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Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Effectiveness Rate of Birth Control Methods

Effectiveness Rate of Birth Control Methods

Overview

These tables compare how well different birth control methods work. They show how many women out of 100 will have an unplanned pregnancy in the first year of using a method. These numbers reflect studies of real-life usage. footnote 1 , footnote 2

You can improve on the real-life failure rate of birth control methods by always using birth control methods as directed. But even with perfect use, a method will still fail to prevent a pregnancy in a certain number of women.

Hormonal

How well does hormonal birth control work?

Method used

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 typical users

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 people who used the method exactly as directed

Combination birth control pills

9

Fewer than 1

Hormonal implant

Fewer than 1

Fewer than 1

The shot

6

Fewer than 1

Transdermal patch

9

Fewer than 1

Progestin-only pills (mini-pills)

9

Fewer than 1

Vaginal ring

9

Fewer than 1

IUD

How well do IUDs work?

Method used

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 typical users

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 people who used the method exactly as directed

Hormonal IUD

Fewer than 1

Fewer than 1

Copper IUD

Fewer than 1

Fewer than 1

Barrier methods

How well do barrier methods work?

Method used

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 typical users

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 people who used the method exactly as directed

Condom, male

18

2

Withdrawal

22

4

Condom, female

21

5

Diaphragm with spermicide

12

6

Spermicide alone

28

18

Sponge with spermicide (no previous vaginal childbirth)

12

9

Sponge with spermicide (after vaginal childbirth)

24

20

Cervical cap (no previous vaginal childbirth)

16

9

Cervical cap (after vaginal delivery)

32

26

Fertility awareness

How well does fertility awareness work?

Method used

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 typical users

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 people who used the method exactly as directed

Periodic abstinence and fertility awareness methods

24

5

Surgery

How well does surgery work?

Method used

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 typical users

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 people who used the method exactly as directed

Vasectomy

Fewer than 1

Fewer than 1

Tubal ligation or tubal implants

Fewer than 1

Fewer than 1

No birth control

How well does no birth control work?

Method used

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 typical users

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 people who used the method exactly as directed

No birth control

85

85

References

References

Citations

  1. Trussell J, Guthrie KA (2011). Choosing a contraceptive: Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In RA Hatcher et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 20th ed., pp. 45–74. Atlanta: Ardent Media.
  2. Abramowicz M (2010). Choice of contraceptives. Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 8(100): 89–96.

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