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Non Permanent Contraception

The following is a brief summary of each method and is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of facts. Each method is associated with certain risks and benefits.

Not all women will be candidates for each method. This list will give you a starting point for further discussion with your practitioner to determine the method that best matches your needs in the context of all risks and benefits. For more information on each topic, please visit the associated link.

Oral contraceptives

  • Type: Hormonal.
  • Method: Pill taken by mouth
  • Function: Prevents ovulation
  • Efficacy in preventing pregnancy when used properly: 96-98%. Efficacy is largely determined by your ability to remember to take (usually) daily pill around the same time of day.
  • Maintenance: Requires you to take a pill approximately at the same time each day, every day.
  • Duration of use: You start a new pill pack every month. You can discontinue use whenever you choose, preferably between a pill pack.
  • Also can be used to treat a variety of menstrual disorders.
  • More information from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology

IUD (Paragard)

  • Type: Hormone free.
  • Method: A small flexible plastic device wrapped in copper that is inserted into the uterus.
  • Function: Thought to prevent pregnancy by preventing sperm from reaching egg or preventing the egg from implanting into uterine wall
  • Efficacy in preventing pregnancy when used properly: Roughly 99%
  • Maintenance: Requires you to check the small thread attached to the device once per month (done at home). The device is considered effective for at least 12 years at which point you should discuss with your provider replacing the device or other birth control options.
  • Duration of use: Up to 12 years with the same device. You can choose to discontinue at any time; however, removal requires a brief office visit.
  • More information from the makers of Paragard
  • Additional information about IUDs is available in the Health Topics section of our Links page.

IUD (Liletta)

  • Type: Hormonal 
  • Method: A small flexible device that is inserted into the uterus.
  • Function: May work to prevent pregnancy in several ways. It may thicken your cervical mucus, thin the lining of your uterus, inhibit sperm movement, reduce sperm survival. 
  • Efficacy in preventing pregnancy when used properly: Over 99%
  • Maintenance: Requires you to check the small thread attached to the device once per month (done at home). The device is considered effective for at least six years at which point you should discuss with your provider replacing the device or other birth control options.
  • Duration of use: Up to six years with the same device. You can choose to discontinue at any time; however, removal requires a brief office visit.
  • Also can be used to treat: Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Additional information about IUDs is available in the Health Topics section of our Links page.

Implant (Nexplanon)

  • Type: Hormonal.
  • Method: A tiny flexible rod is implanted under the skin in the arm through a small incision, using local anesthesia in the office.
  • Function: Prevents ovulation; changes the mucus in your cervix which is thought to keep sperm from reaching the egg; changes the lining of your uterus.
  • Efficacy in preventing pregnancy when used properly: Roughly 99%
  • Maintenance: Once inserted, no maintenance is needed until four years after insertion (at which time the device is considered ineffective).
  • Duration of Use: Up to four years with the same implanted rod.
  • Menstrual irregularities are common side effects.

Vaginal Gel (Phexxi)

  • Type: Non-Hormonal 
  • Method: Phexxi is a prescription vaginal gel used to prevent pregnancy in females who choose to use an on-demand method of birth control.
  • Function: Reduces sperm mobility, lowering the chance of sperm reaching the egg.
  • Efficacy in preventing pregnancy when used properly: Roughly 86.3% effective at preventing pregnancy. 
  • Maintenance/Duration: Phexxi should be placed in your vagina immediately before or up to 1 hour before each episode of vaginal sex. Phexxi doesn’t have to be used alone. You can use it with other contraceptives including condoms or diaphragms, but not with a vaginal ring.
  • More information from the makers of Phexxi.  

Vaginal Ring (Nuvaring or generic version)

  • Type: Hormonal 
  • Method: Flexible rings are inserted by you into your vagina, once per month.
  • Function: Prevents ovulation.
  • Efficacy in preventing pregnancy when used properly: Roughly 99%
  • Maintenance: Requires you to remove the ring from your vagina every month and insert a new one seven days later.
  • Duration of Use: Ring must be replaced monthly. You can discontinue use whenever you choose, preferably at the end of each cycle.
  • More information from the makers of NuvaRing

Vaginal Ring (Annovera)

  • Type: Hormonal (estrogen and progestin)
  • Method: Flexible rings are inserted by you into your vagina, once per month.
  • Function: Prevents ovulation.
  • Efficacy in preventing pregnancy when used properly: Roughly 97.3%
  • Maintenance: Requires you to remove the ring from your vagina every month and insert a new one seven days later.
  • Duration of Use: Each cycle, you put it in yourself (and leave it in for 21 days), then you pull it out yourself (and leave it out for 7 days), then repeat. You can discontinue user whenever you choose, preferably at the end of each cycle. 
  • More information from the makers of Annovera

Skin Patch (OrthoEvra or Xulane)

  • Type: Hormonal (progestin and estrogen)
  • Method: Adhesive skin patch
  • Function: Prevents ovulation; also triggers changes in your body that further prevent pregnancy
  • Efficacy for preventing pregnancy when used properly: Roughly 99%
  • Maintenance: Change patch once per week
  • Duration of use: You can discontinue use whenever you choose.
  • More information from the makers of OrthoEvra

Injection - Depo Provera (medroxy progesterone)

  • Type: Hormone-like (medroxyprogesterone acetate, functions like progesterone)
  • Method: Injection every three months
  • Function: Prevents ovulation; also causes changes in uterus that make it less likely for pregnancy to occur.
  • Efficacy for preventing pregnancy when used properly: Over 99%
  • Maintenance: Office visit every three months to administer injection
  • Duration of use: We recommend that this method not be used as a long term solution, as it may be associated with bone loss.

Barrier methods: condoms, spermicide, diaphragm, cervical cap

  • Type: Non-hormonal; some condoms and all spermicide contain a substance that disables sperm.
  • Method: varies by method
  • Function: block sperm from reaching an egg either by physical barrier or sperm-disabling element.
  • Efficacy for preventing pregnancy when used properly: Varies widely by method and proper use.
  • Maintenance: Requires steps to be taken just prior to having sex.
  • More information from ACOG

 

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