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Female normal anatomy:

During a normal monthly cycle, one of a woman's ovaries will produce a mature egg that will travel through the fallopian tube into the uterus. If sperm fertilizes this egg, the egg will attach itself to the uterine wall and begin developing into a fetus.


Female normal anatomy


Pathway of sperm:

Barrier methods of birth control prevent pregnancy by making sure that sperm and egg do not meet.


Pathway of sperm


Cervical cap:

The cervical cap is made of soft rubber and is designed to fit completely over the cervix. Spermicide is placed on the outer rim of the cap and in the portion of the cap facing the vagina. The cervical cap prevents pregnancy by blocking the sperm from entering the uterus.


Cervical cap


Diaphragm:

The diaphragm is available by prescription only and must be fitted by a physician. Once the diaphragm is fitted, a woman can insert and remove it by herself. This dome-shaped rubber disk protects from pregnancy in two ways. The diaphragm blocks sperm from entering the cervix. Spermicide jelly placed inside the rubber dome before insertion will kill any sperm it comes in contact with. Once inserted, the diaphragm is effective for up to six hours.


Diaphragm


Female Condom:

The female condom is a lubricated polyurethane sheath, similar in appearance to a male condom. It is inserted into the vagina. The closed end covers the cervix. Like the male condom, it is intended for one-time use and then discarded.


Female Condom


Sponge:

The sponge is inserted by the woman into the vagina and covers the cervix blocking sperm from entering the cervix. The sponge also contains a spermicide that kills sperm. It is available without a prescription.


Sponge



Review Date: 5/6/2007
Reviewed By: Rachel A. Lewis, MD, FAAP, Columbia University Pediatric Faculty Practice, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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