Where to get Birth Control

Sexually active teens often wonder where to get birth control in order to prevent unintended pregnancy. There are a variety of places on where to get birth control depending on the time of birth control. There are many ways to prevent pregnancy using birth control.

For those looking for where to get birth control, the answer is pretty simple depending on what type of birth control you are looking to buy. Birth control methods like the pill, ring, shot, patch, etc. all must be prescribed from a health care professional at a clinic or hospital. However, alternative types of birth control exist in the form of condoms and spermicides. These types of birth control methods also prevent against unexpected troubles other than pregnancy including sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

Types of Birth Control:

Among prescription types of birth control, the pill is one of the most commonly prescribed types of birth control. The pill is taken each day orally and must be taken about the same time each day. This type of birth control is also one of the most common among teens because it is possible to get it without parent permission from a doctor or health care clinic. In addition, it is also one of the most inexpensive types of prescription birth control. However, with the new federal health care law that must be fully enacted prior to January 2013, prescription birth control must be free under any health insurance plan. For teens with no health insurance, there are many ways to already get free birth control through many health care clinics like Planned Parenthood.

Over the counter types of birth control like condoms and spermicides are able to be purchased and often found for free at health care clinics and doctor offices. Many schools will also hand out condoms during sexual education classes. These types of birth control, if used correctly, are also great because they protect users against contracting most STDs like AIDS/HIV as well as the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is becoming widespread among teen girls throughout the United States and can cause different types of cervical cancer.

There are also other ways to prevent unintended pregnancy, but they are not as scientifically proven to work as well. For example, the pull out method can be used, but is not 100 percent or even close to that in being effective. Breast feeding while pregnant is also a way to prevent pregnancy although it is not as effective other types of birth control because the breast feeding practice must be done perfectly and consistently in order to work.

The morning after pill is another type of birth control that is used as an emergency contraceptive. Young teens over the age of 16 can purchase this pill at any pharmacy over the counter. However if under the age of 16, they must have a parent permission to do so.

Where to Get Birth Control:

The various types of birth control can be purchased over the counter at just about any pharmacy, grocery store or convenience store. However, if you are looking for a prescription type of birth control, it must be purchased with a prescription at a pharmacy. In order to get a prescription for the pill, patch, ring, etc. you must go to a doctor or nurse. At the clinic, the doctor or health care professional will perform a wellness exam on  the teen to check for some STDs and other potential problems. This must be completed in order to get a years worth of birth control pills or other types of prescription birth control. Many clinics like Planned Parenthood will offer these exams for free if the teen is unable to pay for the exam.

With the new federal law enacted, teens will be able to get free prescription birth control under any health insurance plan. Be sure to check with your health care provider and insurance agent to learn more about this program. Keep in mind that abstinence is the only truly 100 percent effective way to not get pregnant. If you are a parent, talk to your teens about sex and safe sex using birth control. Be sure your teen understands the importance of birth control and how to properly take the pill.

Source: plannedparenthood.org, kidshealth.org

Early Pregnancy Tests

If you are a teen looking to find more information on early pregnancy tests, you’ve come to the right place. Finding out your contraception has failed or having unprotected sex can be a terrifying reality since unintended pregnancy can be a very likely consequence.

This is when early pregnancy tests come into play. If it has been a couple of weeks since you had unprotected sex, or your contraception failed during sex, you may be wondering the likelihood of your being pregnant. At this point, you might not want to wait and find out if you are pregnant until your next period. That is why there is the convenience of early pregnancy tests. Now with advances in pregnancy and medical technology, it is easy and very possible to detect pregnancy from your own home even before you find out if you have missed your period or not. However, there are a variety of early pregnancy tests that work at different times to determine when exactly you can take the test to find out your state of conception. In addition, some of these early pregnancy tests may not be as reliable as others and some may have a higher likelihood of false-negatives or false-positives. Regardless, these early pregnancy tests can be a huge sigh of relief for some and for others it can give them an idea of exactly what to expect in the coming months.

How Pregnancy Tests Work:

A pregnancy test works because it detects the amount of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) level found in a woman while pregnant. At-home pregnancy tests can detect this hormone as well as blood work and urine samples in a hospital setting. HCG can be detected in the body about seven to nine days after the fertilization of the egg.

