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1) Barrier Methods
The Male Condom
Male Birth Control Pill
The Female Condom
Cervical cap
Contraceptive Sponge

2) Hormonal Methods
Implants (Norplant)
Shots (Depo-Provera)
Birth Control Pills
Chewable Birth Control Pill

3) IUDs (Intrauterine Devices)

4) Emergency Contraception
    New Emergency Contraceptive Ella

The Diaphragm

      A diaphragm is a soft rubber dome that has a covered flexible spring at the outer edge. Diaphragms are used in conjunction with spermicidal gels or spermicidal creams. The diaphragm keeps the contraceptive cream or gel close to the cervix. This prevents sperm from entering the uterus, thereby reducing the chances of pregnancy. With correct use of the diaphragm and contraceptive gel, this method of birth control is considered approximately 94% effective in pregnancy prevention. The effectiveness decreases when the diaphragm and spermicide are not used properly.

A diaphragm can last for 2-3 years, but it should be observed for any rips or holes prior to each use. This can be done by stretching the diaphragm while holding it up against light. A doctor will examine you and size a diaphragm for your body. The diaphragm is put into place prior to intercourse, and is removed 6-8 hours after intercourse. The diaphragm shouldn't interfere with sexual activity and can remain in place during urination and bowel movements. One can shower or bathe while the diaphragm is in place.

A properly fitted diaphragm is essential for it to be an effective method of birth control. Size should be checked when:

- You have just recently started having intercourse
- If your weight changes by 20 pounds or more
- If you become pregnant
- If you have any type of pelvic surgery

Some women experience bladder infections after starting to use a diaphragm. If this occurs, talk to a doctor about alternate methods of birth control.

Visit the Reproductive Health Online website, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University for more information about reproductive health and birth control methods.

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