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Welcome to the Washington and Lee contraception website. Follow the links below to learn more about the various types of birth control. College students who are sexually active should consider using a barrier method to prevent transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and a hormonal method to prevent choosing a method of contraception is an important decision.

See the "Additional Information" page for information regarding birth control methods that do not work, guidelines for missing birth control pills,STIs, and Emergency Contraception.

Additional Information

Brought to you by Bio 255: Reproductive Physiology, Fall 2011

Additional Resources:
Bedsider - designed specifically for college students

Planned Parenthood

Hormonal Methods

The Pill thumbnailThe Pill (Oral Contraceptives)
Oral contraceptives are ingestible pills containing a fixed ratio of estrogen and progesterone. Oral contraceptives are the most popular form of reversible birth control for females. They work by regulating the menstrual cycle and preventing ovulation.

Vaginal Ring thumbnailThe Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing)
A flexible polymer ring that is inserted into the vagina for 3 weeks to prevent pregnancy. It releases steady levels of estrogen and progesterone which lnhibits ovulation.

The Patch thumbnailThe Patch (Ortho Evra)
A thin patch that adheres to the skin and functions like the pill and vaginal ring - that is, it gives off estrogen and progesterone and inhibits ovulation.

Injection thumbnailInjection (Depo-Provera)
Depo-Provera (DMPA) is an injectable form of hormonal contraception. Depo-Provera is a synthetic form of progesterone called medroxyprogesterone acetate.

IUD thumbnailIUDs
The IUD is a plastic, t-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus. It prevents fertilization of the egg. There are two types used in the US currently, ParaGard IUD (nonhormonal) and Mirena IUD (hormonal - contains progestin).

Implanon thumbnailImplanon
Implanon is a progestin hormone-containing rod that is inserted under the skin of a woman's arm.

Nonhormonal Methods

Male Condom thumbnailMale Condom
Condoms are available for free at the Student Health Center. Condom machines are located on campus in the laundry rooms for 25¢ each./p>

Female Condom thumbnailFemale Condom
Available at drugstores and supermarkets, usually for around $2.50 each. May also be available at a health clinic for free.

Vaginal Spermicides thumbnailVaginal Spermicides
Vaginal spermicides are creams, foams, gels, or suppositories containing chemicals that prevent sperm motility. They can be used alone, but for highest protection against pregnancy spermicide should always be used alongside the cervical cap and diaphragm.

Diaphragm thumbnailDiaphragm
The diaphragm is a dome shaped latex or silicone cup that fits securely in the vagina and covers the cervix. It should always be used with a spermicidal gel formulated for diaphragm use.

Contraceptive Sponge thumbnailContraceptive Sponge
The modern sponge combines both a barrier as well as spermicide in order to prevent conception. The sponge is concave and shaped like a dimple in order to fit directly over the cervix.

Cervical Cap thumbnailCervical Cap
The cervical cap is placed over the cervix and should be used in conjunction with spermicides. There are two types of cervical caps available in the United States. Lea's Shield is oval shaped and comes in one size. The FemCap comes in three sizes and is shaped like a bowl.