How Birth Control Methods Prevent Pregnancy
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How Birth Control Methods Prevent Pregnancy

With the variety of birth control methods available, there is little reason for anyone to have an unwanted pregnancy. Some methods are more effective than others. You and your partner, however, have to be comfortable with the choice you make, or you may wind up not using any birth control at all. To use birth control properly, you have to use it every time you have sex. Birth control methods work differently. Once you understand how birth control methods prevent pregnancy, you will be better able to select your preferred method.


Not having intercourse is the surest way not to become pregnant. The problem with the abstinence method is that many couples may intend to be abstinent but have sex, anyway. If you choose abstinence, you probably will not have any birth control with you and will end up having unprotected sex. Just one time is enough to get pregnant.

Rhythm Method

The rhythm method, like abstinence, does not use any birth control product. It works by not having sex on your most-fertile days. This method works better on a woman who has regular menstrual cycles and can determine when she ovulates. A woman is fertile about five days before ovulation, the day of ovulation and three days after ovulation. Some signs of ovulation are an increased body temperature and slippery cervical mucus.

Barrier Methods

Barrier methods block the sperm from entering the cervix and fertilizing the egg. The contraceptive sponge, the diaphragm, cervical cap, cervical shield, female condom and male condom are all barrier methods. The sponge contains a spermicide that kills sperm. A woman inserts the sponge into her vagina before sex. Diaphragms, cervical caps and cervical shields work the same way, only you add your own spermicide. These devices are not disposable like the sponge. A woman wears a female condom inside her vagina and blocks the sperm. A male wears a male condom on his penis to prevent sperm from entering a woman’s body.

Hormonal Methods

Hormonal methods interfere with ovulation and fertilization to prevent pregnancy. The pill prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg. Many types of pills are available, so women should discuss with a doctor which pill is best for them. Women wear the patch on the lower abdomen, buttocks, upper body or outer arm. The patch works like the pill by releasing hormones to stop the ovaries from releasing eggs. Women wear the patch for three weeks, rest for one week, and then start again with a new patch. The birth control shot, Depo Provera, also stops the ovaries from releasing eggs. Women get this shot once every three months, but they should not use it more than two years in a row. Women wear the vaginal ring for three weeks at a time. The ring also releases hormones to stop the ovaries from releasing eggs.

Implantable Devices

The intrauterine device (IUD) comes in two kinds. The copper type releases copper into the uterus, which prevents sperm from fertilizing the egg. The hormonal kind releases progestin, which keeps the ovaries from releasing the egg.

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