Understanding Your Birth Control – Barrier Methods

It's important to discuss birth control with your partner as well as a medical professional.

There are a lot of birth control options on the market today. Trying to choose the birth control that’s right for your lifestyle can seem like a daunting task. The first step towards choosing birth control that works for you is educating yourself on the many different types available today. Once you’ve learned a little more about birth control, you should then have a conversation with your doctor on your specific health needs and choose a birth control method with them.

One of the most popular and cost effective types of birth control are barrier methods. As the name suggests, barrier birth control methods are a physical barrier that keeps the sperm from reaching the egg. The most common barrier method is the condom, but there are several other options as well:

  • Contraceptive Sponge – this soft, disk shaped device is made out of polyurethane foam and contains spermicide. It placed against the cervix and stops the sperm from entering the uterus.
  • Diaphragm, Cervical Cap or Shield – All of these methods work in a similar fashion. They are solid latex or silicone cups that fit over the cervix. Some come in one size while others are fitted to your body. Like the sponge, they are more effective when used with spermicide.
  • Female Condom – Similar to the male condom, the female condom is worn inside of the woman’s body. It has two flexible rings that help it stay in place. It should not be used with a male condom and a new condom should be used each time you have intercourse.
  • Male Condom – One of the most affordable and common forms of contraception, the male condom is worn over the male genitalia and stops sperm from entering a woman’s body.

A health care professional can go into more detail on all of these and many other forms of birth control and help you choose the most effective method for you.  If you need help choosing and obtaining contraceptives, please contact the friendly staff at any of our family planning centers and they will help set you up with the right method for you.