I Forgot to Take Out My NuvaRing

When Do I Need to Replace My NuvaRing?

Take Out NuvaRing
Forgot to Take Out NuvaRing. Sandy Huffaker Collection/Getty Images News

FDA-approved in the United States and marketed in over 35 countries, the NuvaRing is catching attention!

The Nuva What?

The NuvaRing is a clear, bendable contraceptive ring. And, it is only about about 2 inches in diameter. This prescription birth control option is exciting women who want a hassle-free hormonal contraceptive method that is just as effective as the pill -- only with less worries. NuvaRing slowly releases a low dose of estrogen and etonogestrel (a progestin) to protect you against pregnancy for one whole month.

Yes... you read correctly, NuvaRing is a once-monthly hormonal birth control method. Just insert the NuvaRing and then go live your life... it is truly that simple!

I know, this may sound too good to be true. No more needing to remember to take the pill every day. Well, women are singing NuvaRing's praises -- but if you are going to use NuvaRing, you need to remember when it is time to take it out as well pay attention to whether or not it may have accidentally  fallen out.

When Do I Need to Take Out My NuvaRing?

So there really isn't too much to remember when it comes to using the NuvaRing. Each ring is part of a 28-day cycle. You insert the NuvaRing on Day 1 of Week 1. Then, you leave it in place for Week 2 and Week 3. On Day 1 of Week 4, you take out your NuvaRing. This is the week that you'll likely have your withdrawal period. When Week 4 is over, you insert a new NuvaRing (and this begins the start of your next 28-day cycle).

What Do I Do If I Forgot to Take Out My NuvaRing?

Okay, so it's Day 2 (or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6) of Week 4, and you just realized that you forgot to take out your NuvaRing at the beginning of the week. This is okay, and you will still have pregnancy protection for this entire week. 

If you forgot to take out your NuvaRing during Week 4:

  1. Keep your NuvaRing in place for the entire Week 4 (all 28 days).
  2. Take the NuvaRing out on Day 1 of your next 28-day cycle.
  3. Wait one week (7 days) and then insert a new NuvaRing. You can consider this the beginning of your next 28-day cycle -- so the day that you insert the NuvaRing will be now be Day 1 of Week 1.
  4. You will need to use a back-up birth control method (like spermicide or condoms) for the first seven days after you inserted the NuvaRing.

If you forgot to take out your NuvaRing and it's been longer than 4 weeks (28 days):

  1. Remove your NuvaRing immediately.
  2. You need to make sure that you are not pregnant, so you can take a home pregnancy test or schedule a pregnancy test at your doctor's office.
  3. If you are not pregnant, then you can immediately insert a new NuvaRing -- and consider it to be Day 1 of Week 1 (the beginning of your next 28-day cycle).
  4. You must use a back-up birth control method for the next seven 7 days in a row.

So Does Forgetting to Take Out the NuvaRing Make It Less Effective?

Generally speaking, the NuvaRing is 91% to 99.7% effective.

Your NuvaRing is still effective if you forgot to take it out during Week 4. If you leave it in for more than 28 days (and do nothing), then the NuvaRing may no longer be effective. The NuvaRing will not dissolve, so you do need to take it out of your vagina!

In order to be most effective:

  • Keep your NuvaRing stored at room temperature (avoiding direct sunlight).
  • Only store your NuvaRing for up to 4 months after you receive it.
  • Always check the label for the expiration date.
  • Do not insert your NuvaRing if the expiration date has passed -- just throw it away.

Source:

Sarkara NN. "The combined contraceptive vaginal device (NuvaRing): A comprehensive review." The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care. 2005; 10(2):73-78. Accessed via private subscription.

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