Effectiveness of Birth Control Methods

Birth control effectiveness relates to human error. Generally, the LESS you have to do, the MORE effective the option.

Birth control methods are good at preventing pregnancy when used consistently and correctly.

Check out the difference between Perfect Use and Typical Use.

Make sure your method of choice is being used correctly!


                                   
Method Perfect
Use
Typical
Use
Pregnancies* Risk Reduction
for STIs
 
Abstinence 100% 100% 0 Some. Oral and anal sex have some risk.
 
Sterilization 99+% 99+% 0-1 None
 
Depo-Provera 99+% 97% 3 None
 
IUD 99+% 99+% 0-1 None
 
Birth Control Pills 99+% 92% 8 None
 
Contraceptive Patch 98-99% 92% 8 None
 
Intravaginal Ring
(Nuva Ring)
98-99% 92% 8 None
 
Emergency Contraception
Pills
75-89% 75-89% 11-25 None
 
Male Condom 98% 85% 15 Good against fluid STIs, fair against others
 
Coitus Interruptus
(Withdrawal)
96% 81% 19 None
 
Diaphragm 94% 84% 16 None
 
Cervical Cap:
Given birth
Never given birth
 
74%
91%
 
68%
84%
 
32
16
None
 
Female Condom 95% 79% 21 Some
 
Natural Family Planning
(Rhythm)
N/A 75% 25 None
 
Spermicide 82% 81% 19 None
 
No Method
(Chance or “Luck”)
15% 15% 85 None
 
Method Perfect
Use
Typical
Use
Pregnancies* Risk Reduction
for STIs

 
* number of pregnancies in 100 typical users over one year’s use

Sources: Hatcher, Robert, et al. Contraceptive Technology. (18th edition). New York: Irvington Publishers, Inc., 2004.

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