|Fifty years later, this stuff is still confusing.|
Nowadays, there are so many products available to women for STI prevention and contraception. A lot of women wonder what options are available, how to use them, and how these contraceptives work. To help make sense of it all, we’ve created a handy guide to birth control! Keep in mind that you can always talk to the awesome people at Well Woman and Primary Care Health Service(PCHS) to learn which methods are right for you. Also check out our list of birth control options available at Barnard.
Condoms It’s pretty obvious how this one works…and they’re FREE in the basket outside Well Woman.
Dental Dams are used for oral sex, and these are FREE at Well Woman. They reduce the transmission of STIs which can be spread during oral sexual activity.
The Vaginal Ring Inserted into the vagina, this ring releases estrogen and progestin to stop ovulation. Each ring is used for three weeks, and then removed for your period. The vaginal ring is marketed under the name NuvaRing.
Chemical Methods (DO NOT PREVENT STI TRANSMISSION)
SpermicideThis form of birth control usually comes as a gel or cream and is placed into the vagina before sex. Spermicides work by stopping sperm from moving (limiting mobility) and by blocking the cervix.
The Diaphragm Like a sponge, diaphragms are inserted in the vagina and cover the cervix. They are made of rubber and must be fit at a doctor’s office. Diaphragms must be used with spermicide.
The Cervical CapThis is a silicone cap that is placed over the cervix and used in combination with spermicide. It works by blocking the opening of the uterus (so sperm can’t get inside and fertilize an egg). The name of the cervical cap available in the United States is called FemCap.
Molly Scott is a junior at Barnard and Senior Editor of The Nine Ways of Knowing.
Image courtesy of Virginia Tech.