I want to get birth control since I am going to have sex soon, but I’m scared to tell my parents. Can I get birth control without her permission (I’m 16)? Any suggestions if I can’t?

In general, you don’t need your parents’ permission to get prescription birth control like the pill. However, there might be certain places where, for one reason or another, a health care provider will require parental permission or notification before giving you a birth control prescription. If you’re worried about that, you can call your health care provider or your local Planned Parenthood to ask about their policy (you don’t have to tell them your name when you ask about it.)

There are also plenty of forms of birth control that you can get without a prescription, in the drug store, grocery store, or at a health clinic. The condom might be your best bet, since it helps protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Using a condom along with another form of birth control is the most effective way to reduce the risk of pregnancy and STDs. Click here to find out about other birth control methods, both prescription and not.

It’s totally normal to feel scared about talking with your parents about birth control. And if you can get a birth control prescription without their permission (or choose to use a different birth control method), you don’t have to have that conversation. But talking with your parents about birth control (and sex!) can be really beneficial — seriously! Your parents might not like the idea of you having sex, but they probably do like the idea of being involved in your life decisions. And becoming sexually active is a pretty big life decision. Click here to learn more about how to talk to your parents about sex.