How to Quietly Get Birth Control

There are many reasons why you might want to keep your birth control secret, but it’s not really a reason – it’s your body and your choice. Whether your parents are bossy, your partner is bossy, or you live in a region or culture where it’s frowned upon, you don’t have to worry about stress. Luckily, there are ways to sneakily get birth control. I hope one of them suits you.

Try Planned Parenthood or a Community Health Center

If you are a teenager, in most states you can get birth control without parental permission. ( Here’s a table of the laws in each state.) Confirm that minors can consent to contraceptive services in your area, and call your local doctor to ask anonymously if you’re unsure. (You must also use a private web browser for all of this.) Even if you live in a place where you can consent to services, there are several ways you can be recognized: if you use your parents’ insurance, they can get a statement which says what you used it for. And if you live in a tight-knit community, even if it’s completely unethical and illegal, doctors, nurses, administrators, and pharmacists can talk.

These fears are not limited to the communication of adolescents with their parents. For example, if you have a controlling partner, fears about insurance claims and small-town chatter still apply. If you have the option, consider paying for contraceptives out of your own pocket, even if it’s more expensive than using insurance. Family planning and some community health centers offer sliding scales or programs to help you afford birth control and other reproductive care. Consider getting your prescription filled at a pharmacy you don’t normally go to, even if that means you have to go out of your way.

Explore Telemedicine Options

For decades, cultural and political battles over abortion and birth control have played out in individual cities and states, as well as in the Supreme Court. Your personal drive to secretly gain birth control is a microcosm of a larger, multi-year struggle for reproductive rights for all.

What’s new is the role of technology that can help you. There are now telemedicine apps like Nurx that allow you to not only complete your appointment and medical consultation online, but also order contraceptives and have them delivered directly to you. After evaluating your responses, the licensed provider may write you a prescription that is filled at the company’s own pharmacy. You can get a three-month supply shipped to you in discreet, unbranded packaging. This way you can get a pill, an injection, a ring, a patch, and even emergency contraception.

Consider long-term but reversible methods

Even when you’re being careful, there’s something indiscreet about making regular trips to the pharmacy, mysterious parcels showing up regularly at your home, and taking pills every day. You may want to consider long-acting reversible contraception (or LARC).

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, according to Family Planning, are not only the most effective form of birth control, but they are also durable and require minimal maintenance. IUDs are T-shaped devices that are placed in the uterus with very thin threads that pierce the cervix into the vagina, while implants are thin plastic rods that are placed under the skin of the arm. Both must be administered by a professional and either will prevent pregnancy for years. Paragard, a copper IUD, can last up to 12 years. The hormonal IUD Mirena can last up to seven years. Nexplanon, a hormonal implant, can last up to five years. In addition to being easy to set and forget, they can be removed at any time if you decide to get pregnant.

It’s worthless that many users report that their implant is not visible, but it can be felt under the skin. It is also unusual – but not unheard of – for a man with a penis to feel the strings of an intrauterine device during penetrative sex. If you are concerned that your partner will notice your IUDs, check with your healthcare provider; they can cut the strings, which will also become softer over time.

Finally, if you are a minor, be aware that LARC devices may show up on x-rays, MRIs, or ultrasounds. If you break a bone or need medical imaging for any other reason and your parents are involved, they can find out about it that way.

Take the time to call your providers and find out what’s allowed in your state. Research the types of birth control available and find out what you can afford if you choose to pay out of pocket. The most important thing to remember is that you deserve to be in control of your body, whether others support you or not, and you should be proud of yourself for taking it.

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