The 17 available birth control methods and options

Birth control methods are things couples do to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Birth control can be taken as a pill, inserted into the vagina, or put inside the uterus. It can also be worn on a penis (condom). Birth control prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation. When ovulation doesn’t happen, pregnancy cannot.

The birth control methods available include condoms, implants, IUDs, birth control injections, vaginal rings, patches, pills, and internal condoms. Other methods include a diaphragm, spermicide, sponges, cervical caps, withdrawal method, vasectomy, and sterilization.

This article will take you through the different types of birth control methods and options and explain to you how they prevent pregnancy.

Types of Birth Control

There are many ways to prevent pregnancy. To know which one best suits you, talk to your doctor. Common birth control methods include:

  • Barrier birth control options.
  • Hormonal birth control options.
  • Surgical/permanent birth control methods.

Barrier birth control methods

These are birth control methods that acts a barrier for sperms to get through and make way to the uterus. They include:

1. Men condoms.

birth control

Men’s condoms are the most common way that people use to prevent pregnancies. They are to be used every time during intercourse. It is among the first options people consider when talking about birth control options. Men’s condoms not only help prevent unwanted pregnancies, they also help to prevent sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, syphilis, and Chancroid.

However, beware that condoms are not 100% effective in preventing pregnancy and infections as some may have microtears which may allow sperms to pass through. To get more knowledge on how to properly use condoms, read our previous post on the top 15 condom use errors.

2. Female condoms.

Another barrier birth control method available is female condoms. They work similarly to male condoms but in this context, a woman is the one who puts it on. These condoms are supposed to be worn every time you have sex. To find out how female condoms are supposed to be used, stay tuned for our next blog on the same.

Before opting for this method, talk to your doctor for proper instructions because they also have their own way of use to be effective in preventing pregnancy.

3. Spermicides.

Spermicides are another barrier birth control method you and your partner can use to prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, keep in mind that they are slightly expensive compared to other barrier birth control methods and options such as condoms.

Use spermicide, which has chemicals that prevent sperm from reaching an egg, to prevent getting pregnant.

You can purchase spermicide at pharmacies and chemists without a prescription, unlike other birth contraceptives like cervical caps that need a doctor’s prescription.

4. Cervical caps.

Another barrier birth control option available is cervical caps. Cervical caps are tiny cups with cup-like shapes composed of soft silicone materials. To protect the cervix, these cervical cups are placed deep inside the female vagina. In this manner, sperm cannot get through to fertilize the egg during unprotected sex.

Consult a doctor to be sure of how to use them effectively.

5. Vaginal sponges.

Another barrier method of birth control is vaginal sponges. They are little, round, soft plastic sponges that should be inserted deep inside a woman’s vagina before having sex. This sponge prevents pregnancy by covering a woman’s cervix and containing a spermicide which works by killing sperms.

To learn how to use it properly, speak with your doctor.

6. Withdrawal method.

The withdrawal method is another common method that people use as a barrier birth control method to prevent unwanted pregnancy and is completely free. You do not have to pay even a single cent to use the withdrawal method. The withdrawal method is whereby two adults have unprotected intercourse but the man pulls out a few seconds to ejaculate to prevent sperms from making their way into the vagina.

The withdrawal method can be an effective way to prevent pregnancy but it requires a lot of expertise and care because any slight mistake will cause sperms to enter the woman’s vagina and cause pregnancy.

Hormonal methods 

Hormonal birth control methods and options are those birth controls that alter the hormones to prevent you from getting pregnant. They include:

7. Implants.

Implants are among the common hormonal birth control methods available. Implants are small rod-shaped that are to be inserted into a woman’s arm to protect her from unwanted pregnancy for a period of up to 5 good years of unprotected intercourse by producing the hormone progestin.

Anyone who doesn’t understand what this implies should know that it simply indicates that there won’t be any ovulation, guaranteeing that pregnancy cannot occur.

8. Emergency pills.

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Emergency pill

Emergency pills also known as the morning-after pill are another hormonal birth control method available to help prevent unwanted pregnancies. Different from the 28 days pill, this one is supposed to be taken after unprotected intercourse.

The morning after medications works by temporarily stopping your ovary from releasing eggs. However, the stage of your menstrual cycle and how soon after sex you take the emergency pill affect how effectively it prevents you from getting pregnant. Read our post about morning-after pills to have a fuller knowledge of emergency pills.

9. The 28 days pills.

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Birth control pills

28 days pills are another hormonal birth control method. They are different from the emergency pill because they are supposed to be taken daily before intercourse. These pills are effective only if the user is consistent in taking them every day and at a specific time of the day uniformly.

These pills work with hormones by preventing ovulation which means that there won’t be pregnancy in any way.

Kindly, if you are not a consistent person or if you think you are a person who forgets things easily, don’t choose this option because you will be messed up. 

10. Vaginal rings.

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Vaginal ring

A vaginal ring is a tiny, flexible hormonal ring that is placed inside the vagina to release hormones into the body and prevent conception. It is to be put in the vagina once every month. Talk to a healthcare professional and you will be advised accordingly.

The ring contains the hormones progestin and estrogen, which your vaginal lining allows to enter your body and prevent ovulation.

11. Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

birth control

Intrauterine devices are another hormonal birth control available. They are also as costly as implants but the good thing is that they are long-lasting because they will serve you for longer periods. This also depends on where you come from(country) so do not worry about the pricing, first talk to your doctor.

A tiny T-shaped device called an intrauterine device is inserted into a woman’s uterus to prevent sperm from moving past it means there is no room for an egg to fuse with sperm causing pregnancy. They function by altering the movement of sperm cells, preventing them from reaching an egg, and preventing conception.

12. The Diaphragm.

This is another effective barrier against unwanted pregnancy. It is inserted into a woman’s vagina and it helps prevent pregnancy by covering the cervix.

13. The patch

The patch is a hormonal method of birth control that needs to be applied to specific body regions and distributes hormones via the woman’s skin to stop ovulation, which prevents conception.

Permanent birth control

These are basically Surgical procedures and are non-reversible. They include;

14. Vasectomies.

Vasectomy is a male surgical procedure which is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. It is whereby the scrotum in the male reproductive system is either cut or blocked and can only be carried out by a qualified doctor.

15. Sterilization.

Sterilization is another permanent birth control method performed on women. Just like vasectomy, it is also not reversible and is 100% effective.

It is done by having the fallopian tube tied, blocked, or completely cut meaning you will never be able to have children. It is performed by a qualified medical professional.

Note: Make sure that you are 100% sure that you will never want children in your entire life before opting for vasectomy or sterilization.

Other birth control methods

16. Abstinence- Not involving yourself in sexual intercourse.

17. Fertility awareness is also known as safe days of birth control. It is where ladies study their cycle and opt to engage in unprotected intercourse when they are certain they cannot get pregnant. That is after ovulation. Be careful because it is not 100% effective.


It is important to be aware of the different birth control methods and options that are available. This knowledge can help you make an informed decision about which birth control option to settle for.

This blog post has covered 17 different birth control options. It has been informative, but it certainly isn’t exhaustive. There are other birth control methods out there that have not been mentioned in this post, and they might be a better fit for you than one of the 17 mentioned here.


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