Rules of Using Early Pregnancy Tests:

Because the at-home tests must be very sensitive to be able to detect even the smallest amounts of HCG, it is possible to use one about seven days past ovulation, or the day you may have suspected fertilization of the egg, which is also known as conception. However, sometimes even the Early Response pregnancy tests are not that sensitive. However, many at-home early response tests are able to test for pregnancy about five days before a missed period is set to take place. If your cycle is like clockwork and begins every 28 days, there is a better chance you will be able to time taking the pregnancy test to get the most accurate reading. This is helpful for those who may not yet even start to feel symptoms of pregnancy like morning sickness and fatigue within those first few weeks after conception.

There is always a chance to get a false positive or false negative when taking a pregnancy test because no at-home tests are 100 percent reliable, although most of the time pretty effective. The false results can also occur with a home pregnancy test when it is taken incorrectly. An indication of possible false result is if the lines on the test result are faint and almost difficult to read or interpret. This is when it is important to make sure and reread the directions for the pregnancy test and to consider taking a second test to make sure.  The most important thing to remember to avoid interpreting a false result is to only check the lines at the instructed time. To do so before or after will cause the lines to appear faint, which can given an improper reading. However many digital at-home tests do not have as high of a risk of getting a false positive or negative.

Where to Get Early Pregnancy Tests:

Early teen pregnancy tests are sold at just about any convenience store, grocery store, pharmacy or market. You don’t have to be a specific age to purchase a pregnancy test. The cost of these tests range anywhere from a few dollars to upwards of $20.  Because of the slight chance of a false negative or a false positive, some women will take two or three pregnancy tests to be sure.

However, that is not necessarily required. Hospitals, private doctor practices and health care clinics also offer early pregnancy tests by either testing the woman’s blood or urine. Sometimes these tests may come back as inconclusive or negative, however if it is done too early. If you have any questions on whether or not it is too early to have an actual doctor-performed early pregnancy test, simply ask your doctor or a health care professional.

Sources: justmommies.com, babycenter.com, kidshealth.org

PregnantPause Review

To discover more resources for pregnant teens, here is your chance to check out our PregnantPause review. In this PregnantPause review we are taking a look at a teen site that is geared toward teen pregnancy issues the pro-life stance toward serious issues like abortion.

Unlike many other teen online websites, PregnantPause is a website with a little more of an agenda than most other teen sites. In our PregnantPause review, we wanted to take a look at the pros and cons of this teen website to see if it really is a good resource for pregnant teens. Keep reading to learn more from our PregnantPause review.

PregnantPause Features and Focus:

PregnantPause is a website that is geared toward the benefit of teens, pregnant teens and young adults who are interested in learning about these issues as well as abortion. The website has many opinion-based articles about serious subject matter like adoption, teen birth, sex education, law and action surrounding teen pregnancy, adoption and abortion as well as teen pregnancy statistics. The site is somewhat interactive giving teens the chance to submit poetry and prose, which may become featured on the site. PregnantPause features subjects like infanticide, euthanasia, adoption and abortion in great detail. If you are teen that is simply looking for information on some of these topics,  you can get information for reports, presentations and homework assignments on PregnantPause complete with citing help and assistance.

The Pros of PregnantPause:

Because there is tons of facts, statistics and other reliable information concerning topics like teen pregnancy, adoption information, abortion facts, stories from teens who have been there and more, PregnantPause can prove to be a valuable resource for those looking for that information. There is also tons of information available about other teen and lifestyle issues like bio-ethics/medical ethics, overpopulation, racism and health care. PregnantPause also providers visitors with the chance to learn information that this is all related to but on the political and legislative level. The site gives information about how teens and young adults can get politically involved in these issues if they are interested. Overall, the information listed on the PregnantPause website can be extremely helpful to teens and students in general looking for reliable information on this subject matter.

The Cons of PregnantPause:

In our PregnantPause review, we found out a few things about the website that might be discouraging to some teens or visitors looking for information. The entire site is dedicated to providing information strictly to the Pro-life abortion debate. If you are simply looking for information on teen sex, pregnancy and informational topics about these issues, but are not really looking to get into the abortion debate, then this site may not be the best option for the information you are looking for because it is quite limited to taking the pro-life stance in just about every article written on the site. As a teen, or as a parent of a teen, looking for information about sex-related topics, there might be a few other teen websites out there that would be better options. However, if you are looking for information that is pro-life generated then PregnantPause would be a good option to consider when looking for informative websites for teens. However, keep in mind all of the articles on this site are indeed opinionated, which can often skew factual results regarding these same topics. Just like any other site on the web, be sure to do other fact checking to make sure the information they are providing is correct before risking to use it in a school project, report or presentation.

