Using the Birth Control Methods Matrix
You can use the 10 statements below to help young people choose a contraceptive method that is right for them. Each statement focuses on a feature of certain contraceptive methods that may or may not be important to a particular young person. Read each statement with the young person or ask them to read the statement and ask whether they agree or disagree. If the young person agrees with the statement, the table indicates which column(s) they should look at in the contraceptive matrix for birth control methods that align with their preferences, needs, and priorities. Young people may agree with more than one statement so they may have to look at more than one column to find the birth control methods with which their preferences, needs, and priorities are best aligned.
||If agree, go to
|1. I prefer a method that I can get without going to a health care provider.
|2. I prefer to have a hormone-free method.
|3. I would not feel comfortable inserting a birth control device inside my body.
|4. I would not feel comfortable having a health care provider insert a birth control device inside my body.
|5. I prefer a method that will be invisible to my partner.
|6. I prefer a method that will last for more than a year.
|7. I prefer a method that I only use or think about when I have sex.
|8. I prefer a method that will permanently prevent pregnancy.
|9. I prefer a method that also protects against STIs/HIV.
|10. I need a method for someone with a penis/without a uterus.
Note: These statements are designed help young people identify the birth control methods they might want to consider. However, they do not cover the full range of factors that may be important when it comes to choosing a method of birth control. For example, they do not address the side effects or potential benefits of some birth control methods. That information, along with other details about each method, can be found in the Information Booklet. The information in the booklet can also be shared with young people to help them further narrow down their choice of birth control. Depending on the birth control method they choose, young people may need an appointment with a healthcare provider.
Use the Matrix as a starting point to identify possible birth control methods with young people. The Information Booklet provides important and more detailed information about each birth control method that young people select. You can print and share the information about each birth control method to help young people to choose the birth control method that is right for them.
The birth control methods in the matrix are divided into five categories:
Long-term reversible: These are the most effective reversible methods of birth control, last for several years, and can be removed at any time.
Short-term hormonal: These birth control methods use hormones to prevent pregnancy. They are effective but not as effective as long-term reversible methods.
Short-term barrier: These birth control methods prevent pregnancy by blocking sperm from passing through the cervix. They are less effective than long-term reversible or hormonal methods.
Short-term behavioral: These birth control methods require users to engage in specific behaviors to prevent pregnancy. They are less effective than long-term reversible or hormonal methods.
Permanent: These birth control methods permanently prevent pregnancy and are highly effective.
*In some states, these birth control methods can either be prescribed by a pharmacist or dispensed by a pharmacist without a prescription. To see if you live in one of these states, go to https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/pharmacist-prescribed-contraceptives.
Suggested Citation: Griffin, A. M., Schlecht, C., Pliskin, E., & Dworsky, A. (2022). Helping young people choose the birth control method right for them: A guide for youth supporting professionals. Child Trends. https://activatecenter.org/resource/helping-young-people-choose-birth-control-method-right-for-them-guide-youth-supporting-professionals
Attribution: This resource was developed as part of a partnership between Child Trends and Chapin Hall. Authors of this resource from Chapin Hall include Amanda Griffin, Ph.D, Colleen Schlecht, MPP, and Amy Dworsky, Ph.D.
Footnotes and Endnotes
[a] The term cisgender refers to a person whose gender identity corresponds with the gender they were assigned at birth. A cisgender woman is a person who identifies as a woman and was assigned female at birth; a cisgender man is a person who identifies as a man and was assigned male at birth.
[b] People with nonbinary gender identities do not identify exclusively as women or men.
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