Birth control pills are an example of a hormonal birth control method that prevents ovulation. The decision about what kind of birth control option to use is extremely personal, and there is no single choice that is safest or best for all women or couples. A woman should carefully weigh the risks and benefits, along with the effectiveness of each method before choosing a birth control method. A thorough and open discussion with a health care-professional can help in this decision process.

Different forms of birth control have different side effects and risk profiles. The choice of birth control method depends on many factors, such as the desire for reversible birth control (preserving future fertility) or permanent birth control methods (surgical sterilization). Some birth control methods, such as barrier methods, may offer some protection against sexuallytransmitted diseases (STDs), while most methods do not. No method of birth control is 100% effective in preventing STDs. Some birth control methods have higher effectiveness rates than others, but no method of birth control is 100% effective in every case.

What is birth control, and how does it work?

Birth control works to prevent pregnancy in different ways. Hormonal birth control methods work by preventing ovulation, so that a woman is temporarily infertile. Barrier methods of birth control prevents the man's sperm from reaching an egg.

Barrier methods include diaphragms, condoms, and cervical caps. Spermicide is a chemical that destroys sperm to prevent them from reaching the egg. Birth control methods such as intrauterine devices work by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus and causing a pregnancy.

How long does it take for birth control to begin working?

Some kinds of birth control start to work with the first use, such as barrier methods. Hormonal methods of birth control such as pills, implants, or the patch may not begin working immediately. Their effectiveness depends upon the time in your monthly cycle when you begin using the contraception. Sometimes it is recommended that women use an alternate method of contraception for the first week after beginning the pill or hormonal contraception.

Can you get pregnant on birth control?

There is no form of birth control that is 100% effective, so it is possible to get pregnant while using most types of birth control. However, many types of birth control, when used correctly, are highly effective in preventing pregnancy. For example, the birth control pill is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken correctly. For all forms of birth control it is important to have a basic understanding how they work and how to use them correctly.


1.Birth Control Implant
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99% Effective
Can cost $0 to $1300
Lasts Up To 5 years
Low Maintenance

The birth control implant (AKA Nexplanon) is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. The implant releases hormones into your body that prevent you from getting pregnant. A nurse or doctor inserts the implant into your arm and that’s it — you’re protected from pregnancy for up to 5 years. It’s get-it-and-forget-it birth control.

How the implant works
The birth control implant is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. It’s also called Nexplanon and there’s a slightly older version called Implanon. A doctor inserts the implant under the skin of your upper arm. It releases the hormone progestin to stop you from getting pregnant. The hormones in the birth control implant prevent pregnancy in two ways: Progestin thickens the mucus on your cervix, which stops sperm from swimming through to your egg. When sperm can’t meet up with an egg, pregnancy can’t happen. Progestin can also stop eggs from leaving your ovaries (called ovulation), so there’s no egg to fertilize. When eggs aren’t released, you can’t get pregnant. One of the awesome things about the implant is that it lasts for a long time — up to 5 years — but it’s not permanent. If you decide you want to get pregnant or you just don’t want to have your implant anymore, your doctor can take it out. You’re able to get pregnant quickly after the implant is removed. You can keep track of your insertion and removal dates using our birth control app.

2.IUD (Intrauterine Device)
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99% Effective
Can cost $0 to $1300
Lasts Up To 3-12 years.

How the IUD works
The IUD is a type of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) that goes in your uterus. More than 99% effective
Works for 3, 5 or 10 years depending on the type of IUD
‘Fit and forget’ contraception – you don’t need to do anything after it is put in
There are two types: one with hormones, one without hormones
Your period is likely to change. There might be more or less bleeding depending on whether it contains hormones or not

An IUD is a small object that goes inside your uterus. There are two types of IUDs:
Copper IUD - contains copper, a type of metal
Hormonal IUD – contains the hormone progestogen (Mirena or Jaydess)
The IUD is put in your uterus by an experienced nurse or doctor. This is simple and safe. The procedure itself takes about 5 to 10 minutes, but your appointment will take about 30 minutes. During this time the nurse or doctor will explain how the insertion is done and will give you instructions about what to expect once your IUD is in place. You can’t feel it or tell it is there except by checking for the threads. If you are having penis in vagina sex, your partner should not be able to feel it. You can still use tampons. The removal threads come out of your cervix and curl up inside the top of your vagina – they don’t hang outside.

