Birth Control

Abstinence
Cervical Cap
Condom (Male)
Depo-Provera
Diaphragm
ECP
Female Condom
Female Sterilization
IUD
Norplant
NuvaRing (The Ring)
Ortho Evra (The Patch)
The Pill
Vasectomy
Vaginal Spermicides
Withdrawal

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Abstinence

Effectiveness (chances of NOT getting pregnant): 100%

What is Abstinence?

Refraining from vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse.

Advantages of Abstinence:

  • No risk of unintended pregnancy.
  • No risk of becoming infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Opportunities to express feelings and affection for another in other ways.
Disadvantages of Abstinence:
  • Both partners must agree to honor this choice.
  • Partners must have excellent communication skills; yes must mean yes and no must mean no.
  • May need emergency contraceptive method if this method fails.
How do I decide?
  • Are you comfortable expressing your feelings for another in nonsexual ways?
  • Is your partner in agreement?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Is abstinence the best decision for you?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff, husband, partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Cervical Cap

Effectiveness (chances of NOT getting pregnant): 60-90 %

What is the cervical cap?

  • It is a barrier contraceptive method.
  • A soft rubber cup like device that fits snuggly around the base of the cervix.
  • It is used with spermicide for prolonged and additional pregnancy prevention.
What are the advantages of the cervical cap?
  • Simple to use.
  • No serious side effects.
  • Does not require partner involvement.
  • Good for persons who do not have sex on a regular basis.
  • May decrease risks of some sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Provides contraceptive protection for up to 48 hours, no matter how many times
    lovemaking occurs.
  • Does not interrupt lovemaking.
  • Does not interfere with breast-feeding.
What are the disadvantages of the cervical cap?
  • Consistent and correct use is required to prevent pregnancy.
  • Persons with allergies to latex or spermicides cannot use.
  • Remains in vagina for at least 6 hours after intercourse.
  • Possible risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, if worn longer than 48 hours.
  • May experience vaginal odor with prolonged use.
How Do I Decide?
  • Are you comfortable inserting a medical device into your vagina?
  • Do you have sex frequently (more than three times weekly)? If so, you may want to use another method.
  • Are you sensitive or allergic to latex or spermicidal products?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Is the cervical cap the best method for you?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff, husband, partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.

Click here to download a PDF fact sheet

For more information click here

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Condom (Male)

Effectiveness (chances of NOT getting pregnant): 86 - 97%

What is a male condom?
  • Made out of latex (rubber), but polyurethane and tactylon (both plastic) are available.
  • Over the counter barrier method of birth control.
Advantages of the male condom:
  • Easy to get and relatively inexpensive.
  • Can be discontinued at any time.
  • Provides some protection from sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.
  • Reliable method for people who cannot use hormonal birth control methods.
  • Responsibility of both partners.
  • Can be purchased without a prescription.
  • Does not interfere with breast-feeding.
Disadvantages of the male condom; you may experience the following:
  • Non-cooperative partner.
  • Some irritation or sensitivity to latex.
  • Difficulty using condoms correctly.
  • Must use a new condom with every sex act.
  • Some men say it reduces sexual feelings.
  • Must be rolled onto an erect penis before sexual intercourse, can interrupt foreplay.
  • Spillage or leaking of sperm is possible if condom is put on or removed incorrectly.
How Should I decide?
  • Will you remember to use it every time you have sex?
  • Will your partner be cooperative in the use of this method?
  • Can you or your partner maintain an erection?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Is the condom the best method for you?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff,
    partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Depo-Provera ("The Shot")

