New Generation Health Center Newsletter | Spring 2010
I joined New Generation Health Center to provide you with up to date information about your sexual health.
I have a degree in Health Education from San Francisco State University. I received certification from San Francisco Sex Information and worked at Balboa Teen Health Center and Choice Medical Group before joining the New Gen team.
Let me answer a few common questions about birth control to debunk myths young women face.
Myth #1: "I can't get pregnant on my period!"
Fact: You CAN get pregnant on your period. In fact, you can get pregnant at any time throughout your cycle. It is true you can only get pregnant around the day when you ovulate (when an egg leaves the ovary) each month. The problem is it is really hard to tell when you ovulate. For many young women, this time can change month to month. Also, sperm can survive in a woman's body for up to a week! So even if you have sex a week before you ovulate, sperm can be there waiting for the egg. That is why you always need to use condoms. You should also use a hormonal birth control method that stops you from ovulating, even if you are between boyfriends or you are not having sex regularly, because you never know when you might just want to have sex.
Myth #2: "Birth control makes girls fat!"
Fact: Most women do NOT gain weight on birth control. For those who do, it is only a small amount. Some girls even report losing weight on birth control. If you gain weight you need to think about lifestyle changes that may be to blame – like not exercising, eating junk food, driving instead of walking, and just getting older.
Girls often focus on side effects and overlook all of the good things about hormonal birth control like lighter periods, less PMS, less acne, lowering your chances of getting cancer of the ovaries and uterus. And most importantly – not getting pregnant! It's also important to remember that the weight gain you fear from birth control doesn't compare to the weight you would gain if you got pregnant!
Myth #3: "I tried birth control and didn't like it - which means I should not try anything else!"
Fact: There are many different kinds of birth control, and different women have different responses. Many women have to wait a few months to let their body get use to a birth control. You may also have to try different kinds before finding one that works best for you.
One common thing that happens is that a friend tried something and didn't like it, which makes you think it won't work well for you. But that's not true. You are a different person – with a different body, likes and dislikes, and lifestyle. Many of these myths are told to us by people who care, but unfortunately they may not know all the facts. Always get your sex information from a trained health educator or clinician. Call and make an appointment at New Gen to get your questions answered. Everything is free and confidential.
Myth #4: "IUDs (a method that is placed in the uterus) are only for older women or women who have children already."
Fact: IUDs are great for young people. I have one! The best thing about IUDs is that they last for years. They don't require you to take a pill everyday or get a shot every 3 months. It's not messy, it is easy to use, and it is something you don't have to think about.
Myth #5: "Using birth control will make it harder to get pregnant later."
Fact: Not True. Hormonal birth control works by stopping you from ovulating (when the egg leaves the ovary). When you stop using your birth control you start ovulating again. That is why some women get pregnant while using a birth control method - taking a break puts you at risk, like if you forget to take your pills for a few days, or you are late for your Depo shot. How many of you know someone who stopped taking the pill because they broke up with a boyfriend and then they got back together …just once…and they got pregnant… or they forgot to use a condom…just that one time? It is very easy for young women to get pregnant; birth control only works when you are using it. That's why you should be using a birth control method, even if you are between boyfriends or you are not having sex regularly, because you can get pregnant and you need to protect yourself.
The UCSF Young Women's Health Leadership Summit
The UCSF Young Women's Health Leadership Summit was held Wednesday April 7th, 2010 at the South San Francisco Conference Center. Young women representing San Francisco public high schools attended the event with their teachers, nurses, and wellness coordinators. The event was filled with food, spoken word, singing, dancing, inspiring speakers, and educational workshops. Our health educators led a morning workshop "Safer Choices: Decision Making and Communication". Our discussion focused on the different reasons why young women and men may or may not have sex and ways to make smart and safe choices. Participants were able to actively utilize the communication skills they learned by performing mini-skits and showcasing their acting chops.
2nd Clean Up Day
One Brick volunteers and staff once again joined forces to give our building a long over-due face-lift. Participants spent the day painting the exterior of the building and covering graffiti.
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