Women's Health Texas – San Antonio

Barrier Methods of Birth Control

Barrier methods of birth control prevent sperm from reaching the egg

There are several barrier methods of birth control available to you. Some require prescriptions, while others, such as condoms, do not. These options offer certain advantages that appeal to some women. Our San Antonio OBGYNs are always willing to discuss the benefits and risks of these and other birth control methods.

The benefits of barrier methods of birth control

  • The condom is the only birth control method that can prevent STIs.
  • Condoms, sponges and spermicides are available with no prescription in many stores.
  • Most of these methods can be used immediately after giving birth, and they can be used while breast feeding.
  • Many of these methods are less expensive than other contraceptives.

These methods of birth control must be used properly every time you have sex in order to be effective. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states, “Out of 100 women per year, 18 to 28 women will become pregnant when using barrier methods.”

Condoms are the only option that helps prevent STIs

Male and female condoms are thin sheaths that you can only use once. Both of these barrier methods of birth control help prevent STIs. However, the male condom offers the most effective protection, while the female condom only offers some protection. Our San Antonio OBGYNs recommend that all women who are not in a monogamous relationship use male condoms and their regular birth control.

  • Using lubricants with condoms prevents breaking or tearing, but only use silicone or water-based products.
  • Do not use a male and female condom together.

You can insert diaphragms and sponges hours before intercourse

You can insert these barrier methods of birth control into your vagina to cover your cervix. Diaphragms are available in a custom-fitted version from your physician or in a “one-size-fits-most” version that doesn’t require a fitting. The contraceptive sponge is available over the counter and does not need to be fitted.

  • The diaphragm must be used with spermicides, while the sponge already contains spermicide.
  • Leave these devices in the vagina for six hours following intercourse.
  • Do not use for six to eight weeks after giving birth.
  • You can insert the devices before you have sex, but read the instructions for each one.

Combine spermicides with other barrier methods of birth control or use alone

Using spermicides with other birth control methods makes them more effective. Spermicides are chemical gels, foams or creams that render sperm inactive. You insert spermicide directly into the vagina.

  • Wait 10-15 minutes after use before having sex.
  • Spermicides are only effective for one hour after they are inserted.

Discussing the variety of birth control methods with our San Antonio OBGYNs is time well spent. The more you know, the more informed your decision will be. Contact us for an appointment.