The most popular methods of birth control methods can be divided into 3 categories. They’re either what’s known as:
Barrier methods: meaning they work to prevent sperm cells from reaching the egg (i.e., condoms).
Ovulation barriers: meaning they prevent ovulation (i.e., birth control pill).
Plantation barriers: meaning they allow for fertilization of the egg, but stop the implantation of the fertilized egg inside the uterus (i.e., IUD).
Your preferred method of birth control is a very personal choice, and luckily there are many effective methods that can be used alone or used in combination to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Of course, different methods of birth control have their pros and cons, for instance, many carry a certain amount of risk or have negative side effects linked to their usage. Remember, no one method of birth control is absolutely effective in preventing STIs or unwanted pregnancy, but here are the most common methods to choose from:
1. Birth control pills
Also known as hormonal birth control, birth control pills are taken regularly (usually once per day at the same time) to prevent ovulation and pregnancy. These are considered “combination pills” because they’re made up of a mixture of estrogen and progesterone hormones. Side effects of birth control use can include weight gain, mood changes, breast tenderness, headaches or migraines, and decreased sex drive.
Condoms are what’s known as a barrier birth control method, because they block the male sperm from reaching an egg. Condoms are thin latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene sheiths worn by male sex partners and also the only birth control method that also safeguards against STIs.
3. Diaphragms or cervical caps
Diaphragm or cervical caps are thin, malleable circular domes that are inserted into the vagina prior to sex to prevent contraception. Many diaphragm users also use spermicide in combination to prevent pregnancy. The only negative of using a diaphragm is potential is vaginal irritation.
These barrier methods of birth control come in gel, cream, and foam, and are inserted deep into the vagina with an applicator prior to sexual intercourse in order to chemically destroys any sperm from swimming up the uterus and fertilizing an egg. Spermicides may cause some irritation such as bladder pain, discolored vaginal discharge, itchiness, and irritation, and
IUDs, or intrauterine devices, are intrauterine coil devices implanted into the female uterus to trigger a thick mucus layer that blocks sperm and prevents fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus and resulting in pregnancy. Side effects of an IUD may include spotting or bleeding between periods, heavy bleeding pelvic pain, back pain, headache, ovarian cysts, and missed periods (or amenorrhea).