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    Effectiveness Rate of Birth Control Methods

    Effectiveness Rate of Birth Control Methods

    Topic Overview

    The following table compares the effectiveness of different birth control methods. The column on the right shows the number of women out of 100 who will have an unplanned pregnancy in the first year of using a method. These numbers represent studies of real-life usage.

    You can improve on the real-life failure rate of birth control methods by consistently using birth control methods as directed. But even if used perfectly each time, a method will still fail to prevent a pregnancy in a certain number of women.

    Effectiveness of birth control methods
    Category Method Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 typical users 1, 2 Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 people that used the method exactly as directed 1, 2
    Hormonal

    Combination birth control pills

    8

    Fewer than 1

    Hormonal implant

    Fewer than 1

    Fewer than 1

    The shot

    3

    Fewer than 1

    Transdermal patch

    8

    Fewer than 1

    Progestin-only pills (mini-pills)

    8

    Fewer than 1

    Vaginal ring

    8

    Fewer than 1

    IUD

    Hormonal IUD

    Fewer than 1

    Fewer than 1

    Copper IUD

    Fewer than 1

    Fewer than 1

    Barrier methods

    Condom, male

    15

    2

    Withdrawal

    27

    4

    Condom, female

    21

    5

    Diaphragm with spermicide

    16

    6

    Spermicide alone

    29

    18

    Sponge with spermicide (no previous vaginal childbirth)

    16

    9

    Sponge with spermicide (after vaginal childbirth)

    32

    20

    Cervical cap (no previous vaginal childbirth)

    16

    9

    Cervical cap (after vaginal delivery)

    32

    26

    Fertility awareness

    Periodic abstinence and fertility awareness methods

    25

    5

    Surgery

    Vasectomy

    Fewer than 1

    Fewer than 1

    Tubal ligation or tubal implants

    Fewer than 1

    Fewer than 1

    No birth control

    No birth control

    85

    85

    The numbers shown in this table show the typical use rates for the average population, including people who use their birth control very carefully and those who do not.

    Related Information

    References

    Citations

    1. Trussell J (2007). Choosing a contraceptive: Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In RA Hatcher et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 19th ed., pp. 19-47. New York: Ardent Media.
    2. Abramowicz M (2010). Choice of contraceptives. Treatment Guidelines From the Medical Letter, 8(100): 89-96.

    Credits

    By Healthwise Staff
    Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
    Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
    Last Revised May 3, 2012

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