The Diaphragm

The diaphragm is a thin rubber or silicone dome with a springy, flexible rim that works as a barrier. It keeps sperm from entering the uterus. This prescription-only method must be used with spermicides and inserted into the vagina before engaging in any sexual behaviors. After intercourse, the diaphragm must be left in place for at least six hours to be effective.


What are some advantages?

  • Can be effective (about 90%) in preventing pregnancy when used correctly every time.
  • The diaphragm can be put in up to six hours before sex and safely remain in place for up to 24 hours.
  • Safely reusable for several years.
  • No possible hormonal side effects.

What are some disadvantages?

  • Does not protect against STDs; use a condom correctly every time you have sex.
  • They are not as effective at preventing pregnancy as IUDs, implants or hormonal birth control methods.
  • Requires a visit to a healthcare provider.
  • You have to remember to use it every time you have sex.
  • It must be used with a spermicide.
  • May be difficult and messy for some women to insert and wear.
  • Raises the risk of frequent bladder infections.
  • Must be left inside the vagina for six-eight hours after sex.
  • Must be washed after use and safely stored.

Where and how do you get it?

A healthcare provider can help you decide if this method is the best choice for you.


The Sponge

The Sponge

It’s a small, round, soft piece of foam with spermicide in it that is inserted into the vagina before sex. It fits over the cervix—the lower part of the uterus—to keep sperm from entering the uterus. The spermicide kills sperm. The sponge has a loop for easy removal. You might hear people call it by the brand name, Today Sponge.


What are some advantages?

  • Can help prevent pregnancy. It is about 90% effective when used correctly every time.
  • Doesn’t require a visit to a healthcare provider.
  • It is easy to get without a prescription
  • It works for 24 hours after it is inserted.
  • No possible hormonal side effects.

What are some disadvantages?

  • Does not protect against STDs; use a condom correctly every time you have sex.
  • Not as effective at preventing pregnancy as IUDs, implants or hormonal birth control methods.
  • May be difficult for some people to insert.
  • It must be left in place for six hours after having sex.
  • Can be expensive.

Where and how do you get it?

You can find it at drugstores, supermarkets and at some healthcare providers. Talk to your healthcare provider about the sponge.


By Ceridwen (self-work) [CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Cervical Cap

The cervical cap is a small latex, plastic or silicone rubber cup that covers the cervix, the lower part of the uterus, to prevent sperm. This prescription-only barrier is most effective when used with a spermicide.


What are some advantages?

  • Can be effective (about 85%) in preventing pregnancy when used correctly.
  • Can be put in up to six hours before sex and safely remain in place for up to 48 hours.
  • Safely reusable for several years.
  • No possible hormonal side effects.

What are some disadvantages?

  • Does not protect against STDs; use a condom correctly every time you have sex.
  • Not as effective at preventing pregnancy as IUDs, implants or hormonal birth control methods.
  • The risk of pregnancy doubles if you do not use it correctly.
  • Requires a visit to a healthcare provider.
  • You have to remember to use it every time you have sex.
  • May be difficult and messy for some people to insert and wear.
  • May raise the risk of frequent bladder infections.
  • Must be left inside the vagina for six to eight hours after sex.
  • Must be washed after use and safely stored.

Where and how do you get it?

A healthcare provider can help you decide if this method is the best choice for you.


Spermicides

Spermicides are vaginal creams, foams, films, suppositories and sponges that contain Nonoxynol-9, which is a chemical that kills sperm. Spermicides are inserted into the vagina an hour to 15 minutes before sex. Some spermicides can be used alone, or to add protection to condoms; they must be used with the cervical cap and diaphragm.


What are some advantages?

  • Makes barrier methods more effective in protecting against pregnancy.
  • Easy to find at stores and clinics.
  • Doesn’t require a visit to a healthcare provider or a prescription.
  • Can be inserted up to one hour before having sex.

What are some disadvantages?

  • Used alone, spermicides are not the most effective protection against pregnancy.
  • Does not protect against STDs; use a condom correctly every time you have sex.
  • Can irritate the vagina, which can make it easier to get an STD.
  • They must be inserted into the vagina at least 15 minutes before having sex.

Where and how do you get it?

Spermicides are available at drugstores, supermarkets and clinics. You don’t need a prescription or ID to buy them. Remember, spermicides are not very effective for preventing pregnancy when used alone and they do not protect against STDs.

Less Common Methods Not Recommended for Teens

You might read or hear people talk about other methods of birth control that are permanent. Here is little info about some of those methods that are not recommended for teens:

Tubal ligation (tubes tied) is a permanent birth control procedure for females. It can be surgical or nonsurgical but is always done at a healthcare clinic or hospital. This method is never recommended for people who may decide to give birth in the future. Most doctors in the United States will not perform this procedure on people under the age of 18 unless it is medically necessary. It does not protect against STDs.

Vasectomy is a type of birth control surgery for males that permanently blocks the tubes (called the vas deferens) from mixing sperm with ejaculation fluid. It is not a good option of birth control for people who may decide to have children in the future. Most doctors in the United States will not perform this surgery on people under the age of 18 unless it is medically necessary. It does not protect against STDs.

Fertility Awareness Methods or FAM for short, is the fertility awareness method that females use only when they know and understand the cycles of their own bodies. You may hear people also call it the “rhythm method” or “natural family planning”. Some of these methods are the “cervical mucus method”, the “calendar method,” the “standard days” method – and there are others, too. FAM is all about carefully tracking your menstrual cycle to determine the days that you can get pregnant. The tricky part is figuring out when those days happen. You must either abstain from sex or use other birth control methods during “fertile” days. It is not always reliable for pregnancy prevention and never protects against STDs. FAM is not an effective method of birth control for teens due to irregular menstrual cycles.

Pulling out/Withdrawal is also called coitus interruptus or the “pull out method.” It involves pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation can occur. This method cannot be accurately predicted or 100% effective because pre-ejaculate (pre-cum) contains sperm. It should never be used by males who ejaculate early or prematurely. It also does not protect against STDs. It is not a safe or reliable option to prevent pregnancy for teens!

Other Methods that you may read about on the internet — or hear people talk about – should never be used to prevent pregnancy. Douching, jumping up and down and “magical” potions or herbs advertised online do not work to protect you from pregnancy or STDs and could actually be dangerous. Be smart and don’t fall for the myths. Protect yourself and know the facts! Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.

What Does This Mean?
Mean?
Healthcare
Finder

77%

of teen pregnancies are unplanned.

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