The hormones or the copper stop the sperm reaching the egg. Sometimes, sperm does reach the egg (fertilisation) so the IUD stops the egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.

Copper and hormonal IUDs are at least 99% effective. Only 1 in 100 people will get pregnant each year.

Most people notice some changes to their period. With a copper IUD, your periods might be longer, heavier and more painful, especially in the first few months. This usually gets better with time. With a hormonal IUD (Mirena or Jaydess), you might have spotting in the first few months and then light or no periods.

You will be able to get pregnant as soon as the IUD is taken out. Pregnancy is very rare with an IUD in place. If you do get pregnant with an IUD in, there is no extra risk for your baby, but there is a risk of complication in the pregnancy. If you think you might be pregnant, talk with your doctor as soon as possible. It is best to remove the IUD.

Most people can use an IUD, including those who are young and those who have not had children. Hormonal IUDs are a really good option if you have heavy or painful periods. If you have an infection, you should get it treated before you get an IUD put in. If you have heavy or painful periods you should not get a copper IUD because it might make them worse.

An IUD may be put in at any time you choose. You must not already be pregnant. Some good times to get it put in are: While you have your period or just after; 6 weeks after your baby is born; At the time of a surgical abortion; As emergency contraception after unprotected sex (copper IUD).

An IUD can stay in place for 3, 5 or 10 years before it needs to be replaced, depending on the type of IUD. When you have it put in, the nurse or doctor will tell you when you will need to have it replaced. You may be able to keep the IUD longer if you are in your 40s. If you get a copper IUD put in after you turn 40 or a hormonal IUD put in after you turn 45, your IUD may be able to stay in place until menopause. Ask the nurse or doctor if this is an option for you.

You need to use condoms (and lubricant) to protect yourself from sexually transmissible infections (STIs). If there is a chance you may have an STI, have a check-up.

3.Birth Control Shot
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94% Effective
Can cost $0 to $150
Get every 3 months

4.Birth Control Vaginal Ring
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91% Effective
Can cost $0 to $200
Replace monthly

What is the vaginal ring?The vaginal ring is a prescription-only method of birth control. It’s also known by its brand name, NuvaRing. The vaginal ring is a small, flexible, plastic ring that you insert into your vagina to prevent pregnancy. It’s about two inches around. The vaginal ring prevents pregnancy by continuously releasing synthetic estrogen and progestin. These hormones are absorbed into your bloodstream. They prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs to be fertilized. The hormones also thicken your cervical mucus, which helps prevent sperm from reaching the egg.

How do I use the vaginal ring?The ring is very simple to use. To insert and remove the ring: Wash your hands with soap and water. Remove the ring from the foil packet it comes in and save the packet. Squeeze the sides of the ring together so that it becomes narrow and insert the ring into your vagina. After three weeks, use clean hands to remove the ring by hooking your finger under the edge of the ring and gently pulling. Place the used ring in the original foil packet and throw it away. Wait one week before inserting a new ring.You should get your period during the week that you’re not using the ring. One week after removing it, insert a new ring. You should insert the new ring even if you are still menstruating. It’s important that you remove or insert the ring on the same day of the week. For example, if you insert a ring on Monday, you should remove it on a Monday three weeks later. Then, you should insert your next ring on the following Monday. If the ring falls out, rinse it off and put it back in. If the ring is out of your vagina for longer than three hours, use backup contraception. The ring may fall out when you: remove a tampon have a bowel movement have sex

Some women use the ring and other hormonal contraceptives to control when they get their period. They can regulate their period based on when they remove the ring. Some women use the ring continuously to avoid having periods at all.