Overall we found in our PregnantPause review that this site is indeed informative, but isn’t as user friendly as the results of other teen resources websites we found online. Be sure to check out PregnantPause for yourself to learn more and find out if this is a good resource that you may like to use for your information gathering on issues like teen pregnancy, adoption, abortion and other teen sex issues.

StayTeen Review

Read our Stay Teen review to learn about this website for teens created by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Stay Teen offers teens and young adults information via interactive games, polls, blogs, articles and more to learn about sex-related issues.

If you are a teen looking for a new website to check out to look for resources for pregnant teens, or just a website where you can learn about safe sex, contraception, teen relationship advice, teen health and other teen issues, Stay Teen is a great resource. In our Stay Teen review we found this website is organized one of the best websites for pregnant teens or just teens in general looking for more information about issues they are facing. Stay Teen is set apart from many of the other teen-related websites because it has tons of interactive tools that make it not only informative, but fun for its visitors. Some of these fun features include games, polls, surveys and more. The games include My Paper Boyfriend and My Paper Girlfriend. These are games for both teen guys and girls to help teens learn about how to have a successful relationship as a teen while in high school.

In our Stay Teen review, we found out that The National Campaign created this Stay Teen website as a way to give teens a chance to properly give teens a way to enjoy their lives as a teen while still knowing and understanding how to follow their own responsibilities when it comes to subjects like sex and other issues they may encounter as teens. The National Campaign wants to provide teens with all of the information necessary to help make smart decisions with issues like sex, waiting, relationships, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases and infections. According to the Stay Teen website, there are three out of 10 girls in the United States that will get pregnant at least once before they turn 20.

Other Stay Teen features include:

  • Polls and surveys
  • Health center
  • Forum
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Discussions on teen pregnancy in the media
  • Tweets
  • Social networking links

Stay Teen review for teens:

Stay Teen offers pregnant teens tons of information about resources they may need to help them in this new trial in their life. It is also an even better resource for teens that simply need information about topics they may be afraid to discuss with their parents or another adult. Kids and teens can discuss this kind of information with each other, but do they really know what they are talking about? There are so many myths and misconceptions about sex, relationships, contraception myths, STDs and more that teens may be misinformed, which can affect their decision making when it comes to sex, abstinence and safe sex practices. Stay Teen also provides teens with lots of information about how to have a good, strong relationship with their friends and love interests. Relationships take a lot of work, and teens are new to the whole dating game and may need some extra help a long the way to find ways to establish and maintain trust, communication and honesty in a relationship. Games on the Stay Teen website like the Paper Doll games are interactive and help teens learn how to have a good relationship romantically with other teens, according to our Stay Teen review.

Stay Teen review for parents:

It is often left up to parents to make sure their teens receive the information they need to make smart and informed decisions about sex and other issues like teen sex, STDs and teen pregnancy. This website is a great recommendation for parents to give to their teens to help them learn more and get the answers to important sex-related questions they may be afraid to ask or discuss with their parents. Knowledge and information equals power, which is why it is important for teens to have access to this so they have the power and the smarts to make the best decisions possible for themselves. While doing research for our Stay Teen review we found this website offers tons of information that is helpful to both parents and their teens to learn the facts and get rid of those misconceptions about sex that can lead to poor decisions for teens.

SexReally Review

If you are a teen looking for a website with plenty of information about sex, birth control and more, check out our SexReally review. In this SexReally review, we are going over one of the most popular teen contraception and sexually informative sites on the web.

There are a variety of tools and resources online for pregnant teens and young adults, one of them being the SexReally teen website. This site is dedicated to providing teens and young adults in their 20s with a variety of information ranging from birth control options, teen pregnancy information and more. For pregnant teens, SexReally is a great option to help them get regularly updated information they may need toward educating themselves about teen pregnancy. Included in this website is complete access to articles, blog posts, polls and surveys, podcasts and videos ready to go and provide teens and young adults the chance to learn more about sex, pregnancy prevention, safe sex, sexually transmitted diseases and more.

What is SexReally?

The overall impact the creators of SexReally is trying to accomplish is to focus on relationships, making wiser health decisions, and being careful to avoid unplanned pregnancy. The idea is to help lower the rates of unplanned pregnancies among young women and teens since so many of those pregnancies end in abortion, poverty or child neglect because the young mother and father do not have enough know-how and experience to understand the full responsibility of taking care of a baby. One of the primary focuses behind SexReally is to not sugar coat sex and other sex-related issues. The creators talk about sex being everywhere from T.V. to magazines, movies and more. Instead of shying away from that, it is more important for teens to completely understand the risks they are taking to avoid STDs, unintended pregnancy and more to help teens and young adults make the best and most informative decisions regarding relationships, sex, fertility, contraceptives, STDs and other sex-related content.

