Understanding the Different Types of Birth Control
There is an array of options of birth control available today. Having an understanding of the different types of birth control can help individuals make an educated and informed decision when choosing the birth control method that will work best for them.
- Male Condom: A sheath worn over the erect penis during sexual intercourse to allow of the ejaculation of semen without conception.
- Female Condom: A pouch worn inside the vagina (or the anus during anal intercourse) to prevent semen from entering the uterus.
- Diaphragm: A shallow dome-shaped device used with spermicide that fits inside the vagina and is inserted to cover the cervix and prevent sperm from entering.
- Cervical Cap: A thimble-shaped device that fits over the cervix and is used with spermicide.
- Contraceptive Sponge: A soft foam device that is placed over the cervix and used with spermicide.
- Combined Hormonal Contraceptive Pill: A pill containing both estrogen and progestin that suppresses ovulation and thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering.
- Progestin-Only Pill: A pill containing just progestin that suppresses ovulation, thickens cervical mucus, and also works to prevent the sperm from entering.
- Contraceptive Patch: A patch that is applied to the skin and releases both estrogen and progestin to prevent ovulation, thicken cervical mucus and make it harder for sperm to enter.
- Vaginal Ring: A small flexible ring that releases both estrogen and progestin and is inserted into the vagina to prevent ovulation and make it harder for sperm to enter.
- Injection: An injection of progestin which suppresses ovulation and thickens cervical mucus to make it more difficult for sperm to enter.
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
- Copper IUD: A T-shaped device made of copper that is inserted into the uterus to prevent fertilization and impair sperm movement.
- Hormonal IUD: A T-shaped device that contains a progestin that is inserted into the uterus to prevent fertilization, impair sperm movement, and can also thin the uterine lining.
- Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP): A pill containing levonorgestrel (a form of progestin) that is taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent ovulation and fertilization.
Understanding the different types of birth control methods available and their individual consequences can help you make the best choice for your specific needs. Talk with your healthcare provider to go over all the options for birth control and which method is right for you.