Choose Your Method
IUD

IUD (Intrauterine Device)

Brand names: ParaGard, Mirena

The IUD is a quarter-sized t-shaped device that is inserted in your uterus by a medical provider during an office visit. It may be right for you if you want to prevent pregnancy at least one year and a very effective method that is easy to use. Read more.

The IUD does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

99%
effective
Lasts 1-10 yrs
taken out any time

Side effects may include some pain after insertion like cramping and backaches, increased spotting between periods in the first months, irregular periods in the first months (Mirena), heavier periods and worse cramps (ParaGard). Pain relievers can usually reduce cramping and other side effects.

Implant

Implant

Brand names: Implanon, Nexplanon

The implant is a matchstick-sized rod that gets inserted in your arm. A provider inserts and removes the implant during office visits. It may be right for you if you want to prevent pregnancy at least one year and a very effective method that is easy to use. Read more.

The implant does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

99%
effective
Lasts 1-3 yrs
taken out any time

Side effects may include irregular bleeding and spotting (especially in the first months), fewer and lighter periods for most women, but longer, heavier periods for some women.

Shot

Shot

Depo-Provera

The shot is given in the arm, thigh or butt by a provider during an office visit every 12 weeks. It must be given on time every 12 week to be effective. Read more.

The shot does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

94%
effective
Lasts 3 months

Side effects may include irregular bleeding and spotting (especially in the first months), fewer and lighter periods for most women, but longer, heavier periods for some women.

Ring

Vaginal Ring

NuvaRing

A flexible ring worn in the vagina for three weeks. You get a prescription from a provider but insert yourself at home. Read more.

The ring does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

91%
effective
Lasts 1 month

Side effects may include increased spotting between periods, breast tenderness, nausea and vomiting.

Emergency Contraception

Emergency Contraception

Brand Names: Plan B, ella, Next Choice

Pills taken after unprotected sex to prevent fertilization and pregnancy. To be effective, must be taken as soon as possible but no more than 5 days after unprotected sex. The sooner you take emergency contraception, the more effective it is at preventing pregnancy. Emergency contraception does not work if you are already pregnant. If you are at least 17 years old, you can go to the drug store and ask the pharmacist for emergency contraception. If you are younger than 17, a provider can write you a prescription.

Emergency contraception is a great backup plan when you need it but is not the most effective birth control. If you are trying to prevent pregnancy, consider trying one of the other more effective birth control methods. Read more.

The ring does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

76%
Effective
One time use

Side effects may include nausea, fatigue, and headache.

Patch

Patch

Ortho Evra

A small patch that sticks to your skin for a week. You get a prescription from a provider but stick on yourself at home. Read more.

The patch does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

91%
effective
Lasts 1 week

Side effects may include increased spotting between periods, breast tenderness, nausea and vomiting.

Pill

Pill

Multiple Brands

A low dose of hormones in a pill, taken every day at the same time. You get a prescription from a provider but take yourself at home. Read more.

The pill does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

91%
effective
Lasts 1 day

Side effects may include increased spotting between periods, breast tenderness, nausea and vomiting.

Diaphragm

Diaphragm

A reusable silicone dome-shaped cup that covers the cervix to keep sperm out. A provider does the initial fitting and gives a prescription for the right size. You put it in yourself at home each time you have sex. It's best to always use spermicide with a diagphragm. Read more.

The diaphragm does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

88%
effective
One time use

Side effect may include vaginal irritation. Nonoxynol-9 (the most common spermicide) may increase the risk of HIV and other STDs.

Condom

Male Condom

Latex, Polyurethane

Condoms are worn on the penis during sex to prevent sperm from entering the vagina. You put on at home and use a new one each time you have sex. You can get condoms for free from your local health center or buy them at a drugs store. Read more.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

82%
effective
One time use

Most people can use condoms without side effects. If you are allergic to latex or polyurethane, ask your provider which brands may be best for you.

