Being in control

According+to+Planned+Parenthood%2C+there+are+13+birth+control+options%2C+excluding+abstinence+or+surgical+procedures%2C+ranging+from+71+percent+to+99+percent+effective.
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Being in control

According to Planned Parenthood, there are 13 birth control options, excluding abstinence or surgical procedures, ranging from 71 percent to 99 percent effective.

According to Planned Parenthood, there are 13 birth control options, excluding abstinence or surgical procedures, ranging from 71 percent to 99 percent effective.

Malayna Vines

According to Planned Parenthood, there are 13 birth control options, excluding abstinence or surgical procedures, ranging from 71 percent to 99 percent effective.

Malayna Vines

Malayna Vines

According to Planned Parenthood, there are 13 birth control options, excluding abstinence or surgical procedures, ranging from 71 percent to 99 percent effective.

Bridget Killian, editor-in-chief

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In a room full of adult women, Taj Muldrow, senior, felt out of place. She anxiously awaited her turn to see the doctor. Once the time came, Muldrow and her mother entered a room and were greeted by the doctor who proceeded to explain all her options. After a health class at KHS piqued her interest, Muldrow visited her OB-GYN to go on birth control August of her junior year.

 

According to Planned Parenthood, there are 13 birth control options, excluding abstinence or surgical procedures, ranging from 71 percent to 99 percent effective. While typically used to prevent pregnancy, birth control has a wide range of uses from acne prevention to protection against endometrial and ovarian cancers. 74.4 (90/121) percent of KHS students taking birth control use it for a reason other than preventing pregnancies. However, depending on the method, these benefits come with certain risks. Methods such as the Depo-Provera shot, according to Muldrow, can sometimes cause unwanted weight gain.

 

“Three months into [using birth control], I noticed I always had an appetite,” Muldrow said. “I was always wanting to eat, eat, eat, and no matter how much I ate, I always wanted more. That’s when I started seeing signs of drastic weight gain. Since August of junior year, I’ve gained 65 pounds because of the [Depo-Provera shot.]”

 

According to Muldrow, her OB-GYN explained to her the risk of weight gain due to a hormone change with the shot, but she did not believe it would happen to her. Other side effects of the Depo-Provera shot, like many birth control methods,  include nausea, headaches and changes in mood. Aaron Wise, a transgender senior, said after being prescribed birth control pills to stop periods, the mood swings it caused him were too much to handle.

 

“I used to have a lot of periods, at least two a month, and didn’t like having them since I’m trans,” Wise said. “I would feel really dysphoric when it would happen and it really sucked. [Birth control helped] but it also messed up my mood a lot. It was better for me, but the mood thing, I couldn’t deal with that either.”

“Most people make good choices when they have good information for themselves.”

Health class at KHS incorporates a unit on sexual education that covers reproductive anatomy, reproduction and safe sex options. Craig Dickinson, health teacher, said he encourages students to take health in the classroom to fully learn about birth control methods and sexual health.

 

“[We talk about] biological male anatomy, biological female anatomy, reproduction and then we start to explore some of the consequences of being sexually active [like] teenage pregnancy, and then we talk about sexually transmitted infections,” Dickinson said. “Obviously, abstinence is the best way. You never have to worry about STIs [or] a teen pregnancy if you’re not sexually active. However, we know a certain percentage of teens are sexually active so [the health class provides] what they need to know about birth control.”

 

According to Dickinson, the class provides education on all forms of birth control, including barrier methods such as male or female condoms and spermicide, emergency contraception such as Plan B and hormonal methods such as birth control pills. Dickinson said the class emphasizes the physical conditions that are consequences of unsafe sex, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy, and aims to provide the students with all the information they need to make good decisions for themselves.

 

“Most kids are like ‘hey wear a condom’ and they think that is all they need to know,” Dickinson said. “Condoms are the only things that provide protection against STIs, so a condom along with some sort of hormonal method usually is going to give you the most protection against pregnancy and STIs. Most research backs up the fact that [when you give teens] good information the amount of teen pregnancies [goes down] and the amount of teens that are choosing abstinence goes up. Most people make good choices when they have good information for themselves.”

 

Muldrow believes that the discussion of birth control has become less taboo in recent years and is not something to be ashamed of. More and more people are becoming open about being on birth control and 29.7 (93/313) percent of students at KHS have been or are currently on it in some form.

 

“It’s a norm now,” Muldrow said. “Back then, when you heard birth control, people would think ‘oh she’s having sex’ but now it is seen as something to help you and for safety.”