Birth Control / Family Planning

Listed below are the most common forms of birth control. Family Tree can provide many of these and other methods including information on abstinence and spermicides.

Barrier Methods

Barrier methods prevent pregnancy by stopping the sperm from reaching the egg. These methods include the condom, diaphragm, Lea’s Shield, Femcap, and the female condom.

Hormonal Methods

Hormonal birth control methods prevent pregnancy several ways: by preventing the release of an egg (ovulation); by thickening cervical mucus to stop sperm from joining the egg; or by changing the uterine lining to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Hormonal birth control does not protect against STIs.

Hormonal birth control methods are prescription medications. To get a prescription, a woman should have an annual medical exam. These prescriptions include: the Pill, Depo Provera, the Mirena IUD, the Patch (Ortho Evra), the vaginal ring (nuva ring) and emergency contraception (EC).

Other Methods

The copper IUD is a non-hormonal device placed in the uterus to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg. Fertility awareness means knowing when there’s a chance of pregnancy and avoiding unprotected sex during that time. Tubal ligation and vasectomy are permanent ways of preventing pregnancy. Family Tree does not provide these services. Call the Minnesota Family Planning and STD Hotline, 1–800-78-FACTS for referrals to clinics that provide those services.

Method Effectiveness Protection Against STIs
Abstinence Moderate to High* Yes, if used perfectly
Condom Moderate to High* Yes
Depo Very High None
Diaphragm Moderate Some
EC N/A None
Female Condom Moderate to High* Yes
Fertility Awareness Method Moderate to High* None
Implanon Very High None
IUD Very High None
Mini Pill High None
The Patch High None
The Pill High None
The Vaginal Ring High None
Safer Sex Moderate to High* Yes
Spermicide Moderate None
Standard Days Method Moderate to High* None
Tubal Ligation Very High None
Vasectomy Very High None

*Depends on how consistently method is used