There are many different methods of birth control, which vary in what is required of the user, side effects, and effectiveness. It is also important to note that not each type of birth control is ideal for each user. Outlined here are the different types of barrier methods, spermicides, or coitus interruptus that must be used at or before every act of intercourse. Immediate contraception, like physical barriers, include diaphragms, caps, the contraceptive sponge, and female condoms may be placed several hours before intercourse begins (note that when using the female condom, the penis must be guided into place when initiating intercourse). The female condom should be removed immediately after intercourse, and before arising. Some other female barrier methods must be left in place for several hours after sex. Depending on the form of spermicide used, they may be applied several minutes to an hour before intercourse begins. Additionally, the male condom should be applied when the penis is erect so that it is properly applied prior to intercourse.
With an insertion of an IUD (intrauterine device), female or male sterilization, or hormone implant, there is very little required of the user post initial procedure; there is nothing to put in place before intercourse to prevent pregnancy. Intrauterine methods require clinic visits for installation and removal or replacement (if desired) only once every several years (5-12), depending on the device. This allows the user to be able to try and become pregnant if they so desire, upon removal of the IUD. Conversely, sterilization is a one-time, permanent procedure. After the success of surgery is verified (for vasectomy), no subsequent action is usually required of users.
Implants provide effective birth control for three years without any user action between insertion and removal of the implant. Insertion and removal of the Implant involves a minor surgical procedure. Oral contraceptives require some action every day. Other hormonal methods require less frequent action - weekly for the patch, twice a month for vaginal ring, monthly for combined injectable contraceptive, and every twelve weeks for MPA shots. Fertility awareness-based methods require some action every day to monitor and record fertility signs. The lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) requires breast feeding at least every four to six hours.