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How well do birth control methods work?

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Knowing the effectiveness, side effects, convenience, and cost of each is important to your decision-making. Ultimately, the best method will be the one with which you and your partner are comfortable and will use correctly each and every time you have intercourse.

birth control methods

The Patch
99% effective. There is only 1 contraceptive patch. The Patch is applied once a week for 3 weeks. During Week 4, no patch is used. There are no interruptions with this method. Once stopped, it may take a few cycles before you can become pregnant. You need to learn how to apply the Patch correctly.

Oral Contraceptive (The Pill)
99% effective. There are a variety of pills available in different doses. You should take your pill every day, at approximately the same time each day. There are no interruptions with this method. Once stopped, it may take a few cycles before you can become pregnant. You may need instruction on the correct way to take your pills.

Contraceptive Injections
99% effective There is 1 injection currently available. You receive an injection every 3 months. There are no interruptions with this method. Ovulation
may be delayed up to a year. A health care professional administers the injection.

Progestin-Releasing Intrauterine Device (IUD)
99% effective There is 1 hormone-releasing IUD currently available. The suggested length of use is 5 years or less. There are no interruptions with this method. Once removed fertility can return within a year. Your health care professional inserts and removes the IUD.

Vaginal Ring
99% effective There is only 1 vaginal ring. Each month, the vaginal ring is inserted into the vagina and left in place for 3 weeks. During Week 4, you
do not wear the ring. There are no interruptions with this method. Once stopped, it may take a few cycles before you can become pregnant. You need to learn how to insert and remove the vaginal ring.

Nonhormonal Contraceptives
Nonhormonal contraceptives prevent pregnancy by providing a barrier against sperm, or by interfering with sperm movement, or by creating an “unfriendly: environment for sperm. These methods do not use hormones, so they do not interfere with your natural reproductive cycle.

Male Condom
97% effective. There are a variety of styles, sizes, colors, materials, and textures. A new one must be used every time you have sex. Must be applied when the penis is erect. May cause a slight interruption before sex. Without this device, there is no protection against pregnancy. Tell your health care professional that you plan to use condoms.

Female Condom
95% effective. There is 1 female condom currently available. A new one must be used every time you have sex. A female condom can be inserted up to 8 hours before sex. Without this device, there is no protection against pregnancy Tell your health care professional that you plan to use a female condom. Unless the female condom slips out of place or is torn, it should provide protection against STD exposure comparable with that of male condoms.

Intrauterine Device (IUD):
99% effective There is 1 copper-T IUD currently available Once inserted in the uterus, it can be left in place for up to 10 years. There are no interruptions with this method. Once removed, fertility can return within about 1 month. Your health care professional inserts and removes the IUD.

Spermicides
94% effective – use with a vaginal barrier increases effectiveness There are a variety of spermicides available in foams, jellies, creams, and vaginal
suppositories. Must be used every time you have sex. Must be inserted no more than 1 hour before sex. Without this device, there is no protection against pregnancy. Tell your health care professional. You may be advised to use an additional contraceptive method.

Vaginal Barriers

Diaphragm
94% effective There are a variety of sizes available Must be used every time you have sex (and fresh spermicide must be applied each time) The diaphragm
can be inserted 6 to 8 hours before sex. Without this device, there is no protection against pregnancy. You need to be fitted and must learn how to use the diaphragm.Diaphragms do not protect against HIV (AIDS). There is a mild reduction in the risk of some STDs.

Cervical Cap
84% effective in women who have had a child (91%) in those who have not) There are a variety of sizes available. Must be used every time you have sex (and
spermicide must be applied when inserted). The cervical cap provides continuous protection for up to 48 hours. Without this device, there is no protection against pregnancy. You need to be fitted and must learn how to use the cervical cap

Permanent Methods

Surgical Sterilization
Greater than 99% effective For women, there is a tubal ligation (having your tubes “tied”); for men, there is a vasectomy. These procedures are permanent
and irreversible. There are no interruptions with this method. You will no longer be able to get pregnant. These surgical procedures are performed by a
health care professional. Physician recommended.

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