Types of Birth Control

Some kinds of birth control work better and are more effective than others. And different methods suit different people. Let's dive into the various types of birth control that are available to you.

Facts

Natural family planning

Natural family planning is a birth control method with a high failure rate. It means ways to avoid having sex when you are most fertile.

Spermicide

Using spermicide is a birth control method with a high failure rate. Spermicides are chemicals that kill sperm in the vagina.

Sponge

A sponge is a birth control method with a medium failure rate. It's a soft foam disc containing spermicide which you insert into the vagina before having sex.

Diaphragm

A diaphragm is a birth control method with a medium failure rate. It's a soft rubber dome that fits over the cervix – the neck of the womb. It blocks sperm from getting into the womb.

Sterilization

Female sterilization is a birth control method with very low failure rate. The woman’s fallopian tubes, which carry eggs from the ovaries to the womb, are blocked.

Implant

An implant is a birth control method with very low failure rate. It's a tiny rod containing a hormone, which you have injected just under the skin on your arm.

Shot

There are two types of birth control shots: the combined shot and the one-hormone shot.

IUD

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small contraceptive device which is inserted into the uterus.

Female Condom

Female condoms aren’t just for women. In Zimbabwe, men use the word ‘tekenyenza’ to describe the gorgeous tickle he feels when his penis rubs on the inner ring of the female condom.

Withdrawal

Withdrawal is when a man pulls his penis out of a woman’s vagina before he ejaculates – the moment where semen comes out of his penis.

Abstinence: not having sex

In general, abstinence means not having sexual intercourse (when a man inserts his penis into a woman’s vagina).

Condom

A rubber sheath that fits over the penis and stops sperm from getting into the vagina. It's like a very thin and stretchy tube-shaped bag, with a teat at the closed end to collect the sperm.

The pill

It’s a pill that women swallow every day. Combined birth control pills contain two hormones, estrogen and progestin. 'Mini-pills', or progestin-only pills, only contain progestin.

Emergency contraception

E-pills, morning-after pills or emergency contraception pills, are drugs you can take when you have had unprotected sex and think that you could be pregnant.