5 Different Barrier Birth Control Methods

5 Different Barrier Birth Control Methods

Birth control is any medicine, device, or surgery to avoid getting pregnant. There are many different routes you can take depending on what you’re looking for. Some are long-lasting, while others can help to prevent STIs. Some are more comfortable, while others are more effective.

Barrier birth control methods are just one of many options.

Whichever way you decide to go, our team at Women’s Health Services wants you to be able to make an informed decision on which kind is best for you, including the barrier method.

What are the different kinds of birth control?

You have quite a few different options when it comes to birth control or contraceptives.

Hormonal contraceptives

Hormonal contraceptives work by altering your hormones to prevent ovulation or to create an environment that’s not conducive to fertilization. These methods include implants, shots, oral medication, and intrauterine devices (IUDs).

Fertility awareness

Fertility awareness consists of tracking your menstrual cycles to determine when you’re ovulating and the most fertile and not having sex on those days. This tends to be a more inefficient way to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

This brings us to another common birth control method: the barrier option.

5 different ways to use barriers for birth control

Barrier contraceptives work by placing physical obstacles in the way of sperm and eggs. You have to put these barriers into place right before having sex without worrying about altering your hormones if you prefer to avoid hormonal contraceptives.

Male condoms

Male condoms are thin coverings made of latex, plastic, or lambskin. They are placed on the penis to prevent sperm from entering your uterus. When used properly, this method is about 87% effective at preventing pregnancy. 

Male condoms are the most effective for protection against STIs.

Female condoms

Female condoms are lubricated plastic tubes that are inserted into the vagina. One end blocks your cervix to keep any sperm from being able to get into your uterus. With typical use, these are 79% effective.


A diaphragm is a reusable, flexible dome that is inserted into the vagina to block off your cervix. Spermicide – a gel or cream that damages sperm that makes it past any barriers – is needed to make this method effective. You will also need to keep wearing the diaphragm for at least six hours after sex.


A vaginal sponge is a small, circular device containing spermicide placed in the vagina to block your cervix. Before use, wet the sponge to activate the spermicide, and make sure you also leave this in for at least six hours after having sex. 

Cervical cap

A cervical cap is a rubber cap, about the size of a thimble, inserted in the vagina to block off your uterus. You will also need to use spermicide for this method to be fully effective. These are reusable and must be left in for at least six hours after sex.

So, all these methods are shown to be very effective, and all of them need spermicide to have their maximum effect in preventing unwanted pregnancies. 

Next steps

If you’d like to learn about barrier birth control or your birth control options, don’t hesitate to call us at 817-277-9415 or book an appointment online today.

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