How effective is the Birth Control Vaginal Ring ?If you use it properly, the vaginal ring can be very effective. It’s one of the more effective contraceptive methods. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), typically only 9 percent of women who use the ring will get pregnant. Certain drugs can also reduce the effectiveness of the vaginal ring. These include: St. John’s wort the antibiotic rifampin some HIV drugs some antiseizure drugs If you use any of these drugs, it’s a good idea to use a backup form of birth control.

Pros of the ring
It’s highly effective. It’s easy to use. It has fewer side effects than oral contraceptives. Your periods will likely be shorter and lighter when you use it.
Cons of the ring
It doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections. It can cause side effects in some women, such as spotting between periods, nausea, and breast tenderness. It may cause vaginal irritation, infections, or both.

5.Birth Control Patch
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91% Effective
Can cost $0 to $150
Replace weekly

The transdermal contraceptive patch is a safe and convenient birth control method that works really well if you always use it correctly. You wear the patch on certain parts of your body, and it releases hormones through your skin that prevent pregnancy. The patch has lots of other health benefits, too.

How does the birth control patch work?The birth control patch prevents pregnancy by stopping sperm from joining with an egg (which is called fertilization). Like most birth control pills, the patch contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. These are similar to the hormones our bodies make naturally. You wear the patch on your belly, upper arm, butt, or back, and your skin absorbs the hormones into your body. The hormones in the patch stop ovulation. No ovulation means there’s no egg hanging around for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy can’t happen. The patch’s hormones also thicken the mucus on your cervix. This thicker cervical mucus blocks sperm so it can’t swim to an egg — kind of like a sticky security guard. There is one birth control patch brand available in the U.S.: the Xulane patch.

How do I make the patch work best for me?To get the patch’s full birth control powers, you have to use it correctly. Making a mistake — like forgetting to refill your prescription or not putting on a new patch on time — is the main reason why people might get pregnant when they’re using the patch. Here are some tips to help you stay on schedule and remember when it’s time to put on a new patch: Use Spot On, our birth control reminder app or set a weekly alarm on your phone. Note your patch change days on your calendar. Be patch buddies with friends or family members who also use the patch, and help each other remember. Your partner can help remind you. Keep your replacement patches in the same place so you don’t lose them. Store your patches at room temperature, and away from direct sunlight. Don’t store them in the refrigerator or freezer. Keep each patch sealed in its pouch until right before you put it on. Bottom line: do whatever works for you to make sure you change your patch on time, all the time. Want to be extra super-duper sure you don’t accidentally get pregnant? You can use a condom with the patch every time you have penis-in-vagina sex. That way you’ll be protected from STDs, too.

Does the birth control patch protect against STDs?Nope. The patch is really good at preventing pregnancy, but it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Using condoms every time you have sex really lowers your chances of getting or spreading STDs. Condoms also protect against pregnancy — so using condoms and the patch together gives you awesome pregnancy-preventing power.

6.Birth Control Pill
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91% Effective
Can cost $0 to $50
Take daily

The type of birth control you use is a personal decision, and there are many options to choose from. If you’re a sexually active female, you may consider birth control pills. Birth control pills, also called oral contraceptives, are medications you take by mouth to prevent pregnancy. They’re an effective method of birth control. Find out how they work and what side effects they can cause, as well as other factors to help you decide if birth control pills are a good choice for you.

