Birth Control Comparison Chart
Emergency Contraception The Pill The Patch Vaginal Ring The Shot: Depo Provera Implanon
Morning After Pill Oral Contraceptive or DMPA Implant
How often: Daily How often: Weekly How often: Monthly How often: Every 3 Months How often: Lasts 3 years
Effectiveness: 92% - 99.7% Effectiveness: 92% - 99.7% Effectiveness: 92% - 99.7% Effectiveness: 97% - 99.7% Effectiveness: 99.6%
What is it? Emergency What is it? Pills contain synthetic What is it? A bandage-like What is it? The Ring is a thin, What is it? The Shot is an What is it? A soft flexible
Contraception Pills prevent hormones similar to estrogen and patch a about 1 inch square clear, flexible 2 inch circle injection of progestin, a rod about 1½ inches long
pregnancy after sex. Also called progesterone produced by the that sticks to skin. Synthetic placed inside the vagina that synthetic version of body’s that slowly releases
Morning After Pill. Brand body. “Mini” pills contain hormones similar to estrogen slowly releases synthetic natural progesterone. Lasts for synthetic hormones
name is Plan B. Contains a progestin only. Many types and progesterone produced by hormones similar to estrogen 12 weeks (3 months). similar to progesterone. It
short burst of a high dose of the available - work with the clinic to the body are absorbed through and progesterone. is inserted by a clinician
hormones in birth control find best formula for you. the skin. How it works: Prevents under the skin in a
pills.” How it works: Prevents ovaries from releasing an egg woman’s upper inner arm.
How to use: Swallow one Pill How it works: Prevents ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation), affects the lining of
How it works: Decreases daily, at about the same time each ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation), affects the lining of uterus, and thickens cervical How it works: Prevents
chance of ovulation, affects the day. (ovulation), affects the lining of uterus, thickens cervical mucus mucus which stops sperm from ovaries from releasing an
lining of uterus, thickens uterus, thickens cervical mucus which stops sperm from entering the uterus. egg (ovulation), affects the
cervical mucus to stop sperm How it works: Prevents ovaries which stops sperm from entering the uterus, prevents lining of uterus, and
from entering the uterus, from releasing an egg (ovulation), entering the uterus, prevents fertilization. How to use: Requires 4 trips to thickens cervical mucus
prevents fertilization. affects the lining of uterus, thickens fertilization. clinic each year. which stops sperm from
cervical mucus which stops sperm How to use: A woman inserts entering the uterus.
How to use: Swallow pills as from entering the uterus, prevents How to use: Apply one Patch the Ring into her vagina and Health Impacts: For most
soon as possible. May be fertilization. per week for three weeks. No leaves it for three weeks. On women, their period is different Health Impacts: The most
effective through 5 days after Patch on the fourth week. Then the fourth week she removes it than before. Usually causes common side effect is
unprotected sex. Health Impacts: May cause start the cycle over again. and has a period, or she can periods to stop altogether, but irregular bleeding; many
nausea, breast tenderness, weight leave it in to avoid having a some women have irregular have constant light
Health Impacts: Your next gain or loss, water retention, Health Impacts: May cause period. Then on the fifth week bleeding. Usually causes spotting. You should not
menstrual period should begin increased blood pressure, mood nausea, breast tenderness, she inserts a new ring. weight gain. May cause loss of be pregnant when it is
on time. If not, you should get changes, headaches. Usually weight gain or loss, water sex drive, acne, hair loss, mood inserted, therefore it is
a pregnancy test. Usually safe decreases menstrual cramps and retention, increased blood Health Impacts: May cause swings, depression, usually inserted within the
for women who do not amount of bleeding. Decreases pressure, mood changes, vaginal irritation, nausea, nervousness, headaches. May first five days of a
regularly use The Pill due to chance of ovarian cancer. May headaches, skin irritation near breast tenderness, weight gain increase chance of breast woman’s menstrual cycle.
