Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Barrier Methods of Birth Control
Browse and register for related classes.
Barrier methods keep sperm from entering the uterus and
reaching the egg. In general, barrier methods are less effective but have fewer
side effects than hormonal methods or IUDs.
include condoms (male and female), diaphragms, cervical caps, and contraceptive
A male condom is a thin, flexible tube of latex rubber, polyurethane, or
sheep intestine that has a closed end. The condom is placed over the erect
penis before intercourse.
female condom is a tube of soft plastic (polyurethane) with a closed end. Each
end has a ring or rim. The ring at the closed end is inserted deep into the
vagina over the cervix, like a diaphragm, to hold the tube in place. The ring
at the open end remains outside the opening of the vagina.
A diaphragm is a round, dome-shaped device made of rubber with a firm,
flexible rim. It fits inside the vagina and covers the cervix, the opening of
the uterus. It should always be used with a sperm-killing cream or jelly
A cervical cap is made of rubber and shaped like a large thimble. It
fits tightly over the cervix and is used with a spermicide.
A contraceptive sponge contains a spermicide, nonoxynol-9, that is
released over the 24 hours that the sponge may be left in the vagina. The
sponge also blocks the cervix so sperm can't pass.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerFemi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMay 30, 2016
Current as of:
May 30, 2016
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
250 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
Share Feedback and Questions
View Quality Data
© 2017 Concord Hospital