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As a woman, you may want to ensure that sexual encounters with your partner are pleasurable but also safe. Female contraceptives that are available over the counter help make it possible for you to be in control and ensure that you are protected every time that you have intercourse. CVS carries a wide range of female contraceptives and offers discreet shipping for your convenience.

Barrier Birth Control for Women

Barrier birth control methods help decrease the risk of pregnancy by aiming to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. The contraceptive sponge is one of the most popular barrier birth control methods for women. Sponges are small foam pads that are infused with spermicide. When semen comes in contact with the sponge, the spermicide helps to kill the sperm cells. A sponge can be used as a primary method of birth control. You can insert it into your vagina immediately before intercourse, but it must be left in place for at least 6 hours after sex to provide the most effective protection possible. It's also important that sponges be removed within 30 hours after intercourse. Keep in mind that the sponge does not provide protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Secondary Contraceptive Options

Some female contraceptives can be used as secondary forms of birth control. You may want to use one of these products as a backup in case your birth control pills fail or a condom breaks. Popular secondary female contraceptives include spermicide gels and films. These products contain chemicals that help kill sperm to help prevent pregnancy and do not provide protection from STIs.

Emergency Contraception

If you had unprotected sex or are worried that your contraceptive failed, emergency contraceptives can be used to help prevent pregnancy. These oral medications provide a high dose of the hormones found in birth control pills. When taken within 72 hours of sex, emergency contraception can delay or prevent ovulation or interfere with fertilization.

Important Considerations

It's a good idea to discuss contraceptives with your health care provider. He or she can help you weigh your options and choose the contraceptive that will be the most effective and convenient for you. No matter what type of female contraceptive you choose, it's important that you take the time to read the directions and follow them carefully, products work most efficiently when used correctly. Also be sure to read the instructions for proper storage and to take note of any expiration dates that appear on the packaging.