health risks. increase chance of breast cancer. the Patch. May increase chance or loss, water retention, cancer. May decrease risk of It is possible to get an
Not recommended for smokers of breast cancer. Less is known increased blood pressure, mood cancer of ovary or uterus. May infection at the site where
Most effective when used as over 35 or women with past heart about risks with The Patch as it changes, headaches. May take long time to get pregnant the implant is inserted or
soon as possible after attack or stroke, chest pain, blood is one of the newest hormonal increase chance of breast after last shot. May cause loss removed. Removal may be
unprotected intercourse. Get clots, some cancers, liver disease, methods. There seems to be a cancer. of bone density and risk of difficult and require
Plan B to keep on hand; ask or high blood pressure. higher risk of heart attack and osteoporosis. Not surgery if rod breaks or
your health care provider to stroke than with other Not recommended for smokers recommended for more than 2 becomes embedded too
give you the pills or Note: A woman’s “period” can hormonal methods. over 35 or women with past years or for very young deeply.
prescription ahead of time. occur monthly, every 3 months, or heart attack or stroke, chest women.
not at all, depending on how often Not recommended for smokers pain, blood clots, some Note: Implanon lasts three
Note: Not designed to be used she takes the hormone pills. over 35 or women with past cancers, liver disease, or high Note: It is not reversible. Once years, but can be taken out
frequently or regularly. Does heart attack or stroke, chest blood pressure. a woman gets the shot, the at any time. When it is
not affect an existing Taking antibiotics or barbiturates pain, blood clots, some hormone is in her system for at inserted, you will get a
pregnancy. may make The Pill less effective. cancers, liver disease, or high Note: One size fits all. Neither least three months. Smokers card to remind you of the
Some types of Pills can be used as blood pressure. the partner usually feels the can use Depo Provera. removal date after which it
Access: If under 18, you must Emergency Contraception. Ring. Taking antibiotics or is not reliable for birth
have a prescription. If over 18, Smokers or women with high Note: Less effective for women barbiturates may make The Access: Clinic visit required. control. Smokers can use
you can get Plan B at a blood pressure can use the Mini- over 198 pounds. Taking Ring less effective. Implanon.
pharmacy counter with ID to Pill. antibiotics or barbiturates may
prove your age. make The Patch less effective. Access: Prescription required. Access: Clinic visit
Access: Prescription required. required.
Access: Prescription required.
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Birth Control Comparison Chart
Cervical Cover Diaphragm Spermicidal Foam, Sponge Female Condom Male Condom
Cream, Gel, Suppository,
(with jelly or cream) Film
Effectiveness: 68% - 91% Effectiveness: 86% - 94% Effectiveness: 71% - 82% Effectiveness: 80 - 91% Effectiveness: 79% - 95% Effectiveness: 85% - 98%
What is it? This is a cup or cap What is it? A soft flexible rubber What is it? Spermicides are What is it? A small soft round What is it? A soft, loose What is it? A thin latex cover
shaped device, 1 to 2 inches tall dome or cup about 2½ inches chemicals, usually Nonoxynol-9, bowl-shaped piece of synthetic polyurethane pouch that fits that fits over the hard penis. Also
that covers a woman’s cervix. across that a woman fills with that kill sperm. Can be made sponge with loop attached. inside vagina. Flexible rings at known as ‘rubber’ or ‘glove.’
Brand names are Lea’s Shield spermicide and inserts into much more effective by using in Contains spermicide. each end of pouch hold it in Styles include lubricated or non-
and FemCap. Made of medical- vagina over the cervix. It is held combination with condom, place. Prelubricated. lubricated, ribbed or non-ribbed,
grade silicone in place by vaginal muscles. cervical cap, or diaphragm. How it works: The Sponge is bright colors or clear, flavored.
both a chemical and physical How to use: Insert smaller inner
How it works: Creates a barrier How it works: Creates a How to use: Follow instructions barrier. It blocks sperm, absorbs ring deep inside vagina. Larger How it works: Traps sperm
that blocks sperm from passing physical and chemical barrier. on container. Insert foam, gel, and kills sperm. ring stays outside over vulva. inside condom so it cannot enter
into the uterus and prevents Stops sperm and prevents cream, suppository or vaginal Can be inserted 8 hours before woman's body. Put on before any
fertilization. Works best with fertilization. contraceptive film (VCF) into How to use: Moisten with water sex. Can be used by people with genital contact.