Teens and SexReally:

When doing research for this SexReally review, we were first surprised at the vast amount of information available for teens looking for anything related to teen sex and sex-related topics. Another one of the positive elements of the site we found is that it appeals to both guys and girls. Sometimes websites for teens and young adults tend to attract female visitors substantially more than males. However, the overall look and design of the SexReally website appeals to the male teen because it also features articles, blog posts, polls, surveys and other content that is meant specifically for the guys. For the gals, SexReally is a great resource to turn to if any teen is looking for information on sex education, birth control, and controversial issues they are not comfortable bringing up with their parents.

Parents and SexReally:

The one downside we found in our SexReally review is that the site might be considered too graphic for the tween or young teen generation. In our SexReally review we found the target audience for this website is geared toward teens that are older or adults in their 20s. If you are a parent looking for a great online resource for your teen, you might want to make sure the content on the SexReally website is not too advanced or graphic for your teen. In addition to talking to your teen about sex and other sex-related issues, it might be a good idea to point them in a direction like SexReally’s online resource to help get them even more information about teen pregnancy, STDs and other issues they may face during their adolescent years. This is a place where teens and young adults can find the answers to questions they may be too worried or scared to as you, as their parent, or an adult.

Overall compared to many other similar websites, SexReally is one of the best we have found so far because it is great for a wide-range of ages as well as offers tons of content that is both informative as well as interactive, which is fun for teens and young adults. If you are a teen looking for a good variety of information on important sex-related issues, be sure to check out SexReally. If you are a parent looking for these kinds of resources to share with your teen about sex, we definitely recommend checking out SexReally.

Planned Parenthood Review

In our Planned Parenthood review, we found out information on one of the best and most popular resources for teen sex information. For teens who are having sex, thinking about having sex or just want information, Planned Parenthood is a helpful resource.

Planned Parenthood has clinics in many cities throughout the United States and provides teens and adult women with viable options of birth control, unintended pregnancy solutions as well as basic sex education. The Planned Parenthood website is also a good resource for a wealth of information on how pregnancy and contraception work, gay and lesbian issues, sexually transmitted disease and how to practice safe sex. The Planned Parenthood website also has information specifically for parents, and information specifically for teens making this a great website to spark discussion about safe sex and other sex-related issues between parents and their teens. 

About Planned Parenthood:

Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization that provides health care and education for men and women who do not otherwise have access to health care. Planned Parenthood is primarily funded by the federal and state governments and also operates on private donations to keep their 800 health centers open throughout the United States. In addition to its services, Planned Parenthood serves as an advocate of women’s rights and pro-choice options for women and teens  throughout the country. Planned Parenthood is often associated with the controversial topic of abortion, however the institution itself does not necessarily take a stance, but simply allows women and teens the choice to practice safe sex and take action to plan for pregnancy. The primary goal of Planned Parenthood is to promote women’s health and the overall sexual health of both men and women. Planned Parenthood does advocacy work on behalf of this mission and strives to help those who do not have access to health care or do not have basic sexual knowledge based on where they live. Many who live in poverty and underdeveloped areas are not given basic information about safe sex, contraception, STDs and unintended pregnancy, which is often the result of so many inner-city teen pregnancies and rampant spreading of STDs. 

Planned Parenthood health care:

About 90 percent of the health care Planned Parenthood provides is preventative or primary care, which helps ensure against unplanned pregnancies and reduces the spread of sexually transmitted infections through testing and frequent treatment. Planned Parenthood also has an international program that advocates for U.S. foreign policies that will benefit and improve the overall sexual health of individuals and families around the world. In our Planned Parenthood review we found that the operation plays a vital role in benefiting young men, women and adults to help them become more informed about sex education so they can learn to make the right decisions when it comes to practicing safe sex, knowing the signs and symptoms of STDs as well as how to prevent unplanned pregnancy. There are about 1.2 million teens and adults who actively participate in Planned Parenthood educational programs each year. These efforts could be partially responsible for the recent Centers for Disease Control study showing more and more teens saying no to having sex. 

