Barrier vs. Hormonal Birth Control

About two-thirds of sexually active American women are using birth control. An important element of your reproductive health, contraception gives you the ability to control how and when you want to have children. 

From pills and implants to condoms or spermicide, there are plenty of options when it comes to preventing pregnancy. Each type of birth control has advantages and disadvantages. Choosing which method is right for you is a personal decision, but you don’t have to weigh the options alone. 

Our women’s health experts at Abortion Care are here to help you learn more about your birth control options. We share the major differences between barrier and hormonal birth control methods, how effective they are at preventing pregnancy, and which option could be right for you.

Barrier methods

Barrier methods of birth control get their name because they block sperm from entering your uterus. They don’t rely on hormones or other drugs to prevent pregnancy. If sperm can’t reach an egg, it can’t be fertilized, and you can’t get pregnant.

A few of the most common barrier methods are male and female condoms and diaphragms, or cervical caps. Spermicidal foams and sponges are other types of barrier methods that work by killing sperm before it reaches your uterus.

To be effective, barrier methods must be used correctly every time you have sex. Rates of effectiveness vary between methods, but some women prefer barrier methods to hormonal contraception because they’re drug-free and they don’t pose the risk of side effects.

Depending on your age and your sexual habits, you could be at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Using a male condom when you have sex — whether or not you use other forms of birth control — can prevent the spread of STDs.

Hormonal contraception

While barrier methods keep eggs and sperm physically separated, hormonal contraception works by preventing ovulation so you can’t get pregnant. There are many different forms of hormonal contraception, so chances are good that there’s an option that fits into your lifestyle. 

When used correctly, most hormonal birth control methods are over 90% effective in preventing pregnancy. The pill is the most well-known type of hormonal contraception. Other hormonal options include vaginal rings, skin patches, or injections.

Long-acting reversible birth control is hormonal, but it doesn’t require a lot of attention once it’s in place. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) or arm implants are two of the most popular forms of long-acting birth control.

Some IUDs prevent pregnancy for five years or longer, while the arm implant lasts for three years. These methods are popular because they’re convenient and effective, but they can be removed at any time if you decide you want to get pregnant. 

Choosing the right birth control

Every woman’s needs are different when it comes to birth control. It’s not uncommon to use a combination of barrier and hormonal methods to prevent pregnancy. To make the right choice for you, take the time to educate yourself about your options and talk with us.

Important considerations include your sexual habits and the number of partners you have, along with your overall health. Weigh your desire to have children in the future and your comfort level with each type of contraception.

Women who have sex infrequently might find that a barrier method is enough to prevent unintended pregnancy. But if you’re having sex more often, hormonal methods can set your mind at ease. If you have several partners or change partners frequently, using a condom can protect against STDs as well as pregnancy.

Turn to our team at Abortion Care with your questions. We’re here to help you make the best decision for your health and your lifestyle. Call our office at 732-408-6182 to schedule your first appointment or send us a message today.

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