spermicide added. vagina over cervix. Insert at least then insert along the back wall of latex allergy. Can be used with
How to use: Put 1-2 teaspoons of 15 minutes and up to two hours the vagina with the dimple side any lubricant. Extra lubricant How to use: Place condom on
How to use: Before sex, a spermicidal gel or cream into before intercourse. Repeat for toward the cervix. It can be recommended. tip of erect (hard) penis, unroll to
woman places a small amount of center of Diaphragm. Insert over each act of intercourse. Add inserted up to 12 hours before sex the base leaving an empty space
spermicide gel or cream into the cervix. Leave in place for 6-8 more if one hour has passed and can be used for multiple acts How it works: Creates a natural at tip to collect the semen. Hold
cap, then inserts the device into hours after sex. Add more before sex. Do not douche for at of sex. It must be left in place for feeling barrier. Pouch catches rim so it does not slip off,
her vagina over her cervix. Must spermicide to vagina for each act least 8 hours. Avoid not having 6 to 8 hours after intercourse. semen and sperm, preventing it especially at withdrawal. Do not
leave it in place for 8 hours after of intercourse. Can be put in up enough in the container by Pull the loop to remove the from entering woman's body. reuse.
intercourse. Only need to apply to 2 hours before sex. buying extra. Sponge. Blocks sperm, STIs and HIV.
spermicide once, even if Health Impacts: Latex or
intercourse is repeated. Can be Health Impacts: Can be messy, Health Impacts: Can be messy, Health Impacts: May cause Health Impacts: Female polyurethane types block STIs
put in up to 48 hours before sex. can interrupt sex play. Some may interrupt sex play. Tastes irritation of the vagina if a condoms are the only female and HIV. Very effective at
women have allergy to bad. Possible allergic reaction or woman is allergic to the controlled protection against preventing pregnancy when used
Health Impacts: Insertion and spermicide or latex. Spermicide vaginal irritation. Foaming types spermicide. Research indicates HIV. With practice it can be easy with spermicides. May decrease
removal become easier with tastes bad. May increase chance may irritate more than film or that spermicide increases the risk to use. Outer ring may cause sensation for male. Interruption
practice. Some women have of bladder infections. Get a new cream. Research indicates that of HIV in sex workers when used soreness or pleasure for one or may cause loss of erection.
allergy to spermicide. Giving size if you gain or lose more than spermicide increases the risk of frequently. both partners. Males usually Possible allergy to latex.
birth affects the fit so go to your 15 pounds. HIV in sex workers who use it report no reduction in sensation Lambskin or ‘natural’ membrane
clinic for a new one after you many times a day. When used Note: Less effective (40-80%) for as compared to male condom. condoms do not protect against
give birth. Less reliable if you Note: Not recommended if you frequently, it may irritate the women who have previously HIV/STIs.
previously gave birth. have had toxic shock syndrome. vagina making it easier to catch given birth. Note: Bulky. Makes noise during
Various styles available, clinic HIV/STI. movement. May be awkward in Note: Use with personal
Note: Not recommended if you will help find a good fit for you. Access: Easy to buy at drug beginning but gets easier over lubricants to increase pleasure
have had toxic shock syndrome. More effective with good Note: Lubrication may increase stores. time. New styles are being and make condoms less likely to
More effective with good education and help to practice pleasure. VCF is particularly designed and may become break. To maintain arousal and
education and help to practice putting diaphragm over cervix. discreet. available soon. encourage continued use, be
putting device over cervix. creative and playful.
Access: Clinic visit required to Access: Easy to buy at drug Access: Available at drug stores.
