Birth Control Types

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Doctor's View on Birth Control Types

Comment by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

What is birth control?

Birth control is based on either preventing fertilization of a woman's egg by a man's sperm or preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus (womb). Birth control can be permanent or temporary. The woman and her partner, taking into consideration the ease of use, side effects, costs, and effectiveness of each method, must weigh the pros and cons of various birth control types.

Reversible methods of birth control

  • Reversible, or temporary, types of birth control include barrier methods such as condoms , cervical caps, or diaphragms that prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
  • Mechanical methods that prevent implantation include the intrauterine device (IUD) that prevents implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.
  • Hormonal methods like the pill interfere with a woman's menstrual cycle so that ovulation (release of an egg) does not occur.

Permanent methods of birth control

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Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/12/2015