Contraceptives are available for couples looking for temporary birth control options. These are perfect for those who only want to prevent pregnancy for a short period of time and those who do not want the effects of contraceptives to be permanent. This is ideal for timing and spacing out pregnancies.
There are generally two types of temporary birth control options: barrier and hormonal. Hormonal contraceptives are typically pills, injectables, implants, patches, and vaginal rings. They are discussed in Hormonal Birth Control Options. Barrier birth control options are discussed below.
Barrier contraceptives are generally products that prevent pregnancy by blocking sperm from the uterus. While some of them can be used alone, others are more effective when used with spermicides which are foams, jellies, tablets, or vaginal suppositories containing chemicals that kill sperm. Some of the most common barrier contraceptive products include condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms, and IUDs.
Condoms for Men and Women
Male condoms are the most commonly used birth control options around the world. This is because they are inexpensive, readily available, and relatively easy to use. These products are usually made of latex. They are placed over the erect penis before intercourse to prevent semen from getting into the woman’s vagina.
Female condoms are not quite as popular as condoms for men but are also quite commonly used to prevent pregnancy. Such products are typically made of polyurethane plastic and are placed inside the vagina to create a lining that should block the passage of sperm to the egg upon ejaculation.
Cervical Caps and Diaphragms
Other barrier birth control options include cervical caps and diaphragms. Cervical caps are made of silicone while diaphragms are made of latex. While they are made up of different materials, both work similarly as temporary contraceptives. They are placed in the vagina to cover the cervix and effectively prevent pregnancy.
The main difference between the two types of contraceptives is that cervical caps fit tighter than diaphragms so that they cover only the cervix. On the other hand, diaphragms cover not just the cervix but also the area around it. Generally, both are used with spermicidal jelly or other types of spermicides for extra protection.
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
Intrauterine devices, commonly referred to as IUDs, are also considered to be barrier contraceptives. These are small plastic or metal devices that are placed by physicians in the woman’s uterus for long-term contraception. Such devices thicken the mucus found in the cervix. This makes it difficult for the sperm to travel normally into the fallopian tubes and also reduces the growth of the uterus’ lining.
Although they are meant to prevent pregnancy over long periods of time, IUDs are still considered to be temporary birth control options since they can be removed upon request. Generally, intrauterine devices can last anywhere between five and ten years inside a woman’s uterus, depending on whether the type used was copper or hormonal.
These different birth control options have been proven to be safe for sexually active couples trying to prevent pregnancy. However, it is important to note that they are not 100% effective