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Barrier contraception can be a safe and convenient option for preventing pregnancy, without the risk of side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives. Male and female condoms are also the only contraceptives that can protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Barrier contraception works by blocking the path that sperm would usually take to get to the egg. The sperm will be blocked before it passes through the cervix. If the sperm can’t reach the egg, then you can’t get pregnant.
The most important point about barrier contraception is that you will need to remember to use it and ensure that it is correctly fitted every time you have sex. How effective the contraception is will depend largely on how well you are using it.
Each type of barrier contraception is fitted in a different way in order to block the sperm. It’s important to find one that feels right for you.
Male condoms are thin latex (rubber) contraceptives that are worn over the penis.
Female condoms are made from a very thin, soft plastic and are worn inside the vagina to capture the semen.
The diaphragm is a flexible silicone dome that is placed inside the vagina before sex. You will need to see a doctor to get fitted for a diaphragm of the right size.
Ask a doctor for contraception advice if you’re not sure which option is right for you.