types of birth control pillsCombination pills
Combination pills contain synthetic (man-made) forms of the hormones estrogen and progestin. Most pills in each cycle are active, which means they contain hormones. The remaining pills are inactive, which means they don’t contain hormones. There are several types of combination pills: Monophasic pills: These are used in one-month cycles and each active pill gives you the same dose of hormone. During the last week of the cycle, you take inactive pills and have your period. Multiphasic pills: These are used in one-month cycles and provide different levels of hormones during the cycle. During the last week of the cycle, you take inactive pills and have your period. Extended-cycle pills: These are typically used in 13-week cycles. You take active pills for 12 weeks, and during the last week of the cycle, you take inactive pills and have your period. As a result, you have your period only three to four times per year.
Examples of brand-name combination pills include: Azurette Beyaz Enpresse Estrostep Fe Kariva Levora Loestrin Natazia Ocella Low-Ogestrel Ortho-Novum Ortho Tri-Cyclen Seasonale Seasonique Velivet Yasmin Yaz
Progestin-only pills
Progestin-only pills contain progestin without estrogen. This type of pill is also called the minipill. Progestin-only pills may be a good choice for women who can’t take estrogen for health or other reasons. With these progestin-only pills, all pills in the cycle are active. There are no inactive pills, so you may or may not have a period while taking progestin-only pills. Examples of progestin-only pills include: Camila Errin Heather Jencycla Nor-QD Ortho Micronor

Deciding on a type of birth control pillNot every type of pill is a good fit for every woman. Talk to your doctor about which pill option would work best for you. Factors that can affect your choice include: your menstrual symptoms whether you are breastfeeding your cardiovascular health other chronic health conditions you may have other medications you may take


85% Effective
Can cost $0 to $2
Use every time

7.Internal Condom / Female Condoms

79% Effective
Can cost $0 to $3
Use every time

The female condom can be inserted into the vagina up to eight hours before having sex (3,4). Most commercially available models have a flexible ring on both ends—an internal ring to hold the condom up inside the vagina, and an external ring to prevent the condom from being pushed up into the vagina. The external ring also covers part of the vulva (5). Bedsider has a great guide to inserting a female condom. The female condom that’s available to purchase now in 2018 is a fairly recent invention, developed by Lasse Hessel and approved as a medical device by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1994 (5). But like male condoms, the female condom dates far back—the ancient Greek legend of Minos describes the use of an internal condom made out of a goat’s bladder (1,5). The first modern description of a female condom was in 1907, in a patent for a method of collecting animal semen for breeding (5). A lesser-known and less-available type of female condom is the bikini condom. These are underwear with an opening in the crotch with fasteners that female condoms can attach to, so that the condom is not pushed completely into the vagina. Another type of bikini condom is underwear that has a condom attached in a sealed compartment in front of the vulva, which can be opened before sex

Female condoms are often made of polyurethane or nitrile, which is safe to use for people who are allergic to latex. Another benefit to polyurethane or nitrile female condoms is that they can be used with all types of lubricants (4,7). Be sure to check the packaging before use if you have latex allergies or use an additional lubricant for compatibility. The female condom doesn’t require an erection for use, unlike the male condom, which requires an erection before it’s put on. Some people find that after sufficient foreplay, stopping to open, find, or put a condom on a penis can disrupt erections and kill the mood—female condoms can circumvent this, as they can be inserted up to eight hours before sex (3,4). Having your partner watch you insert an internal condom could also be a kickstart to foreplay (7). After sex, the female condom doesn’t need to be removed immediately, but if your partner has ejaculated, it can get messy when you stand up afterwards (4,8). It’s best to remove the female condom lying down. Grasp the outer ring of the condom and twist it around a few times to seal up any ejaculate fluids for a quick and easy clean up process (4,8) Female condoms are designed and approved for vaginal sex, but people have also reported using them for anal sex (9,10). While female and male condoms both function as barrier methods, more research is needed into how well female condoms protect against the spread of STIs during anal sex (10,11). Female condoms are effective at preventing STIs during vaginal sex

8.Diaphragm birth Control
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88% Effective
Can cost $0 to $75
Use every time

