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Condoms can be used to prevent pregnancy. They also help protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms are called a barrier method of birth control. That's because they keep the sperm and eggs apart. The condom holds the sperm so the sperm can't get into the vagina.
You must use a new condom each time you have intercourse.
Male condoms are made of latex (rubber), polyurethane, or sheep intestine. They are placed over a hard (erect) penis before intercourse. Male condoms are also called "rubbers," "sheaths," or "skins."
There are many different kinds of male condoms. Some condoms are lubricated. Some are ribbed. Most have a tip for holding the semen. You can also buy condoms of different sizes. Watch the video Using A Condom to learn how to put on a condom correctly.
Vaginal condoms are tubes of soft plastic with a closed end. Each end has a ring or rim. The ring at the closed end is put deep into the vagina over the cervix. This holds the tube in place. The ring at the open end stays outside the opening of the vagina. Female condoms have lubricant on the inside. Watch the video Using A Vaginal Condom to learn how to put in a condom correctly.
In the first year of use:
Be sure to tell your doctor about any health problems you have or medicines you take. He or she can help you choose the birth control method that is right for you.
If you think you used a condom incorrectly, you can use emergency contraception to help prevent pregnancy. The most effective emergency contraception is prescribed by a doctor. This includes the copper IUD (inserted by a doctor) or a prescription pill. You can also get emergency contraceptive pills without a prescription at most drugstores and sexual health clinics.
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Adaptation Date: 3/2/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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