Effectiveness Rate of Birth Control Methods

Topic Overview

This table compares how well different birth control methods work. The column on the right shows how many women out of 100 will have an unplanned pregnancy in the first year of using a method. These numbers reflect studies of real-life usage.

You can improve on the real-life failure rate of birth control methods by consistently using birth control methods as directed. But even with perfect use, a method will still fail to prevent a pregnancy in a certain number of women.

Effectiveness of birth control methods

Type

Method used

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 typical users footnote 1, footnote 2

Number of unplanned pregnancies out of 100 people that used the method exactly as directed footnote 1, footnote 2

Hormonal


Combination birth control pills


9


Fewer than 1.


The shot


6


Fewer than 1.


Transdermal patch


9


Fewer than 1.


Progestin-only pills (mini-pills)


9


Fewer than 1.


Vaginal ring


9


Fewer than 1.

IUD


Hormonal IUD


Fewer than 1.


Fewer than 1.


Copper IUD


Fewer than 1.


Fewer than 1.

Barrier methods


Condom, male


18


2


Withdrawal


22


4


Condom, female


21


5


Diaphragm with spermicide


12


6


Spermicide alone


28


18


Sponge with spermicide (no previous vaginal childbirth)


12


9


Sponge with spermicide (after vaginal childbirth)


24


20


Cervical cap (no previous vaginal childbirth)


16


9


Cervical cap (after vaginal delivery)


32


26

Fertility awareness


Periodic abstinence and fertility awareness methods


24


5

Surgery


Vasectomy


Fewer than 1.


Fewer than 1.


Tubal ligation or tubal implants


Fewer than 1.


Fewer than 1.

No birth control


No birth control


85


85

The numbers shown in this table show the typical use rates for the average population. This includes people who use their birth control very carefully and those who do not.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Trussell J, Guthrie KA (2011). Choosing a contraceptive: Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In RA Hatcher et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 20th ed., pp. 45–74. Atlanta: Ardent Media.
  2. Abramowicz M (2010). Choice of contraceptives. Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 8(100): 89–96.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC, FACOG - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology

Current as ofNovember 21, 2017

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