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Facts on Contraceptive Effectiveness | Did You Know?

Facts on Contraceptive effectiveness - Did You Know?

Implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) are the most effective forms of reversible birth control, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

various Birth control pills, by Ceridwen, cc-by-saUsing these methods results in less than 1 pregnancy per 100 women.

Sterilization is just as effective, but permanent.

The ACOG offers the following effectiveness rates for other forms of birth control:

  • 6 to 9 pregnancies per 100 women: Injections, pills, patches, and vaginal rings. All of these methods use hormones.
  • 12 to 24 pregnancies per 100 women: Male condoms, cervical caps, sponges, diaphragms, and female condoms
  • 28 pregnancies per 100 women: Spermicides

Many women overestimate the effectiveness of birth control methods. A recent study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that over 45% of the 4,144 women surveyed thought pills, patches, rings, condoms, and depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate (a type of injection) are more effective than they really are.

Most of the participants knew that the annual risk of becoming pregnant from unprotected sex is greater than 10%.

It’s important to remember that not all forms of birth control protect against sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). Male and female condoms give some protection, but other forms of birth control, used on their own, do not. 

Not all forms of birth control are right for every woman. A gynecologist can help determine which method is best for you. He or she can also teach you how to use birth control correctly. 



American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
“Frequently Asked Questions – Birth Control”
(FAQ 112, Especially for Teens. August 2011)

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Eisenberg, David L., MD, MPH, et al.
“Knowledge of contraceptive effectiveness”
(Abstract - Published online: April 9, 2012)

Medical News Today
Nordqvist, Christian
“Pregnancy Risk With Contraceptives Higher Than Women Think”
(April 29, 2012)

Norton, Amy
“Women overestimate effectiveness of Pill, condoms”
(April 27, 2012)

Image Credit
Different kinds of birth control pills.
Wikimedia Commons user Ceridwen