A condom (rubber, prophylactic) is a sheath worn over the penis. Condoms originally were designed to block the escape of sperm, but now have been shown to be effective in blocking entry and exit of bacteria and some viruses. Most condoms are made of latex but some, called "skin condoms," are made of sheep intestine. Only the latex condom should be used for disease protection because the AIDS virus, and possibly other disease agents, are able to penetrate the larger pores in the skin condom.
Vaginal spermicides are products such as foam, jelly, cream, suppositories or film that are inserted deep into the vagina on or near the cervix shortly before sexual intercourse. Most of these products contain nonoxynol-9, a chemical that kills sperm on contact. To be effective, a spermicide must be used every time intercourse occurs.
We recommend that vaginal spermicides always be used with condoms.
Emergency contraception (also known as EC or the morning after pill) works to prevent pregnancy in the case of unprotected intercourse. For maximum effectiveness, EC should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. However, EC may be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected intercourse.
Ortho Evra or "the patch" is a birth-control patch. It contains the hormones norelgestromin and ethinyl estradiol, hormones similar to those used in birth control pills. Each contraceptive patch, which is thin, beige, flexible, and square, is worn on the body for 1 week at a time.
The diaphragm is a round silicone cup that holds spermicidal jelly or cream against the cervix. Although it may prevent some sperm from entering the cervix, it does not and cannot fit snugly enough to protect against pregnancy by itself. Therefore, spermicide is essential for the diaphragm to work.
An IUD (an acronym which stands for intrauterine device) is a small plastic device that is inserted into a woman's uterus by a clinician. It provides highly effective, safe, and convenient birth control.
Nexplanon (which has replaced Implanon, an older version of the device) is a small, thin, implantable type of birth control that releases hormones. It is a flexible plastic rod the size of a matchstick that is put under the skin of your arm and is effective for up to three years.
Depo Provera, also known as "the birth control shot" or just "Depo," is a synthetic hormone that is injected into the hip muscle every 12 weeks. Depo Provera prevents ovulation. It also alters the lining of the uterus making it much less likely for pregnancy to occur.
When used correctly, Depo Provera is 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy over 12 weeks.
NuvaRing is a flexible, colorless, odorless ring about the size of a silver dollar containing estrogen and progesterone, the same hormones used in oral contraceptives. The hormones are absorbed through the vagina into the blood stream to prevent pregnancy. The ring is inserted into the vagina and left in place for 21 days. It is then removed for seven days to allow for a period.
The ring is as effective in preventing pregnancy as birth control pills. The failure rate, if used correctly, is less than 1%.
The mini-pill is a type of birth control pill that contains about half the amount of the hormone progestin found in most combined oral contraceptives. There is no estrogen in mini-pills.