Birth control is a method of contraception to prevent pregnancy. There are several different methods of birth control to date, for you solely or for yourself and your partner as well. Different birth control options often work in various ways. Some common ways that birth control works include:
- Preventing sperm from coming into contact with the egg
- Damaging sperm or inactivating it
- Stopping an egg from being released monthly
- Altering the uterus lining to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to it
- Thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from passing through
Birth Control Methods
The most common methods of birth control available include:
- Barrier Option: This often refers to male and female condoms, a cervical cap, diaphragm or a contraceptive sponge.
- Short-Acting Hormonal Birth Control: The most popular example of this is birth control pills. Other methods include the vaginal ring (NuvaRing), skin patch (Xulane) or contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera). These are considered short-acting birth control methods because the user has to remember to use them every day, monthly or weekly.
- Longer-Acting Hormonal Birth Control: These examples include the copper IUD (ParaGard), hormonal IUD (Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena), and the contraceptive implant (Nexplanon). These are considered long-term birth control methods because they can be used for three to ten years after being inserted into the body or until you remove the device.
- Sterilization: This is a permanent birth control method. For women, it involves a tubal ligation and for men, a vasectomy.