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Barrier Methods of Contraception

Barrier contraceptives prevent sperm from entering the uterus and include the condom (male and female) and diaphragm. Barrier methods are the least effective method of contraception, yet can be very effective when used correctly.

Male and Female Condoms

Male and female condoms provide a barrier to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. They are most effective when used with a vaginal spermicide. When used correctly, condoms also reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

Many women who choose another method of birth control (e.g., pills) also use condoms to decrease their risk of sexually transmitted infections.


Designed to block sperm from entering the uterus, the diaphragm is made of soft silicone, fits into the vagina and covers your cervix. Designed to be used with a spermicide to prevent contraception, a diaphragm is available by prescription after fitting and insertion instructions from your provider.


Spermicides are chemical substances that destroy sperm, and they are used WITH most barrier methods of birth control to improve effectiveness and reduce failures.

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