The Best Barrier Birth Control Methods

The Best Barrier Birth Control Methods

Sex as a recreational activity between consenting adults is natural and healthy. Being able to prevent conception is an important part of the equation. Barrier birth control might be the right option for you and your partner.  

The expert OB/GYNs at North Texas OB/GYN in Plano, Texas, can help you decide which form of birth control is best for you. Whether you are a man or a woman, birth control should be a shared responsibility.

Forms of barrier birth control

Barrier birth control is exactly what it sounds like: a physical barrier between oncoming sperm and the cervix. The goal is to prevent sperm from passing through the cervix and potentially encountering a fertile egg.

There are many different types of barrier contraceptives:

Male condoms

This is probably the most familiar type of barrier birth control. The male condom is a sheath that fits snugly over the penis, and catches the ejaculate. When used properly, male condoms can be very effective, but there are risks, such as the condom tearing or coming off before withdrawal. 

Female condoms

The female condom is a pouch that fits inside the vagina, to catch ejaculate and prevent it from reaching the cervix. These can also be effective when used properly, but can shift or break when used carelessly.

Contraceptive sponges

Sponges doused in spermicide are a combination birth control method. The sponge can be inserted hours before sex and kept in for hours after (no longer than a total of 30 hours). The sponge must fully cover the cervix, and isn’t the best option for women who have recently given birth.

Diaphragms and cervical caps

A diaphragm is a silicone or latex dome that fits inside the vagina right over the cervix. It also has to be used with spermacide, shouldn’t be used for six weeks following childbirth, and has to stay in place for six hours after sex (but no longer than 24 hours). A custom-fitted diaphragm offers more protection than a generic one. A cervical cap is similar, but made of plastic, and can be left in place for up to 48 hours; they come in three sizes and you have to have a prescription.

Using birth control responsibly

Many people feel more comfortable with multiple forms of birth control. Even if you are on contraceptives, like the pill or a hormone implant, or have had surgery like a vasectomy or tubal ligation, you still have the right to ask a partner to use birth control. Condoms, in particular, don’t just prevent pregnancy, but can help protect against STIs. 

Have questions about birth control? Don’t be afraid to ask. To get in touch with the specialists at North Texas OB/GYN, call 469-240-1866, or visit the contact page for more information.

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