Planned Parenthood statistics:

  • Planned Parenthood is know for providing sexual health care information and education to more than 5 million women, men and teens each year. 
  • About three million men and women in the United States regularly visit Planned Parenthood centers throughout the country on an annual basis. 
  • While many think Planned Parenthood is simply a resource for teens who do not have access to health care, that assumption is wrong. About 79 percent of those who visit Planned Parenthood are age 20 and older.
  • There are about one in five women throughout the United States who have visited the Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her life. 
  • In our Planned Parenthood review, we found that the operation has helped prevent about 612,000 unintended pregnancies each year.
  • About 83 percent of the services offered at Planned Parenthood are meant to prevent unplanned pregnancy by offering contraception and birth control.

Planned Parenthood services

In addition to advocacy and educational efforts, Planned Parenthood offers birth control, regular checkups like pap smears and breast exams and breast cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood also provides solutions for those who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy. About three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services result in abortions. Unfortunately, many law makers are attempting to discontinue public funding, which is the primary source of operation funding for Planned Parenthood.  The organization has over four million activists and supporters and donors nationwide. These men and women promote the ideals and mission of Planned Parenthood. For those who are interested in learning more about Planned Parenthood, check your local listings to find if you have a Planned Parenthood clinic nearby. 

Sources: plannedparenthood.org, abcnews.go.com

Department of Human Services

Department of human services is a great resource for pregnant teens. The Department of Human Services is a State run agency that has a number of services, but one of them is helping pregnant teens. Here are some basics about Department of Human Services. Contact the department of human services in your state to get specifics on how they can help pregnant teens.

Clarification About Departments of Human Services

A Department of Human Services is a state-level organization in the United States. It is not to be confused with the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), which is a department of the Federal government. There are also “Departments of Human Services” in other countries, for example, Victoria, Australia.

Many of the fifty states have a department called “Department of Human Services.” This is true, for example, in Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Mississippi, Utah, Hawaii, Arkansas, Alabama, Iowa, Oregon, New Jersey, and Minnesota. Other states have a similar department with a different name. For example, West Virginia has a “Department of Health & Human Resources,” South Carolina, Nebraska, Vermont, and Maine each has a “Department of Health and Human Services,” Montana has a “Department of Public Health and Human Services,” and Maryland has a “Department of Human Resources.” If you want to find your state’s department, go to the website of your state government (you can use this site to quickly access it http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/State_and_Territories.shtml) and look for a listing with some of the words shown in this paragraph or type “human services” in the search box.

Examples of Department of Human Services Activities

Since there are so many different agencies just in the United States, we’ll use examples to help describe the activities of the various Departments of Human Services.

• Illinois—The homepage for the Illinois Department of Human Services shows four main areas of activity:

• basic needs for individuals and families, including food, housing, cash, and child care;

• health services, such as medical attention, help for pregnant teens and women and parenting support;

• disability issues including developmental disabilities, and rehabilitation;

• mental health issues, including addiction.

There is also a link for more information.

• Vermont—The Vermont Department of Health & Human Services divides its duties in a different way, showing six areas of activity:

• Health Care—with attention to disease prevention and reporting, health care reform, health insurance, health care providers including hospitals, and mental health;

• Disability Resources—including meeting specific needs and transportation needs, advocacy and assistance, and technology and communication;

• Children’s Resources—including the areas of abuse and neglect, adoption, child care, child support, drug use prevention, foster care, nutrition, and parent resources;

• Resources for Older Vermonters—including caregiver resources, general care, nutrition, and transportation;

• Veteran’s Resources

• General Services and Support—including the areas of domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, men’s and women’s issues, nutrition, and substance abuse.

• UtahThe Utah Department of Human Services has six categories of service, and a search by the type of client involved (child/family, youth, adults, elderly, providers):

• General—including DCFS (Department of Child and Family Service)locations, adoption, domestic violence;

• Child Abuse—including Child Protective Services (CPS), child abuse prevention, and child protection ombudsman;

• Child Support—including child support services, child support case information, child support calculator, child support payment information, and paternity establishment—paternity matters;

• Disabilities Services—including licensed disabilities providers and Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities

Foster Care—including Utah Foster Care Foundation

• Mental Health and Substance Abuse—including Children’s Mental Health Services, mental health treatment information, substance abuse treatment information, public treatment providers, licensed mental health facilities, licensed substance abuse treatment facilities, drug information, and mental health diagnosis information.

Birthright International

Birthright International is an excellent resource for teenage girls who suddenly find themselves dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.  This article explains how Birthright International helps pregnant teens throughout the world.

What Is Birthright International?

