help you out and are an important source of support. Of course, I don't know how old you are. If you feel you're old enough, you can go without telling your parents. You might want to consider it, though.
Good luck! <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/smile.gif"><p>[This message has been edited by Anonymity (edited 12-04-2002).]