Female Condom

Female Condom

Polyurethane

Female condoms are worn in the vagina during sex to prevent sperm from entering the vagina. You put in at home and use a new one each time you have sex. You can get female condoms for free from your local health center or buy them at a drugs store. Read more.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

82%
effective
One time use

Most people can use condoms without side effects. If you are allergic to polyurethane, ask your provider about alternatives.

Withdrawal

Withdrawal

Withdrawal is pulling away so the man doesn't ejaculate inside the woman and keeps sperm out of the vagina. Read more.

Withdrawal does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

78%
effective
One time use

Withdrawal is commonly misused and mistimed, especially among younger and less experienced sexual partners, making it one of the least effective birth control methods.

Sponge

Sponge

Today Sponge

A foam sponge worn in the vagina and always used with spermicide. You put in at home each time you have sex. You can buy the sponge at a drugstore. Read more.

The sponge does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

76%
effective
One time use

Side effect may include vaginal irritation. Nonoxynol-9 (the most common spermicide) may increase the risk of HIV and other STDs.

Fertility Awareness

Fertility Awareness

Natural Family Planning

Methods for tracking your period to determine the days of the month you are most likely to get pregnant. You can find supplies online or get them from a local clinic. Read more.

Fertility Awareness does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

76%
effective
Track daily

Natural family planning is commonly misused and mistimed, especially in younger women with irregular periods, making it one of the least effective birth control methods.

Spermicide

Spermicide

Multiple kinds

A liquid, foam or strip that stops sperm from moving to prevent fertilization. You can buy spermicide at a drug store. Read more.

Spermicide does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

72%
effective
One time use

Side effect may include vaginal irritation. Nonoxynol-9 (the most common spermicide) may increase the risk of HIV and other STDs.

Cervical Cap

Cervical Cap

FemCap

A reuseable silicone cup that covers the cervix to keep sperm out. A provider does the initial fitting and gives a prescription for the right size. You put it in yourself at home each time you have sex. It's best to always use spermicide with a diaphragm. Read more.

The cervical cap does not protect against HIV or STDs. Always use a condom.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

71%
effective
One time use

Side effect may include vaginal irritation. Nonoxynol-9 (the most common spermicide) may increase the risk of HIV and other STDs.

Abstinence

Abstinence

Continuous abstinence prevents pregnancy by keeping sperm away from the vagina. Abstinence is the only birth control method that's completely effective when used correctly. Read more.

Abstinence does protect against HIV and STDs.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

100%
effective
Every time

There are no side effects of abstinence when used continuously. However, if you are thinking about having sex soon, you may want to prepare and consider one of the other birth control methods to prevent pregnancy.

Sterilization

Sterilization

Tubal ligation, vasectomy

A surgery that closes tubes that carry the egg to the uterus (for women) or closes the tubes that carry semen (for men). This surgical operation is done at a hospital or clinic for women and men who are certain they do not want to have any more children. Most providers would encourage teens and young adults to consider one of the other long lasting reversible methods (IUD, implant) before considering sterilization.

Sterilization is not reversible. Like all medical procedures, there are risks. Your provider will discuss specific risks and potential side effects for your procedure. Read more.

Sterilization does protect against HIV and STDs.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.

99%
effective
Permanent

Sterilization is not reversible. Like all medical procedures, there are risks. Your provider will discuss specific risks and potential side effects for your procedure.

These birth control methods are all more than 90% effective. *Based upon typical use effectiveness.

Want to prevent pregnancy for at least one year? These birth control methods are the easiest to use and most effective. They can last up to 10 years but be taken out whenever you want.

Based on your quiz answers, these methods may be right for you.

IUD
Implant
Sterilization
Vaginal ring
The Patch
The Pill
Shot
Diaphragm
Male Condom
Cervical Cap
Sponge
Spermicide
Withdrawal
Abstinence
Emergency Contraception
Fertility Awareness
Female Condom

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Emergency Contraception EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION

Pills taken after unprotected sex to prevent fertilization and pregnancy. To be effective, must be taken as soon as possible but no more than 5 days after unprotected sex. read more

How Birth Control Works HOW BIRTH CONTROL WORKS

It's important to understand your body and how birth control prevents pregnancy from happening. read more