Effectiveness (chances of NOT getting pregnant): More than 99%

What is Depo-Provera?
  • It is an injection given every 3 months.
  • It contains synthetic progesterone.
  • It stops ovulation, and/or thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from passing through.
  • It is a reversible method of birth control given only by prescription.
Advantages of Depo-Provera:
  • Does not interfere with sex.
  • Only need to get a shot 4 times a year.
  • May stop menses or make them very light.
  • Excellent alternative for women 35 and older who smoke.
  • Reduces the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.
Disadvantages of Depo-Provera:
  • Irregular or unpredictable bleeding or spotting.
  • Possible hair loss.
  • Weight gain, especially right after pregnancy.
  • It may delay your chances of getting pregnant after the shots are stopped. It can take between six and eighteen months for menstruation and ovulation to return consistently. This does not mean that you are protected from pregnancy during this time. Use alternate protection, such as condoms.
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (see warning below).
  • You must go to the clinic or doctor's office 4 times a year.
How Do I Decide?
  • Is getting a shot a problem for you?
  • Do you have any medical problems that will prevent you from taking Depo-Provera?
  • Do you have liver disease, breast cancer or blood clots in your arms, legs or lungs?
  • Do you have sex frequently or not very often, if not very often do you want extra
    hormones in your body all the time?
  • Does this method fit with your religious, or moral beliefs?
  • Is the Depo-Provera shot the best decision for you?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff,
    husband, partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

For more information click herepdf

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Diaphragm

Effectiveness (chances of NOT getting pregnant): 80-94% (during first year of use and whether or not you have delivered a child)

What is a diaphragm?
  • Barrier type birth control method prescribed by your family planning clinician.
  • A dome shaped rubber cup with flexible rim that covers the cervix and is inserted into the vagina before intercourse.
  • Used in combination with spermicidal jelly or cream.
Advantages of the diaphragm:
  • Simple to use.
  • No serious systemic side effects.
  • Does not require partner involvement.
  • Good for persons who do not have sex on a regular basis.
  • Decreases risk of some sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Does not interrupt lovemaking.
  • Decreases risk of cervical cancer.
  • Does not interfere with breast-feeding.
Disadvantages of the diaphragm:
  • Consistent and correct use is required to prevent pregnancy.
  • Persons with allergies to latex or spermicides cannot use.
  • Increased risks for developing urinary tract infections (UTI's).
  • Remains in vagina for at least 6 hours after intercourse.
  • Repeated sexual intercourse requires additional spermicide.
  • Must remove within 24 hours to avoid risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
  • Must replace diaphragm every two years.
How Do I Decide?
  • Are you comfortable touching your vagina?
  • Are you comfortable inserting a medical device into your vagina?
  • Do you have sex frequently (more than three times weekly)? If so you may want to use another method.
  • Are you sensitive or allergic to latex or spermicidal products?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Is the diaphragm the best method for you?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff,
    husband, partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

For more information click here pdf icon

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ECP or Emergency Contraceptive Pills

Effectiveness (chance of NOT getting pregnant): 74 % - 89%

What is the ECP or Emergency Contraceptive Pills?
  • An emergency contraceptive method used after sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy.
  • Is most effective when used within 12 hours of unprotected intercourse or contraceptive accident.
  • ECP can be used up to 72 hours or three days after unprotected sex.
  • ECP only works if a woman is not already pregnant.
  • Interferes with egg development.
  • Prevents or delays ovulation.
  • Inhibits fertilization.
Advantages of ECP or Emergency Contraceptive Pills:
  • Only method of contraception used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.
  • Only method used to prevent pregnancy after male condom slipped, broke, or leaked.
  • Only method used to prevent pregnancy after a woman's diaphragm or cervical cap was inserted incorrectly, removed too early, or found to be torn.
  • Only method used to prevent pregnancy after a woman has missed one or more of oral contraceptives.
  • Only method used to prevent pregnancy when a female condom was inserted or
    removed incorrectly.
  • Method may be obtained ahead of time from a family planning clinician to be used when needed. Plan B, a brand name for ECP, is also available at a pharmacy. Women and men who are 18 or older can now purchase Plan B over the counter with proof of age. In most states, including Pennsylvania, women 17 or under will still need a prescription from a clinician for Plan B or other ECP methods.
Disadvantages of ECP or Emergency Contraceptive Pills:
  • Does not work if already pregnant.
  • Limited time frame (ECP must be used within 72 hours or three days after unprotected sex). Is not an ongoing method of contraception.
  • Nausea occurs in 23% to 50 % of women who use this method (medications to prevent nausea are available).
  • Vomiting occurs in 5 to 25% of women who use this method (medications to prevent vomiting are available).
  • Ectopic (tubal) pregnancy may be a possible result.
  • ECP changes the amount, duration, and timing of the next menstrual period in about 10 to 15% of women treated.
  • There is still a chance of pregnancy. If menstrual cycle does not start in 7 days, consider pregnancy and contact your family planning clinician.
  • Does not provide protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
How do I decide?
  • Do you want to be pregnant?
  • Do you understand that there is a possibility of pregnancy after taking ECP?
  • Do you have unprotected sex frequently?
  • Is 72 hours enough time for you to make a decision and get ECP?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff, husband, partner, friend, or family member?
For more information about ECP, check out Not-2-Late.com, 1-888-NOT-2-LATE or 1-800-330-1271. In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you. Visit ec.princeton.edu to see the list of resources.

