You’re trying to figure out the best way to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, and you’re not all that keen on the idea of hormonal controls. Fortunately, hormones aren’t the only birth control route as there are highly effective barrier options from which to choose.
As part of our family planning services, Dr. Fernando Otero and our team at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley offer a wide range of birth control choices, and there’s sure to be one that fits your unique needs and goals.
To give you an idea, here we review five barrier birth control methods that prevent sperm from reaching, and fertilizing, your eggs.
Perhaps the most popular and well-known barrier birth control method is the condom. There are both male condoms (external) and female (internal) condoms to choose from. Each type, when used correctly, can stop sperm from gaining access to your eggs.
Not only can condoms prevent pregnancy, they’re also the only birth control methods (outside of abstinence) that can protect you against sexually transmitted infections.
The disadvantages of condoms are that they can break, and they are an on-the-spot technique that requires that you interrupt your sexual activity for a moment.
2. Cervical caps
Birth control methods that block the entrance of your cervix are also effective at preventing pregnancy. For example, a cervical cap, which is a small, reusable silicone cap that covers your cervix, boasts a 71-86% efficacy rating. The reason for the range in efficacy is that the cap needs to be positioned properly and works best when combined with a spermicide.
Another approach that blocks the cervix entrance is the diaphragm, which is a larger version of the cervical cap. This reusable device is 88% effective, especially when it’s in the right position and, like the cervical cap, is combined with a spermicide.
Another way to create a barrier is to use a sponge. The sponge not only covers your cervix well, it also contains spermicide, and the combination provides you with 76-88% protection.
The sponges are disposable, so you use a new one each time you have intercourse.
5. Spermicides and gels
If you want to avoid using devices inside your vagina, you might want to take a closer look at spermicides and gels. Contrary to the name, spermicides don’t kill sperm, but repel them, instead.
There’s also a gel that women can use that lowers the pH in their vaginas, which makes it hard for sperm to move.
In either case, you need to apply the spermicide or gel before you have sex.
We hope that we’ve provided you with a clearer picture of your barrier birth control choices, If you still have more questions or you’d like to get started, please contact one of our two locations in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas.