Skip to content

Step 1: Understand how your body works.

Do you know how your reproductive organs work, or how and why you menstruate? Read more below to learn about your marvelous body.

Step 2: Learn about the different types of birth control

When it comes to birth control, you can choose from prescription or non-prescription products. Learn about each of the birth control options below.

The Pill

The pill is a term used for oral contraceptives that contain 1 or 2 hormones— progestin and possibly estrogen. They work by preventing ovulation (keeping the ovaries from releasing eggs) and by thickening
the cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to pass through.1

Effectiveness2

Over 99% effective when used correctly. 93% effective when used incorrectly.

Dosing1

You take one pill every day.

The Patch

The birth control patch is a thin, square patch that sticks to the skin and releases progesterone and estrogen hormones into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. This combination of the hormones prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries).1

Effectiveness2

99% effective when used correctly. 93% effective when used incorrectly.

Dosing1

Weekly. You put on a new patch once a week for 3 weeks, followed by a week without a patch. It’s important to apply your new patch on the same day every week for it to work effectively.

Diaphragm

The diaphragm is a cup made of thin, flexible latex or silicone. It’s placed inside your vagina and covers the cervix (the part of the uterus that opens into the vagina).This prevents sperm from getting in and fertilizing an egg. For added protection, spermicide is put inside the diaphragm before insertion. The diaphragm is fitted by your healthcare provider.2

Effectiveness2

84% effective when used correctly. 83% effective when used incorrectly.

Dosing1

Used only when you have sex.

Vaginal Ring

A small flexible circular ring that goes inside the vagina and slowly releases the hormones progestin and estrogen into the bloodstream. These hormones prevent ovulation (the release of eggs from the ovaries). The ring also thickens cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to pass through.4

Effectiveness2

More than 99% effective when used correctly.2

Dosing1

3, 5, or 10 years after insertion depending on which IUD you choose.4

IUD (Intrauterine Device)

A quarter-sized piece of T-shaped plastic inserted inside the uterus by your healthcare provider to prevent pregnancy. Two types of IUDs are available: one releases the hormone progestin. The other is covered in copper. The copper-coated IUD works by preventing the sperm from fertilizing the egg. It may also make it harder for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus. The progestin IUD prevents ovulation (by keeping the ovaries from releasing eggs) and thickens the cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to pass through.4

Effectiveness2

More than 99% effective when used correctly.

Dosing1

Monthly. You insert the ring into your vagina, and it stays there for 3 weeks, then you remove it for a week.

Injection (Shot)

The shot contains a long acting form of the hormone progestin that works by preventing ovulations (keeping the ovaries from releasing eggs). The progestin also thickens the cervical mucus, making it hard for the sperm to enter the uterus, and thins the lining of the uterus so that an egg will have a hard time attaching.5

Effectiveness2

More than 99% effective when used correctly. 96% effective when used incorrectly.

Dosing1

Your healthcare provider gives you one shot every 3 months.

Spermicides

Spermicides come in many different forms, including foam, film, cream, gel, and suppositories. They are inserted into the vagina. They block the cervix (the opening to the uterus) and also make it harder for sperm to reach an egg. Spermicides are more effective when used with other methods of birth control like condoms or diaphragms.2

Effectiveness2

84% effective when used correctly. 79% effective when used incorrectly.

Dosing1

Use only when you have sex.

Female Condom

An internal condom, the female condom is a soft pouch inserted into the vagina. It has a flexible ring at each end. The closed end goes inside; the other end is open with a ring that sits outside the vagina. It works by collecting semen and keeping it from entering the vagina.2

Effectiveness2

95% effective when used correctly. 79% effective when used incorrectly.

Dosing1

Use only when you have sex.

Male Condom

Usually made of latex (a type of rubber) the condom is worn on an erect penis during sex. It works by collecting semen and keeping it from entering the vagina.2

Effectiveness2

98% effective when used correctly. 87% effective when used incorrectly.

Dosing1

Use only when you have sex.

1Rice, C. and Thompson, J. Selecting and Monitoring Hormonal Contraceptives: An Overview of Available Products. U.S. Pharmacist. http://stage.uspharmacist.com/article/selecting-and-monitoring-hormonal-contraceptives-an-overview-of-available-products/

2Hatcher RA, Nelson AL, Trussell J, et al. Contraceptive Technology. 21st ed. New York, NY: Ayer Company Publishers, Inc.; 2018

3Frances E Case. Contraception Overview. EMedicine https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/258507-overview#a5.
Accessed 5/19/2019

4Thomas, L IUD: Advantages and Disadvantage. News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/IUD-Advantages-and-Disadvantages.aspx.
Accessed 5/19/2019

5Bhathena, R. (2001), The longacting progestogenonly contraceptive injections: an update. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 108: 3-8. https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2001.000
Accessed 5/19/2019