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.
Click here to download PDF fact sheet

For more information click herepdf

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Female Condom

Effectiveness (chances of NOT getting pregnant): 79% - 95%

What is the female condom?
  • Over the counter barrier method of birth control.
  • It is polyurethane (plastic) sheath with an inner ring that fits inside the vagina, around the cervix (like the diaphragm) and an outer ring that covers the outside labia.
  • After the man ejaculates, you must twist the end closed and gently pull from the vagina.
Advantages of the female condoms:
  • Can be inserted into the vagina up to eight hours before sexual intercourse.
  • Can be used with spermicides to increase STD protection.
  • Provides protection against some sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.
  • Can be used by people allergic to latex or spermicides or by those who can't take
    hormones.
  • Made from polyurethane plastic, which conducts body heat.
  • Erection unnecessary to keep female condom in place.
  • Some women and men have an increased sensitivity or "natural" feel compared to
    male condoms.
  • Can be purchased without a prescription.
  • Does not interfere with breast-feeding.
Disadvantages of the female condoms:

You may experience the following:

  • Difficulty inserting and/or keeping in place.
  • Cannot be combined with male condoms as they pull each other off.
  • May be noisy (add more lubricant if this is a problem).
  • May irritate vagina or penis.
  • More expensive than male latex condoms.
  • Must be used every time you have sex.
  • After the man ejaculates, you must twist the end close and gently pull from the vagina.
How do I decide?
  • Are you comfortable touching your vaginal area?
  • Will you remember to use it every time you have sex?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Is the female condom the best method for you?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff, husband, partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: This method provides some protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using condoms consistently can help provide protection from STD's.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Female Sterilization

Effectiveness (chances of NOT getting pregnant): More than 99%

What is female sterilization?

A surgical intervention that mechanically blocks the fallopian tube to prevent the sperm
and egg from uniting.

Advantages of female sterilization:
  • Very reliable and effective method of contraception.
  • Permanent method.
  • No long term side effects.
  • Does not interrupt lovemaking.
  • Does not require partner involvement.
  • Nothing to remember or buy.
  • Does not interfere with breast-feeding.
Disadvantages of female sterilization:
  • Permanent method.
  • Difficult and expensive to reverse surgical procedure.
  • Requires skilled surgeon to perform procedure.
  • Expensive procedure.
  • Possible ectopic (tubal) pregnancy if method fails.
  • No protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
How do I decide?
  • Are you sure you do not want any more children?
  • Are you willing to have an operation to prevent pregnancy?
  • Have you considered other methods?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Your decision for female sterilization should be what is best for you.
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff, husband, partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Intrauterine Device ("IUD")

