It’s important if you’re using birth control to prevent pregnancy, that you are aware of how it does its job, and also, how good it is at doing its job, right? To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve ranked the different methods of birth control by their effectiveness, so you can focus on getting down with your other half.
We’ve ranked the methods by how effective they are at preventing pregnancy with ‘Typical Use‘ which takes into account human error (for example, the fact that women might forget the pill or take it at an incorrect time, or that they may not correctly use a condom.). It’s important to understand the difference between ‘Perfect Use Effectiveness‘ (Basically, if you never forgot to change the patch on time, or if you were 100% consistent with how you take the pill, all the time), and ‘Typical Use’ which is more realistic, given the pressures and realities of, well, real life. We know that not everyone uses birth control to prevent pregnancy, but we hope you find this info handy!
And, because you should also be thinking about staying healthy and protecting yourselves against sexually transmitted infections (‘STI’s), we’ve added that below too, so you know if you’re protected or not!
|Method Name||Method Type||Effectiveness – TYPICAL Use||Effectiveness – PERFECT Use||Protects against STIs||Frequency of use||Description|
|Sterilisation||Permanent Method||99%||99%||No STI Protection||Permanent||Sterilisation is a one-off permanent procedure for those who don’t want anymore children|
|IUS or IUD (See what women think about these methods – Jaydess or Mirena||Intrauterine Method||99%||99%||No STI Protection||<3-10 years depending on type||The IUS or IUD can only be inserted by a well-trained healthcare provider once every 3 to 10 years depending on the type.|
|Contraceptive Implant (See what women think about these methods: Implanon, Nexaplon)||Hormonal Method||99%||99%||No STI Protection||<3-5 Years||The contraceptive implant can only be inserted by a healthcare professional once every 3 to 5 years depending on the type.|
|Contraceptive Injection (See what women think about these methods: Depo-Provera)||Hormonal Method||94%||99%||No STI Protection||Every 1 or 3 months (depending on type)||The contraceptive injection can only be inserted by a healthcare professional once every 1 or 3 months depending on the type|
|Contraceptive Ring (See what women think about this method: Nuva Ring||Hormonal Method||91%||99%||No STI Protection||Every month||The contraceptive ring is inserted and left in for 3 weeks and then removed for the 4th week. This cycle is then repeated.|
|The Pill (See what women think about a few of these pill brands: Dianette, Alesse, Cerazette, Cilest, Microgynon, Yasmin||Hormonal Method||91%||99%||No STI Protection||Every day||There are different kinds of pill, so it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider to make sure you’re taking yours correctly|
|Contraceptive Patch (See what women think about Evra)||Hormonal Method||91%||99%||No STI Protection||Every Week||The contraceptive patch is applied once a week, for 3 weeks in a row and then left off for the 4th week. This cycle is then repeated.|
|Diaphragm||Barrier Method||88%||94%||No STI Protection||24 hours max||The diaphragm must be inserted, with spermicide, every time you have sex. It needs to stay in for 6 hours after sex, but no more than 24 hours afterwards.|
|Cervical Cap||Barrier Method||84%||91%||No STI Protection||48hours max||The cervical cap must be inserted, with spermicide, every time you have sex. It needs to stay in for 6 hours after sex, but no more than 48 hours afterwards.|
|Male Condom||Barrier Method||82%||98%||Protects against STIs||Every time you have sex||You must use a new condom each time you have sex|
|Female Condom||Barrier Method||72%||95%||Protects against STIs||Every time you have sex||You must use a new condom each time you have sex|
|Spermicides||Chemical Method||72%||82%||No STI protection||Every time you have sex||Spermicides must be used, along with a cervical cap, diaphragm or other barrier method, every time you have sex.|
Source for data on effectiveness: Trussell J. Contraceptive Efficacy. Efficacy at typical and correct use figures. In: Hatcher RA, Trussell J, Nelson AL, Cates W, Kowal D, Policar M. Contraceptive Technology: Twentieth Revised Edition. New York NY: Ardent Media, 2011.
Are you using any of these birth control methods? If yes, we’d love to hear from you!If you’d like to be featured in our Real Women | Real Experiences series, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to share your own experience and tell us what side effects you felt, and whether you recommend any of these methods to others, head over to Share your Experience