Hormonal Birth Control
These include birth control pills, stick-on patches, insertable vaginal rings, shots, and implants. You’ll need a prescription for them.
They use hormones, similar to the ones in your body, to stop the release of an egg so that it can't get fertilized by sperm.
How well it works depends on how well you use it. Most people don’t use any method perfectly, all the time. Things happen!
Barrier Birth Control
As the name suggests, these create a barrier to keep sperm from reaching an egg. You can get most of them at a pharmacy with no prescription.
With typical use, the male condom is about 80% effective. If used perfectly every time, it prevents pregnancy 98% of the time.
A female condom is a thin, flexible, plastic tube that you would partially insert into your vagina, creating a barrier. Female condoms may also help against STDs. Female condoms are about 80% effective.
The sponge is another non-prescription option. It's a small piece of foam, treated with spermicide, that you place high up in your vagina. It's between 68% and 84% effective. You can also use spermicides -- gels, creams, and foams -- with other birth control or on their own. Alone, they're about 70% effective.
A few options -- like the diaphragm, cervical cap, and cervical shield -- are available only by prescription. They're rubber or silicone barriers that you place far up in your vagina. They're about 90% effective in preventing pregnancy.