Birthright International was founded by Louise Summerhill in 1968 to help women and girls facing an unplanned pregnancy. As the organization grew, it became the first international service for pregnancy crises. The international headquarters are located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but there are almost five hundred chapters across Canada and the United States alone, with additional chapters in Colombia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Birthright International does not have any religious or public agency affiliation, and it purposely adopts a “non-moralistic, non-judgmental” approach to its clients. It is an organization based on volunteer efforts, which means that it keeps an informal approach.

Birthright’s free 800 number is 800-550-4900.

The Philosophy of Birthright International

Birthright International operates with nine tenets.

  • It helps any girl or woman who seeks help on account of an unplanned pregnancy, regardless of age, creed, economic status, marital status, or race;
  • It attempts to help in whatever way the client needs, small and large;
  • It does not pass judgment on the circumstances of a pregnancy but focuses on ways to help;
  • It allows women to explore options without pressure or judgment;
  • It has a 24-hour free hotline and maintains local crisis and drop-in centers;
  • It educates clients as needed;
  • It provides services with no charge, and it operates without affiliation, whether political, religious, or any public agency;
  • It is available for as long as the client needs;
  • It refrains from engaging in pressure or scare tactics; showing images of abortions; responding to the presence of abortion clinics, whether through picketing or other means; evangelizing; and/or lobbying for changes in law and engaging in the public debate about abortion.

The Services Provided by Birthright International

Birthright International offers a variety of services, including:

  • pregnancy testing at no charge
  • medical and/or legal referrals
  • education and education referrals
  • housing referrals
  • social agency referrals
  • professional counseling referrals
  • Information about prenatal care and development, pregnancy and childbirth, adoption, child care options, child safety issues, job search and career development.
  • maternity and baby clothes
  • friendship and emotional support

All assistance, services, attention, and instruction are provided confidentially.

How Volunteers Can Contribute to Birthright

Birthright invites those who are interested in its mission to donate (it’s a non-profit); to volunteer at a chapter near you, or to open a new chapter, if they are so inclined. 

Finding a Birthright Office Near You

Besides searching in a phone book, you can go to the ‘Locations’ page of the Birthright website at birthright.org and find a location near you be entering your zip code and the radius within you’d like to find an office. Of course, you can expand the radius if you don’t find a chapter in your original search query. 



Women, Infants, and Children —WIC

WIC, the Women, Infants, and Children program, provides Federal grants that allow states to offer supplemental food, health care referrals and more for low-income women who are pregnant, nursing, or post-partum and their children up to age 5.

What Is the Women, Infants, and Children Program?

WIC, a program of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) aims to ensure that women and their infants and children—who, because of low income are at nutrition risk (that is, may not be able to afford the types and range of food that would provide them with a healthy pregnancy diet are supported through supplementary food, nutritional information so that they can make educated dietary choices, and health care referrals.

WIC was established as a pilot program in 1972 and became permanent in 1974. Originally known as the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children, its name was changed in 1994. Grants based on a yearly appropriation by Congress, are made to the 50 states, American Samoa, Commonwealth Islands of the Northern Marianas, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and 34 Indian Tribal organizations.

At the state level, most programs provide vouchers for specific food items that can be used at food stores that have received authorization. The food supplements are specified by four categories: children aged 1 to 4; pregnant women who are also partially breastfeeding up to 1 year postpartum; women who are postpartum (up to 6 months), but not breastfeeding; women who are fully breastfeeding up to 1 year postpartum.

Food packages include designated amounts of the following foods (although not all foods are provided for all categories):

  • Juice
  • Milk or soy substitute and/or infant formula
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Cheese (for fully breastfeeding women only)
  • Eggs
  • A voucher amount for purchasing fruits and vegetables
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Canned fish (for fully breastfeeding women only)
  • Dry legumes and/or peanut butter

WIC Eligibility

To be eligible for the Women, Infants, and Children program, the applicant must have an income that is at or less than 185% of the United States Poverty Income Guidelines. The current figure is $40,793 for a family of four people. Those who are eligible for Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are automatically income eligible. The other part of the eligibility requirements include state residency and be ascertained by a health professional to be “at nutrition risk.”

State WIC Programs

In implementing WIC, states and other grant recipients may provide their citizens with a range of information and services, including resources on breastfeeding, immunization, farmer’s markets, nutrition education information, and other data and information. In places where there is a population with a native language other than English, the state or other organization may provided translations of materials suitable for its population. For example, at the WIC website for the state of California, WIC materials are provided in Spanish (en Español) as well as in English.