Birth control, also known as contraception, is designed to prevent pregnancy. Birth control methods may work in a number of different ways. These include:

  • Preventing sperm from getting to the eggs - condoms, diaphragms, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) work this way
  • Keeping the woman's ovaries from releasing eggs that could be fertilized - birth control pills work this way
  • Sterilization, which permanently prevents a woman from getting pregnant or a man from being able to get a woman pregnant

Your doctor can help you select the best form of birth control for you.

Types of birth control


Contraceptive Effectiveness by Method

Contraceptive Failure rate

From: Contraception. 2011 May; 83(5): 397–404.

Can I get pregnant if...

Other methods