Choosing the best birth control method for your needs is an important decision. Barrier methods for birth control are one type of contraception, which work by preventing sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg. Condoms are probably the most recognizable type of barrier contraception, but there are others that provide varying degrees of protection from pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
If you’re ready to start a new birth control plan or switch from your current method, we can help. Our OB/GYN doctors and women’s health specialists offer a range of obstetrics and gynecology services at Memorial Women’s Specialists in Houston, Texas.
How well do barrier methods for birth control work?
Birth control effectiveness varies depending on the method you choose. While some methods of birth control are highly effective in preventing pregnancy, keep in mind that there’s always a small chance of failure with any form of birth control, so some people choose to use more than one method for better protection.
Condoms are probably the most popular and common barrier method of birth control. According to statistics, male condoms are typically 98% effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly.
Other types of barrier method birth control include:
- Sponge – approximately 73% effective if you’ve given birth before; approximately 88% effective if you have not given birth
- Diaphragm – approximately 94% effective
- Cervical cap – similar effectiveness rates to the sponge, depending on whether you’ve given birth
- Spermicide – approximately 70% effective when used alone
Understand that barrier method birth control can have a higher margin of error than expected because they require correct usage every time you have sex.
Do barrier methods for birth control protect against STDs?
Condoms are the only form of birth control that also protect you from STDs and STIs like gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. If you’re not sure of your own or your partner’s STI/STD risk or history, using a condom in addition to another form of birth control is your safest option.
How to choose the right type of birth control
There are several things to consider when choosing birth control, ranging from your lifestyle and health to whether you plan to try and get pregnant in the future. Barrier birth control methods are reversible, so you can become pregnant as soon as you stop using them, and are a good option if you plan to get pregnant in the near future. The most essential factor in choosing birth control is that you use it correctly and every time you have sex if you choose a barrier method. If you have any questions or concerns about which birth control method is right for you in the short and long term, our team is here to help.
For more information about the various types of birth control and to find the correct method for you, contact Memorial Women’s Specialist to schedule an appointment at our office in Houston.