Effectiveness (chances of NOT getting pregnant): 98% - 99%

What is an IUD?
  • Small plastic device which is placed in the uterus by a clinician.
  • Prevents sperm from fertilizing egg.
  • Some contain synthetic progesterone others have copper on them.
  • It is a reversible method of birth control given only by prescription.
Advantages of the IUD:
  • Easy to use, low maintenance method.
  • Easily inserted and removed in a clinic or doctor's office.
  • Has no systemic side effects.
  • Depending on the type they can be left in place 1, 5, or 10 years.
  • Reduces the risk of tubal pregnancy.
  • Does not interfere with breast-feeding.
Disadvantages of the IUD:
  • Must be inserted and removed in a clinic or doctor's office.
  • Easily inserted and removed in a clinic or doctor's office.
  • May be some cramping or pain at the time of insertion.
  • May experience increased bleeding or cramping during periods.
  • May experience spotting between periods.
  • Should not be used by women with multiple sex partners because this increases
    exposure to STD's, which significantly increases the risk of pelvic inflammatory
    disease (PID).
How do I decide?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Do you have sex frequently? (The IUD functions 24 hours a day.)
  • Decide if it fits your birth control needs.
  • Is the IUD the best method for you?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff,
    husband, partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a
list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic
near you.

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

For more information click here pdf

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Norplant

Effectiveness (chances of NOT getting pregnant): More than 99%

What is Norplant?

  • Six capsules containing synthetic hormones inserted under the skin of your upper arm.
  • Capsules slowly release hormones into the bloodstream over a 5-year period.
  • These hormones stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month.
  • Hormones also thicken mucus in the cervix (opening to the uterus), stopping sperm from entering it.
  • Reversible method of birth control.
Advantages of Norplant:
  • Long term method can stay in for 5 years.
  • After 12 to 18 months of using this method, periods usually stop.
  • Can be removed anytime, and the woman can become pregnant right away.
  • Does not interfere with sex.
  • Reduces risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer.
Disadvantages of Norplant:
  • You may experience spotting between periods, light periods, longer periods, or no
    periods.
  • You may experience weight gain and hair loss.
  • It is expensive anywhere between $500 and $700 depending on where you go (at a Title X Federally supported family planning clinic fees are based on family size and income, so fees could range from $0 to $700).
  • It requires minor surgery for insertion and removal of the capsules (done in the clinic or doctor's office).
  • Effectiveness is lowered by most antiseizure medications.
How do I decide?
  • Is having a small scar and having the capsules in your body a problem for you?
  • Do you have any medical problems such as breast cancer, liver, or heart disease that will prevent you from using this method?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Do you have sex frequently or not very often? If not very often, do you want extrahormones in your body all the time?
  • Is the Norplant method best for you?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff,
    husband, partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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NuvaRing ("The Ring")

Effectiveness
  • 99% chance of NOT getting pregnant
  • Less than 1 per 100 women may become pregnant with proper use.
What is the NuvaRing?
  • The NuvaRing is a comfortable, flexible contraceptive ring that is about two inches in diameter and contains synthetic low dose hormones (progestin and estrogen); these hormones are similar to those produced by a women’s body.
  • The NuvaRing is placed directly into the vagina; hormones are released from the ring and are directly absorbed through the walls of the vagina then distributed into the bloodstream.
  • Pregnancy is prevented because the ring prevents the ovaries from producing mature eggs.
  • The ring is a reversible method of birth control available only by prescription.
Advantages of NuvaRing
  • Does not interfere with sex. Ability to remove the ring at leisure.
  • No need to remember to put it on daily/weekly. Month long protection (3 weeks in, 1 week out)
  • Exact positioning of the NuvaRing is not critical; however the ring should be placed high in the vault of the vagina.
  • Muscles within the vagina allow the ring to stay in place during sex and/or exercise.
  • Reduces menstrual flow and cramping.
  • Decreases acne outbreaks.
  • Reduces the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.
  • Ability to become pregnant immediately after discontinued use, if seeking pregnancy.
Disadvantages of NuvaRing
  • Not a good choice if patient is uncomfortable with touching herself.
  • Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or blood clots (in lungs, legs, or arms), especially if you smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day, or are over 35 and smoke.
  • Patient may experience vagina discomfort and discharge.
  • If the ring is kept out of the vagina longer than 3 hours on any day during the 21 day period (3weeks) pregnancy can occur; therefore a back-up method (condoms) is recommended for 7 days.
  • Does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (see warning below).
For more detailed information and how to use the ring click here.

