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Learning Activities

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Contraceptive Options

The following learning activity is designed to help youth understand and cope with the physical and emotional changes that occur during puberty and how to address their associated contraceptive needs. It includes the following sections:


Objectives

At the completion of this session, youth will be able to:

  1. Discuss the benefits of abstinence,

  2. Identify and explain the use of at least three methods of contraception,

  3. Identify the availability of these methods in the community, and

  4. Discuss the optimal time to communicate with partners about contraceptive use.

Time

Part I: 30 minutes
Part II: 60 minutes
Total: One hour and 30 minutes


Preparation and Materials

  1. Identify stores, clinics and agencies in the community which sell or distribute the contraceptive methods to be discussed. Collect contact information for clinics and agencies.

  2. Gather written materials about each birth control method for the small group work. (Information about birth control methods can be printed from www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm.)

  3. Have the following materials ready:

    • Flipchart paper, markers and tape

    • "David and Rosa" handout for each youth

    • Birth control samples (including card with the word "ABSTINENCE" written on it)

    • "Contraceptive Method" worksheet for each small group (about 10 copies)

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Procedure

Part I: David and Rosa

(30 minutes)
  1. Tell the youth that you will be talking about abstinence and contraceptive methods today. Review the learning objectives for this session with the group.

  2. Give each youth a copy of the "David and Rosa" handout. Ask them to read the scenario to themselves. After the youth have finished reading the scenario, ask them to divide into groups of three to discuss the questions written below and on the handout. Give the youth about 15 minutes to complete this task.

Questions:

  1. What is happening in the scenario (in your own words)?

  2. What risks are David and Rosa taking? What are some of the possible consequences of their current behaviors?
    Possible responses might be:

    (-)

    (+)

    Pregnancy

    Feels good

    STIs including HIV

    Brings more intimacy to their relationship

    Emotional regret

    Experience, satisfies curiosity

    Stresses on their relationship

     

    Parents might find out

     

  3. Why do you think David and Rosa are not using contraception consistently?
    Possible responses might be:

    • Worried about getting "fat" or getting "cancer" (misinformation about the birth control pill)
    • Doesn't feel good
    • Not always available
    • Not knowledgeable about options
    • Embarrassed to talk about or obtain contraceptives

  4. How could David and Rosa reduce their risks and lower the chances for an unwanted consequence?
    Possible responses might be:
    • Abstain from sexual intercourse (100% effective in pregnancy prevention)
    • Use contraception correctly and consistently

  5. What advice do you have for David and Rosa?
    Possible responses might be:
    • Talk about their needs and expectations with each other
    • Get more information (from library, Internet, clinic, etc.)
    • Visit a family planning clinic
    • Return to being abstinent — find other ways to be intimate with each other (i.e., use "outcourse")
    • Use contraception correctly and consistently — always use condoms to help prevent against STIs

  6. Who should take primary responsibility for preventing pregnancy (by either abstinence or contraception)?
    • Both David and Rosa!
  1. After 15 minutes, ask the small groups to share their answers to the questions with the whole group. Give reinforcement when youth discuss responsible choices and give healthy advice. Correct misinformation as needed.

Part II: Contraceptive Options

(60 minutes)
  1. Tell the group that they are now going to learn about some specific methods of birth control.

  2. Ask the group to divide into groups of two or three. Give each small group a form of contraception and a pamphlet or other written material on that contraceptive option. (See Preparation/Materials.) Some of the contraceptives to have on hand to distribute to the small groups include:

    • Male condom
    • Female condom
    • Spermicides (foam, jelly, film, etc.)
    • Diaphragm/Cervical Cap
    • Injectables
    • Birth control pills
    • Sponge
    • Vaginal ring
    • Patch
    • IUD
    • IUS
    • Under-the-skin implant
    • Emergency contraception: Plan B®
    • A card with the word "ABSTINENCE" on it

  3. Hand out the Contraception Worksheets to each group. Tell the groups that they will have about 15 minutes to answer the questions on the worksheets about their method (questions also written below). Tell the youth that they will later present their method to the entire class. Tell the youth to feel free to use their written material, flipchart paper, markers, etc. in preparing their presentation. Visit each group to assist the students as needed.

Contraception Worksheet questions:

  • What is the name of this method?
  • How does it work?
  • How do you use it?
  • What advantages or disadvantages do you see to the method?
  • Where do you get it?
  1. After 15 minutes, ask each group to come to the front of the room and present their method (two minutes per group). Listen carefully to each group's presentation in order to correct and/or complete information about each method. Mention the stores, clinics and agencies in the community which provide the contraception methods — if not mentioned. Make sure each group gets a round of applause for their work!

  2. After the presentations, ask the group about the best time a couple should talk about their sexual expectations for a relationship. If a couple does decide to have sex, when should they talk about birth control? Emphasize that these conversations should take place BEFORE the "heat of the moment." These discussions show maturity and responsibility.

    Ask a few youth to share what they might recommend that youth their age say to a partner about sexual expectations and/or birth control use.

  3. End this session by listing on the flipchart paper the names and phone numbers of local clinics and agencies that provide reproductive health education and services (local health department, Planned Parenthood, school clinic, community-based agency, etc). Encourage youth to write these numbers down. Even if they don't need the numbers now, they may need them in the future, and they may want to share them with friends.


Note: A good follow-up to this session is a session addressing partner communication, refusal skills and/or assertiveness skills. ReCAPP's Youth Skills section has several entries that may be interesting to use in follow-up lessons, including:

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