Low Maintenance Birth Control

You've got big plans for your future. Finish high school. Go to college. Start a career. Get married. Then have a baby. Let's face it, that's going to take some time. So, how do you prevent an unplanned pregnancy for all those years? There's a form of birth control that's safe and can last for up to 12 years depending on what kind you choose.

The Implant (Implanon)

A small rod that's inserted under the skin of your upper arm. This method can last up to three years, but it doesn't protect against STIs, so you'll need to also use a condom.


  • No one can see it after it's inserted.
  • Lasts up to three years.
  • Don't have to worry about taking something daily, weekly or monthly.


  • Implant
  • Irregular periods.
  • Pain, swelling, irritation, infection at insertion site.

The IUD (Intra Uterine Device)

A small plastic device inserted into the uterus by a doctor. Available in two forms: a copper IUD that uses no hormones and can last between 3 and 12 years, and a hormonal IUD that uses the hormone progesterone and can last up to 5 years.


  • Immediately effective once in the uterus.
  • Do not have to interrupt sex to use it. It's already in place.
  • Don't have to remember to take a pill once a day or change a patch.
  • Is effective in preventing unintended pregnancy for up to 12 years (depending on the kind you choose).
  • Paraguard IUD is good for people who cannot take hormones, since it only releases copper instead of hormones.
  • You can have the IUD taken out at any time - if you choose to get pregnant or want to switch methods.


  • Side effects include irregular bleeding, weight gain or loss, nausea, breast tenderness, changes in mood, headaches.

How do you get it?

You'll have to go to a health care provider to get either of these methods. Most of the time they can help you get a low-cost or free implant or IUD. Find a health center near you.

But Low Maintenance Birth Control isn't the only method

Don't think low maintenance birth control is right for you? Check out some of the other types of birth control and find one that works for you.

Get more answers in our FAQs.