Using a diaphragm is a form of birth control. It prevents pregnancy by creating a barrier between a woman’s uterus and a man’s sperm. A diaphragm is a reusable dome-shaped cup. It fits over the opening of the cervix. It is common to use a diaphragm with spermicide. This is a gel, cream, or foam that kills sperm.
There are 4 types of diaphragms. They are made of either latex or silicone. The most common type is the arching spring diaphragm. It has a firm rim and is easiest to insert. It works best for women who have weak vaginal muscle tone. The coil spring diaphragm has a soft rim that is flexible. It works best for women who have average vaginal muscle tone. The flat spring diaphragm is similar, but has a thin rim. It works best for women who have strong vaginal muscle tone. You can use a diaphragm introducer tool to insert both the coil spring and flat spring types. The wide seal rim diaphragm is a silicone option. It is best for women who are allergic or sensitive to latex. It comes in arching spring or coil spring shapes.
See your primary care or women’s doctor to get a diaphragm. They will help you decide which type of diaphragm is best and prescribe it for you. They will do an exam to measure you and find the correct size. If it is too small, it may fall out or not block sperm. If it is too big, it will cause discomfort. The most common size is 75 millimeters (mm). It is important that your diaphragm fits right. Your doctor will show you how to insert it properly and help you practice. It should rest right behind your pubic bone.

9. Birth Control Sponge
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76-88% Effective
Can cost $0 to $15
Use every time

The contraceptive sponge is a type of birth control (contraceptive) that prevents sperm from entering the uterus. It is soft and disk-shaped, and made of polyurethane foam. The contraceptive sponge contains spermicide, which blocks or kills sperm. Before having sex, you insert the sponge deep inside the vagina so that it covers the cervix. Your vaginal muscles hold it in place. The contraceptive sponge has a strap on one side for easier removal. The contraceptive sponge can prevent pregnancy but doesn't protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The contraceptive sponge is available over-the-counter and: Doesn't require a prescription or fitting Can be inserted immediately or up to 24 hours before sex Provides protection from pregnancy for 24 hours Can be used as a backup method of birth control Doesn't require a partner's cooperation The contraceptive sponge isn't right for everyone. There are several contraceptive options and you should discuss with your doctor whether any may be better suited for you. Your health care provider may not recommend a contraceptive sponge if you: Are sensitive or allergic to spermicide or polyurethane Have a vaginal abnormality that affects the way the contraceptive sponge fits Have frequent urinary tract infections Have a history of toxic shock syndrome Recently gave birth, had a miscarriage or had an abortion Are at high risk of contracting HIV or you have HIV or AIDS Are at high risk of pregnancy — you're younger than age 30, have sex three or more times a week, you've had previous contraceptive failure with vaginal barrier methods, or you're not likely to use the contraceptive sponge consistently

10.Cervical Cap birth control
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71-86% Effective
Can cost $0 to $90
Use every time

The cervical cap is a birth control (contraceptive) device that prevents sperm from entering the uterus. The cervical cap is a reusable, deep silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina and fits tightly over the cervix. The cervical cap is held in place by suction and has a strap to help with removal. The cervical cap is effective at preventing pregnancy only when used with spermicide. Only one cervical cap — FemCap — has Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the U.S. It must be fitted and prescribed by a doctor, but can be purchased online if you have a current prescription.

The cervical cap comes in different sizes. Your health care provider will fit you for the cervical cap and demonstrate how to insert and remove the cap. He or she may confirm that the cervical cap is in the correct position by doing a pelvic exam. Make sure you regularly check your cervical cap for wear, holes or discoloration and replace your cervical cap each year. You may need to have your cervical cap refitted after childbirth. Always use the cervical cap with spermicide. Don't wear the cervical cap during any kind of vaginal bleeding, including your period. Before you use the cervical cap for the first time, practice inserting the cap and checking its placement. Use a backup method of contraception, such as a male condom, the first few times you use the cervical cap.

