I'm 18 and I just got my first boyfriend. We've been together for almost 2 months, we've already had sex and we used protection but one of my friends said I should go on the pill. I'm not sure what to do because my mum has my Medicare card and I don't want to go to the doctor by myself. I've also heard there are side effects from the pill. I'm really scared about this all and was wondering if it would just be better to use condoms.
It’s great that you want to look after your health as you embark on your first intimate relationship. You deserve to have all the information you need about how to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STIs. You’re also entitled feel supported in relationships such as with your mother and your boyfriend while you’re also looking after your own health. Firstly, talking to your boyfriend about contraception and safe sex is a sign of a mature and healthy relationship. Secondly, many young people do find it helpful to talk with a parent about seeing a doctor, even if it’s about something personal like sexual health and contraception. It’s also a sign of maturity and something parents generally want to support, even if the topic is awkward at first. However, you are the one who is responsible for your own health and finding out what’s right for you.
The Pill is a very safe and effective contraceptive, there are potential side effects but most are mild and settle down once your body gets used to it. There are different Pill formulations and your doctor can help you find the right one for you. If the Pill doesn’t suit you, there are other excellent contraceptive methods available. Young people from the age of 15 are also entitled to their own Medicare card. But even if you are on the family’s Medicare card, you can just write down the Medicare number (putting it in your mobile phone is a good idea) and give that to the doctor when you go to see them. Young people (including those under 18) are entitled to confidential health care, so if you really didn’t want to involve your mum, you can see a doctor on your own. Condoms are also a great contraceptive and have the advantage of preventing many STIs. If you were to have sex without a condom (or if it broke or slipped) then you are also able to get the emergency contraceptive pill confidentially from a pharmacist.
The emergency contraceptive pill can be used up to four days after unprotected sex and can be very useful in some situations, but it is not recommended as a regular form of contraception. You can check out lots more information about all this at fpnsw.org.au and look at their contraception fact sheets.