How Do I Decide?
  • Are you comfortable touching your genitalia to place and remove the ring?
  • Are you smoking more than 15 cigarettes a day? If yes this method may not be good for you.
  • Do you have liver disease, breast cancer and/or blood clots in lungs, legs, or arms?
  • Are you taking any medications that may interfere with the effectiveness of the ring? (Consult with a clinician)
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.
Click here to download PDF fact sheet

For more information click here pdf

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Ortho Evra ("The Patch")

Effectiveness
  • 95% - 99% chance of NOT getting pregnant
  • Between 1 and 5 per 100 women may become pregnant with proper use.
What is the Patch?
  • The Patch contains synthetic hormones (progesterone and estrogen); these hormones are similar to those produced by a women’s body.
  • The patch is placed directly on the skin; these hormones are released from the patch directly through the skin into the bloodstream.
  • Pregnancy is prevented because the patch stops ovulation and/or thickens the cervical mucus and stops sperm from passing through.
  • The patch is a reversible method of birth control available only by prescription.
  • The patch is less effective in women weighting more than 198lbs.
Advantages of the Patch
  • Does not interfere with sex.
  • No need to remember to put it on daily. Apply a new patch once a week.
  • Reduces menstrual flow and cramping.
  • Decreases acne outbreaks.
  • Reduces the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.
  • Ability to become pregnant immediately after discontinued use, if seeking pregnancy.
Disadvantages of the Patch
  • May cause slight skin irritation at the patch site.
  • Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or blood clots (in lungs, legs, or arms), especially if you smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day, or are over 35 and smoke.
  • Possible mood swings or depression.
  • Women are encouraged not to use creams, lotions, or oils near the patch site these agents may cause the patch to detach.
  • Does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (see warning below).
    “Recent news stories overstate the blood clot risk from the Ortho Evra contraceptive patch, experts tell WebMD.” For more information visit:
http://www.my.webmd.com/content/Article/108/109067.htm
http://www.orthoevra.com/about/manufacturing_statement.html

How Do I Decide?
  • Can you remember to put on a new patch once a week?
  • Are you smoking more than 15 cigarettes a day? If yes this method may not be good for you.
  • Do you have liver disease, breast cancer and/or blood clots in lungs, legs, or arms?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.
Click here to download PDF fact sheet

For more information click herepdf icon

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Oral Contraceptives ("The Pill")

Effectiveness
  • 95% - 99% chance of NOT getting pregnant.
  • Between 1-5 per 100 women may become pregnant with proper use.
What is the Pill?
  • Synthetic hormones (progesterone and/or estrogen) like those produced by the body to regulate the menstrual cycle.
  • Pregnancy is prevented because the pill stops ovulation and/or thickens the cervical
    mucus by stopping sperm from passing through.
  • Reversible method of birth control given only by prescription.
Advantages of the Pill:
  • Doesn't interfere with sex.
  • Regulates the menstrual cycle.
  • Reduces menstrual flow and cramping.
  • Decreases acne outbreaks.
  • Reduces the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.
  • Most popular method used.
Disadvantages of the Pill:
  • Must be taken every day at the same time each day.
  • Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or blood clots (in lungs, legs, or arms), especially if you smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, or are over 35 and smoke.
  • Possible mood swings or depression.
  • May decrease sexual desire.
  • Can not be used if you are 35 or older and smoke.
  • Does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (see warning below).
How do I decide?
  • Can you remember to take a pill every day?
  • Do you have sex frequently or not very often?If not very often, do you want to take a pill every day?
  • Are there some medical problems that prevent you from taking the pill?
  • Do you have liver disease, breast cancer and/or blood clots in lungs, legs, or arms?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Is the pill the best method for you?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff,
    husband, partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

For more information click here pdf

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Vaginal Spermicides

Effectiveness (chances of NOT getting pregnant): 50-95% (among typical users in the first year of use)

