Are there any foams or gels that my spouse can use to keep from getting pregnant?
Spermicides are readily available for purchase in drug stores. They work by killing sperm and come in several forms – foam, gel, cream, film, suppository, or tablet. They are inserted or placed in the vagina no more than one hour before intercourse.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, if you use a film, suppository, or tablet the couple should wait at least 15 minutes before having intercourse so the spermicide can dissolve. Your spouse should not rinse out her vagina for at least six to eight hours after intercourse. She will need to use more spermicide before each act of intercourse. Your partner may protect herself more against getting pregnant if she uses a spermicide with a male condom, diaphragm, or cervical cap. There are spermicidal products made specifically for use with the diaphragm and cervical cap. Check the package to make sure you are buying what you want.
All spermicides have sperm-killing chemicals in them. Some spermicides also have an ingredient called nonoxynol-9 that may increase the risk of HIV infection when used frequently because it irritates the tissue in the vagina and anus which can cause the virus to enter the body more freely. Some women are sensitive to nonoxynol-9 and need to use spermicides without it. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, spermicides alone are about 74% effective at preventing pregnancy. Medications for vaginal yeast infections may decrease effectiveness of spermicides.