Birth control (“contraception”) is any therapy used to prevent pregnancy. A woman has many birth control options which may be chosen depending on her age, overall health and lifestyle. Birth control methods vary in their side effects and effectiveness.. While a physician can advise, it is up to each woman to decide which type is best for her.
A barrier method of birth control places a barrier or block between the sperm and the egg, thus preventing pregnancy from occurring. Barrier methods are commonly used in conjunction with spermicide, which is a substance that kills sperm.
Common barrier methods of birth control include:
- Cervical cap
Many women choose barrier methods because they do not want to use hormonal, permanent or more long-term forms of birth control. One benefit of barrier birth control methods is that they have no effect on a woman’s natural hormones. In addition, women can breast-feed while using barrier methods. An important consideration regarding condoms is that they provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases including hepatitis and HIV. No other contraceptive prevents STDs.
Barrier methods are safer than all others but this is balanced by their higher failure rate.