How Birth Control Methods Prevent Pregnancy

Topic Overview

Birth control methods

Method

How it prevents pregnancy


Hormonal


  • Prevents ovulation
  • Thickens mucus at the cervix so sperm cannot pass through
  • Changes the environment of the uterus and fallopian tubes to prevent fertilization and to prevent implantation if fertilization occurs

Intrauterine device (IUD)


  • There are two types of IUDs (hormonal and copper). Both types may work by preventing:
    • Fertilization of the egg.
    • Implantation in the uterus.

Barrier methods


  • Block sperm from reaching the egg
  • Some are used with spermicides, which kill sperm.

Fertility awareness (natural family planning)


  • Identifies the time during a woman's cycle when she is most likely to become pregnant (fertile). An extra method or abstinence should be used during this time of fertility.

Permanent birth control (sterilization)


Related Information

Credits

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Femi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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