Healthsheet

Birth Control Options

Birth Control Options

Birth control keeps you from getting pregnant during sex. There are many types of birth control. Some of the most common types are described below. New types are being tested all the time. Your healthcare provider can help you decide which type of birth control is best for you. But no matter which type you choose, you and your partner must use it the right way each time.

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Condom

A condom is a thin covering that fits over the penis. (The female condom fits inside the vagina.) A condom catches sperm that come out of the penis during sex.

 

Image of using spermicide

Spermicide

Spermicide is a gel, foam, cream, tablet, or sponge. It is put in the vagina before sex to kill sperm.

 

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Diaphragm and Cervical Cap

Diaphragms and cervical caps are round rubber cups that keep sperm out of the uterus. They also hold spermicide in place.

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Intrauterine Device (IUD)

An IUD is a small device that is placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy.

 

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The Pill

The birth control pill is taken daily. It contains hormones that stop a woman’s body from releasing an egg each month.

 

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Other Hormones

Hormones that stop a woman’s egg from being released each month can be delivered in other ways. These include injection, implant, patch, or vaginal ring.

Emergency Contraception (EC)

Emergency contraception can help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Hormone pills (“morning after pills”) are available over the counter to anyone over 18. A second type of EC, a copper IUD, needs to be inserted by a trained healthcare provider. Either type of EC can be used up to 5 days after sex. EC will not work if you’re already pregnant.

Remember:

  • Choose a type of birth control that is easy for you to use.

  • Read the package to learn to use your birth control the right way.

  • Most forms of birth control do not protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To protect against STIs, always use a latex condom.


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