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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.
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
Combination birth control pills
Fewer than 1.
Progestin-only pills (mini-pills)
Diaphragm with spermicide
Sponge with spermicide (no previous vaginal
Sponge with spermicide (after vaginal
Cervical cap (no previous vaginal
Cervical cap (after vaginal
Periodic abstinence and fertility awareness
Tubal ligation or tubal implants
No birth control
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.
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.
Abramowicz M (2010). Choice of contraceptives. Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 8(100): 89–96.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerFemi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofSeptember 30, 2014
Current as of:
September 30, 2014
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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