Living a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle includes not only recycling, minimizing food waste and using public transportation, but considering the impact that each additional person has on the planet throughout his or her lifetime. Avoiding unintended pregnancy is an important part of reducing one’s impact on the environment and living sustainably.
For a woman, having an understanding of her monthly fertility pattern can help her to avoid getting pregnant, but consistent use of contraception is critically important for reducing the risk of unintended pregnancy. Contraception must be used until menopause — when a woman has not had a period for two years if she is less than 50 years old or for one year if she is older than 50. Different standards may apply to women using hormonal contraception.
There are many different types of contraception — individuals should choose the one that best suits their needs. The options include birth control pills, male and female condoms and intrauterine devices. Condoms are the only type of contraception that will help to protect an individual from contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
Emergency contraception, which also is known as the Morning-After Pill, is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. A woman may want to use emergency contraception after not using a birth control device during sex; forgetting to make use of her birth control pills, patch or ring; having a condom break or fall off during sex; or being forced to have unprotected sex.
Family planning clinics offer information and advice about reproductive health — often for free and confidentially.