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71% Effective
Can cost $0 to $8
Use every time

A spermicide is a substance that kills sperm. Spermicides are available as jelly, foam, cream, suppositories, and film. The active ingredient of most spermicides is a chemical called nonoxynol-9. Most spermicides come with an applicator. The applicator is filled with spermicide and inserted into the vagina right before intercourse. When using a jelly, foam, or cream, you can then have sex right away. A spermicide film or suppository is inserted deep into the vagina using a finger and is placed close to the cervix. Film or suppositories must be inserted at least 15 minutes before having sex to allow the spermicide to spread in the vagina. One application of spermicide is necessary for each act of sexual intercourse.

The most effective strength spermicide contains at least 100 mg of nonoxynol-9 per dose. You are more likely to get pregnant if you use a weaker spermicide. There is no difference in effectiveness between various spermicide types, such as gel, film, or suppository.footnote 1 Typical use failure rate includes all possible users, including people who are careless and those who use a method perfectly every time. Perfect use failure rate includes only people who use a method perfectly every time. Spermicide used alone has a high failure rate of 28% for typical users. This means that in 1 year, 28 out of 100 women who use spermicide as their only method of birth control get pregnant. The perfect use failure rate is still high, at 18% (18 out of 100 women).footnote 2 Spermicide used with another barrier method (condoms, diaphragm, or cervical cap) is more effective at preventing pregnancy than spermicide alone. For example, spermicide with a diaphragm has an average failure rate of 12%. This means that in a year, 12 out of 100 women who use a diaphragm and spermicide together get pregnant. The perfect use failure rate is much lower, at 6% (6 out of 100 women).footnote 2 Vaginal douching is not considered a birth control method even if it is done with spermicides. Douching after intercourse does not prevent sperm from reaching the fallopian tubes, where fertilization takes place.

12.Fertility Awareness (FAMs)
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76-88% Effective
Can cost $0 to $20
Use daily

13.Withdrawal (Pull Out Method)
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78% Effective
Cost $0
Use Every Time

The withdrawal method of contraception (coitus interruptus) is the practice of withdrawing the penis from the vagina and away from a woman's external genitals before ejaculation to prevent pregnancy. The goal of the withdrawal method — also called "pulling out" — is to prevent sperm from entering the vagina. Using the withdrawal method for birth control requires self-control. Even then, the withdrawal method isn't an especially effective form of birth control. Sperm may enter the vagina if withdrawal isn't properly timed or if pre-ejaculation fluid contains sperm. The withdrawal method doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections.

The withdrawal method of contraception can help prevent pregnancy. Among various benefits, the withdrawal method: Is free and readily available Has no side effects Doesn't require a fitting or prescription Some couples choose to use the withdrawal method because they don't want to use other contraceptive methods.

14.Outercourse and Abstinence
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100% Effective
Cost $0
Used every time

Abstinence and outercourse are VERY effective at preventing pregnancy — but only if you don’t slip up and have unprotected vaginal sex or get any semen in the vagina.

If you never get semen (cum) on the vulva or in the vagina, pregnancy can’t happen. Abstinence is 100% effective as long as you’re actually abstinent. But if you do have unprotected vaginal sex — even just one time — pregnancy can happen. Nobody’s perfect, and sometimes people plan on being abstinent but end up having sex. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep condoms around, just in case. Being prepared and having protection doesn’t mean you’re definitely going to have sex — it means you’re responsible and taking care of your health.

Outercourse activities are 100% effective at preventing pregnancy: kissing, massage, masturbation, dry humping with clothes on, anal sex, and oral sex can’t cause pregnancy. That said, pregnancy can happen, rarely, even if you don’t actually have vaginal sex. If semen (cum) accidentally gets on a vulva, sperm can swim up into the vagina and fertilize an egg. There are a few ways this can happen: Cum gets on the vulva. It can accidentally drip or be wiped onto the vulva. There’s wet semen on someone’s fingers and/or sex toys, and they touch the vulva or go in the vagina. Semen drips out of the anus and into the vulva after anal sex. Bottom line: if you’re trying to avoid pregnancy, don’t get semen (cum) on the vulva or in the vagina. Pre-ejaculate (precum) can also have some sperm in it, so keep pre-cum away from the vulva and vagina, too.

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