Birth control is any method of contraception used to prevent pregnancy. A woman has many birth control options; which are appropriate depend on her age, overall health and lifestyle. Birth control can be permanent or temporary. Some types of birth control are more effective than others, and it is up to each woman to decide which type is right 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.

Types Of Barrier Birth Control

Common barrier methods of birth control include the following:

  • Cervical cap
  • Diaphragm
  • Sponge
  • Condom

Spermicide can be used with all barrier methods except the sponge, which already contains a spermicide.

Benefits Of Barrier Birth Control

Many women choose barrier methods because they do not want to use 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, most women can breast-feed while using barrier methods. In terms of condoms, an important consideration is that they provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.

Risks Of Barrier Birth Control

Although most barrier methods of birth control are safe, there are associated risks, which may include the following:

  • Vaginal or cervical irritation
  • Allergic reaction to spermicides
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Allergic reaction to latex

It is important to note that condoms are the only method of birth control that provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.

Considerations Of Barrier Birth Control

Choosing a method of birth control is a personal decision. It is important for a woman to consider the following before deciding which method of birth control is right for her:

  • Age
  • Personal health issues
  • Risks
  • Hormone levels
  • Frequency
  • Effectiveness
  • Permanence

Women should consult with their doctors about the different types of birth control available, and to answer any questions they may have about contraception and family planning.