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The topic of birth control has long been considered taboo, only to be discussed in private. Today, it’s time to get over being embarrassed about your reproductive health. I’m going to shed some light on different birth control methods as well as information about how you can get your preferred type as a Barnard student.

First, there are many birth control methods that are widely available to anyone on any college campus. These may include male or female condoms, diaphragms, and other similar alternatives. In addition to these, many of the most frequently used birth control options are hormonal contraceptives. Although hormonal birth control was initially created for the purpose of preventing pregnancy, many people go on it for other reasons, including wanting to regulate their period, minimize hormonal acne, and reduce menstrual side effects such as migraines. Any and all reasons why someone may go on birth control are equally valid. There are many forms that are available; while some opt for the pill, others may prefer an IUD, implant, or patch. The process of figuring out which birth control works best for you and where you can access it may seem daunting, but there are many resources at your disposal.

The first method of obtaining birth control I recommend is through Planned Parenthood, a nationwide reproductive care organization. They make it especially easy to obtain birth control if you want to (or are already using) the pill form; they have an app that allows you to order your prescription to any local pharmacy for pickup. However, if you are unsure about what form of birth control is best for you, or if it is your first time getting birth control, you can call any Planned Parenthood clinic and schedule an appointment. Healthcare professionals at Planned Parenthood will help you to pick the best birth control method for you; once you figure out which method suits you best, you can receive pill refills or any minor operations at Planned Parenthood. These minor operations, such as for an IUD or implant, are available in-clinic.

Another option of accessing birth control is going through the NYC Health Clinic. Similarly to Planned Parenthood, you can ask a health professional about the specifics of different birth control methods, then decide what you prefer to use. If you opt for the pill, NYC Health Clinic can write prescriptions for you to pick up, and if you decide to get an IUD or implant, they will also perform insertions and removals. However, with those procedures, you may need to consult your health insurance company to see if they will cover the cost.

Finally, the Barnard Primary Care Health Service offers many reproductive care services for students at a reduced rate. To make an appointment, call 1-212-854-2091; their hours are from Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. They provide routine gynecological check-ups as well as contraceptives (hormonal and otherwise), health education, and pregnancy counseling. They also provide free pregnancy testing, low-cost emergency contraceptives, STI testing, and more.

There is often a lack of information regarding women’s sexual and reproductive health, so I would like to demystify the topic of birth control and share resources for Barnard students to utilize. You have everything you need to take control of your own reproductive health.

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Wynna Huang

Columbia Barnard '24

Wynna Huang is currently a student at Barnard College, and she is originally from the Bay Area. She is a prospective stats and data science major but loves writing on topics ranging from mental health to current cultural events in her free time.
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