Birth control is any method used to prevent pregnancy. Another word for birth control is contraception. If you have sex without birth control, there is a chance that you could get pregnant. This is true even if you have not started having periods yet or you are getting close to menopause.
The only sure way to prevent pregnancy is to not have sex. But finding a good method of birth control you can use every time can help you avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
Birth control does not offer protection against STD or HIV. Women who use oral contraceptives are advised not to smoke due to an increased risk of serious cardiovascular adverse effects.