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Effectiveness of Birth Control Methods infographic.  

Effectiveness of Birth Control Methods* (Text Version)

All birth control methods are arranged in a chart, ranging from most effective methods at the top to least effective methods at the bottom.

Less than 1 pregnancy per 100 women in a year

Reversible

  • Implant
    0.05 percent
    Approved for up to 3 years of use

  • IUD
    0.2 to 0.8 percent
    Hormonal approved for up to 3 to 6 years of use; copper approved for up to 10 years of use

Permanent

  • Sterilization
    0.15 to 0.5 percent
    Available for women and men

6 to 12 pregnancies per 100 women in a year

  • Injection
    6 percent
    Get a shot on time every 3 months

  • Pill
    9 percent
    Take a pill on time each day

  • Patch
    9 percent
    Change patch every week

  • Vaginal Ring
    9 percent
    Change ring every month

  • Diaphragm
    12 percent
    Use each time you have sex; must be refitted after childbirth

18 or more pregnancies per 100 women in a year

  • Male Condom
    18 percent
    Use each time you have sex; protects against HIV and other STIs

  • Female Condom
    21 percent
    Use each time you have sex; protects against HIV and other STIs

  • Cervical Cap
    17 to 23 percent
    Use each time you have sex

  • Sponge
    12 to 24 percent
    Use each time you have sex

  • Fertility Awareness-Based Methods
    24 percent
    Requires training; use a barrier method or abstain from sex periodically

  • Spermicide
    28 percent
    Use each time you have sex

Abbreviations: HIV, human immunodeficiency virus; IUD, intrauterine device; STIs, sexually transmitted infections.

Other methods of birth control

  • Lactational amenorrhea method: This is a temporary method of birth control that can be used for the first 6 months after giving birth by women who are exclusively breastfeeding.

  • Emergency contraception: Emergency contraceptive pills taken or a copper IUD inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex can reduce the risk of pregnancy.

  • Withdrawal: The man withdraws his penis from the vagina before ejaculating; 22 out of 100 women using this method will become pregnant in the first year.

*Percentage of women who will become pregnant within the first year of typical use of the method

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PFSI028: This information is designed as an educational aid to patients and sets forth current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care, nor does it comprise all proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for a treating clinician’s independent professional judgment. For ACOG’s complete disclaimer, visit www.acog.org/WomensHealth-Disclaimer.

Copyright March 2021 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, posted on the internet, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher.

Adapted from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Reproductive Health and Research, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs (CCP). Knowledge for health project. Family planning: a global handbook for providers (2011 update). Baltimore, MD; Geneva, Switzerland: CCP and WHO; 2011; and Trussell J. Contraceptive failure in the United States. Contraception 2011;83:397–404.