What are vaginal spermicides?
  • A chemical birth control method that kills sperm and prevents pregnancy.
  • Comes in the form of gel, foam, cream, film, suppository, or tablet.
Advantages of vaginal spermicides:
  • A relatively safe contraceptive method when combined with the use of a barrier method (condom, diaphragm, cervical cap).
  • May lower the chance of becoming infected with a bacterial sexually transmitted disease.
  • Can be purchased without prescription.
  • Depending on the amount purchased is relatively inexpensive.
  • Immediate protection is available.
  • Good method for persons who have sexual intercourse infrequently or not very often.
  • Simple back up method for women waiting to start the pill or have an IUD inserted, or for forgetting to take pill or running out of pills.
  • Provides lubrication during intercourse especially with condom use.
  • Male partner does not need to be involved in decision to use product.
  • Does not interfere with breast feeding.
Disadvantages of vaginal spermicides:
  • Allergic reactions or hypersensitivity to ingredients may occur.
  • Some persons may have difficulty inserting properly.
  • Abnormal vaginal anatomy (e.g. prolapsed uterus) may interfere with proper insertion.
  • Poor protection from HIV exposure.
How do I decide?
  • Are you sensitive or allergic to ingredients in product?
  • Do you have sexual intercourse infrequently? This may a good choice for you.
  • Are you comfortable touching your vagina?
  • Do you want to use vaginal spermicides as a backup?
  • Does this method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Your decision should be what is best for you.
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff,
    husband, partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Vasectomy (Male Sterilization)

Effectiveness (chances of NOT getting pregnant): 99% or more

What is a Vasectomy?

A surgical procedure that prevents pregnancy by blocking the passage of sperm into the
ejaculated seminal fluid (cum).

Advantages of Vasectomy:
  • Permanent method of contraceptive.
  • Highly effective method.
  • Very safe surgical procedure.
  • Removes the responsibility of contraception from the woman.
  • No significant long term side effects.
  • Does not interrupt lovemaking.
  • Highly acceptable method.
  • A no scalpel Vasectomy is also available.
Disadvantages of Vasectomy:
  • Protection for the male only (females are at risk for pregnancy).
  • Usually irreversible.
  • Requires skilled medical personnel.
  • Lack of protection from sexually transmitted diseases and infections, including HIV.
  • Initial cost may be expensive, some times considered an elective procedure, and
    requires self-pay. However, the long term cost benefits are great.
  • Although unproven, serious long-term effects are possible.
How do I decide?
  • Are you sure you do not want any more children?
  • Can you tolerate a surgical procedure?
  • Can you afford the procedure?
  • Have other methods been considered?
  • Does this method fit your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Is a Vasectomy the best decision for you?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff,
    partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: This method does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) including HIV and Hepatitis B. Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Withdrawal (Coitus Interruptus)

Effectiveness (chance of NOT getting pregnant): 81% - 96%

What is Withdrawal?
  • A contraceptive method that prevents fertilization by preventing the contact between the sperm and egg.
  • Couple engages in penile-vaginal intercourse until ejaculation is about to occur.
  • The male partner withdraws his penis from the vagina and away from the external
    genitalia of the female partner.
Advantages of Withdrawal:
  • Costs nothing.
  • Requires no devices.
  • Involves no chemicals.
  • Available in any situation.
Disadvantages of Withdrawal:
  • Chances of getting pregnant with this method are much higher than with any other
    method.
  • Some men have difficulty telling when they will ejaculate.
  • Some men may not withdraw in sufficient time.
  • Interruption of the excitement or plateau phase of the sexual response cycle may
    decrease pleasurable experience.
  • High risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
How do I decide?
  • Is the risk of getting pregnant too large?
  • What about the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease?
  • Does the method fit with your religious or moral beliefs?
  • Do you want to discuss this method with your clinician, family planning clinic staff,
    husband, partner, friend, or family member?
In the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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STD Facts
Birth Control Facts
Related Links
Pregnancy Options Counseling


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