The following table compares the effectiveness of different
birth control methods. The column on the right shows the number of women out of
100 who will have an unplanned pregnancy in the first year of using a method.
These numbers represent 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 if used perfectly each
time, 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, including people who use their birth control
very carefully and those who do not.
Trussell J (2007). Choosing a contraceptive:
Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In RA Hatcher et al., eds.,
Contraceptive Technology, 19th ed., pp. 19–47. New
York: Ardent Media.
Abramowicz M (2010). Choice of contraceptives. Treatment Guidelines From the Medical Letter, 8(100): 89–96.
May 3, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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