Compare Birth Control Effectiveness

Birth Control Comparison

Birth Control Effectiveness
Birth Control Effectiveness. Photo © 2015 Dawn Stacey

Birth control is a way for women and men to prevent getting pregnant and plan the timing of pregnancy. There are many different birth control methods, including hormonal contraception and OTC methods. Birth control effectiveness is an important and common concern in your decision to choose a birth control method.

People have been using birth control for thousands of years. Today, we have many safe and effective birth control methods to choose between.

Birth control effectiveness depends on different factors. As with any contraceptive, your chosen birth control method will be more effective if you use it consistently and correctly. This means that if you want high levels of birth control effectiveness, you can’t allow yourself to become careless with your contraception –- you must always use it and make sure that you are using it the right way!

When you are comparing birth control effectiveness, it is helpful that you understand what failure rates mean. This is where birth control comparison can become a little confusing. The birth control effectiveness rate is the opposite of its failure rate. So, let’s say that you are comparing the effectiveness of the birth control pill and the effectiveness of Depo Provera. You read that that the pill has an 8% failure rate and Depo Provera has a 6% failure rate. What does this tell you?

Well, failure rates refer to the number of pregnancies that take place when 100 women use that birth control method for one year.

So in our birth control comparison, about 8 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they don't always use the pill correctly and about 6 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they don't always use Depo Provera as directed. Another way to look at this birth control comparison is that the pill is 92% effective at preventing pregnancy and Depo Provera is 94% effective.

So the birth control effectiveness rate is the number you get when you subtract its failure rate from 100.

Birth Control Comparison (based on typical use)

Birth control methods can be grouped into different categories and some methods are more effective than others:

  • Natural Methods (not including abstinence): birth control effectiveness for these methods range between 77%-95%.
  • OTC Methods: birth control effectiveness for these methods range between 72%-88%.
  • Prescription Methods: birth control effectiveness for these methods range between 86%-99.9%.
  • Hormonal Methods: birth control effectiveness for these methods range between 92%-99.9%.
  • Permanent Methods: birth control effectiveness for these methods range between 99.5%-99.9%.

Factors that Can Lower/Increase Birth Control Effectiveness:

Except for abstinence (which is 100% effective), no birth control method is foolproof. So when it comes to comparing birth control effectiveness, remember that YOU become a big part in the equation. Believe it or not, there are certain steps that you can take that can lower or increase your birth control effectiveness:

Make your contraception work for you! Birth control comparison is the first step in researching how effective each method is. Knowing about some of the mistakes people make while using contraception can give you the power to maximize your birth control effectiveness.

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