NON-PRESCRIPTION BIRTH CONTROL METHODS

Method How well does it work? How to Use Pros Cons
Male Condom

(Latex or Polyurethane)
85-98%

Use a new condom each time you have sex.

Roll condom over hard penis and leave space at the tip to hold semen.

After sex, pull out before penis gets soft and hold onto condom at the base of the penis.

Use a polyurethane condom if man or woman is allergic to latex.

Condoms containing Nonoxynol 9 are NOT recommended.
Can buy at many stores.

Can be put on as part of sex play/foreplay.

Can help prevent early ejaculation.

Protects against HIV and many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Can be used while breastfeeding.
Can cause decreased sensation.

Can cause loss of erection.

Can break or slip off.

May interrupt sex to put on condom.
Female Condom

(Polyurethane)
79-95% Use a new condom each time you have sex.

Insert condom into vagina.

Use extra lubrication as needed.

Can buy at many stores.

Can be put in as part of sex play/foreplay.

Good for people with latex allergy.

Protects against HIV and other STIs.

Can be used while breastfeeding.
May be noisy.

May be hard to insert.

May slip out of place during sex.

May interrupt sex to put on condom.
Spermicide

(cream, gel, sponge, foam, inserts, film, suppository)
68-85% Insert more spermicide each time you have sex.

Insert spermicide deep into vagina shortly before sex.

May use with condoms (to protect against HIV & STIs).
Can buy at many stores.

Can be put in as part of sex play/foreplay.

Comes in many forms.

Can be used while breastfeeding.
May raise the risk of getting HIV & STIs.

May irritate vagina or penis.

Cream, gel and foam can be messy.

Does not protect against HIV or STIs.
Withdrawal

Pull-out
73-96%

Pull out penis from vagina before ejaculation (that is, before the man comes).

It works better if the man urinates before sex.
Costs nothing.

Can be used while breastfeeding.

Less pleasure for some.

Doesn't work if the man can't pull out penis in time (before ejaculation).

Does not protect against HIV or STIs.

Must interrupt sex.
Breastfeeding

(No Periods)
Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM)
95-98% during 1st month after delivery.

Less effective after 1st month.
Nurse at least every 4 hours during the day.

Nurse at least every 6 hours during the night.

Must breastfeed only - no bottles, formula or food.

Works only until:
1. The woman gets her first period;

OR

2. Six (6) months after birth

(whichever comes first).
Costs nothing. Must breastfeed only: can't use formula or baby food.

Must breastfeed often.

Does not protect against HIV or STIs.

Rhythm

Natural Family Planning, Fertility Awareness
75-88% Avoid sex or use condoms/spermicide during fertile days.

Predict fertile days by:
1.Taking temperature daily;
2. Checking vaginal mucus for changes;
3. Keeping track of woman's periods.

For more details:
americanpregnancy.org/ preventingpregnancy/ fertilityawarenessNFP.html
Costs little.

Can be used while breastfeeding.

Must use another method on fertile days.

Works best if the woman has regular cycles.

Many things to remember with this method.

Does not protect against HIV or STIs.
Emergency Contraception

(levonorgestrel-only)
"Morning After" Pill
59-94%

94% effective when started within 1 day.

89% effective when started within 3 days.
Works better the sooner it is taken after unprotected sex.

Take pill(s) as soon as possible after unprotected sex.

Can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
Can be used while breastfeeding.

Available at pharmacies, health centers or health care providers. Call ahead to see if they have it.

Available without a prescription if 17 years or older.
Can cause stomach upset or nausea.

The next period may come early or late.

May cause spotting.

Does not protect against HIV or STIs.

Girls under age 17 need a prescription.

May be expensive.