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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 Female Condom

      The female condom is made of polyurethane and is worn by a women during intercourse. It completely lines the vagina and partly covers the perineum, helping both to prevent pregnancy and provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases. One ring lies inside the vagina, while the other ring, on the open edge, remains outside the vagina and covers the perineum, allowing protection for the labia and base of the penis during intercourse. The female condom doesn't contain spermicide and should not be used at the same time as a male latex condom. There is lubricant on the inside of the female condom, and additional silicone based lubricant is often used with the female condom.

The rates of effectiveness of the female condom vary according to how long a period a person has used it and whether it's used every time a woman has intercourse. Generally, it is considered effective just over 80% of the time, when used properly. The female condom is not difficult to use, but it takes some practice to become used to it. It is advised that women practice inserting the female condom and removing it before they use it during sexual activity.
As with male condoms, the female condom should be used only once.
Also important when using the female condom is that the penis enters the vagina correctly. It is often helpful to guide the penis as it enters the vagina to ensure that the penis hits the center of the female condom, instead of between the vaginal wall and outer side of the condom. If the penis does not enter correctly, the penis should be drawn out of the vagina and guided in correctly.

The female condom has added another birth control method to the many pregnancy prevention options available. Although the effectiveness rates are not as high as the male condom, it offers women protection that they themselves can control and can be inserted hours prior to sexual activity.

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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