Access: Clinic visit required. get the right size. stores. Access: Condoms are cheap and
Femcap size is based upon easy to buy. Often available for
whether or not you have given free.
birth. Leah’s Shield is one size
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Birth Control Comparison Chart
KNOWLEDGE-BASED METHODS LONG TERM OR PERMANENT
Sex without risk Fertility Awareness Withdrawal IUD: Mirena IUD: Paragard T Sterilization
Pulling Out Intra Uterine Device Intra Uterine Device
Effectiveness: 80% - 98% Effectiveness: 73% - 96% Lasts 5 years Lasts 10 years Once, permanent
Sex and sexuality are natural, What is it? Fertility What is it? The man pulls his Effectiveness: 99.9% Effectiveness: 99.2% - 99.4% Effectiveness: 99.9%
pleasurable parts of life. Your Awareness is learning the penis out of the vagina before
sexuality lasts your whole life changes an individual climax and ejaculation (before What is it? A small (1 to 1½ What is it? A small (1 to 1½ How it works: Prevents egg
time and is unique to you. woman’s body goes through coming). Also called ‘coitus inch) plastic device with a inch) plastic device with a and sperm from meeting.
You are a sexual person during her menstrual cycle to interruptus.’ Depends on string attached, shaped like a T. string attached, shaped like a T
whether or not you are having determine her fertile time (the male’s self knowledge and self Releases synthetic progestin with a tiny copper wire What is it? For Females, it is an
sex. days she is most likely to get control. hormone. Inserted through the wrapped around the stem. out-patient procedure to block,
pregnant) and then not having cervix into the uterus at a Inserted through the cervix into close or cut fallopian tubes to
Women and men can find sex or using a barrier method How to use: Male should clinic. the uterus at a clinic. prevent eggs from traveling
intimacy, emotional and during the fertile time. urinate and wipe the tip of through, thus no eggs are
intellectual closeness, pleasure penis before intercourse. Then How it works: IUD causes How it works: IUD causes available for fertilization. Two
and even orgasms from a How to use: Involves calendar he must pull completely out changes in the cervical mucous, changes in the cervical mucous, types are available for women:
range of activities that do not charting plus daily monitoring before coming. Effectiveness: fallopian tubes and the lining of fallopian tubes and the lining of surgical tubal ligation or non-
lead to pregnancy. of cervical fluid, position of increases when couples work the uterus to slow or stop the uterus to slow or stop surgical blockage of the tubes
the cervix using a speculum together. Even sperm outside movement of sperm and egg to movement of sperm and egg to with Essure.
Not having intercourse opens and mirror, and taking basal the vagina on the vulva can prevent pregnancy. prevent pregnancy.
the door for a better body temperature. This travel inside and cause For Males, a vasectomy is an
understanding of your own combined information is used pregnancy. Health Impacts: May cause Health Impacts: May cause out-patient procedure to close
and your partner’s bodies and to determine beginning and irregular bleeding or periods more painful, heavier periods. or cut the vas deferens or tubes
responses which could result end of fertile time. Cycle How it works: Keeps sperm may stop. Each month check Should not be used by women inside scrotum to prevent
in better communication and Beads can help keep track. out of a woman’s vagina. by using finger to feel for IUD’s who are allergic to copper. sperm from being released from
more satisfaction. More effective when the male Contrary to public perception, string at cervix. The risk of Each month check by using the man’s body. The man's
partner is involved in planning pre-ejaculate usually does not uterine infection goes up if you finger to feel for IUD’s string at body continues to make semen,
Examples include: use of sex and use. contain sperm. or your partner has lots of other cervix. The risk of uterine but it does not contain sperm.
toys, oral or anal sex, manual partners. infection goes up if you or your Not effective until after about
stimulation, masturbation, Health Impacts: No health Health Impacts: Drugs, partner has lots of other 20 ejaculations after surgery.
same sex sex, telephone or risks or side effects. Increases alcohol, young age or lack of Note: Lasts 5 years. Removal partners. See doctor for a sperm test
talking sex, fantasizing, play- knowledge and awareness of sexual experience can reduce by a clinician is fast and easy. before relying on this method.
acting, reading or writing your woman’s body. Can increase ability to use withdrawal Note: Lasts 10 or more years.
own erotic literature. communication between effectively. Can be difficult for Access: Clinic visit required. Removal by a clinician is fast Health Impacts: Excellent if
partners. Does not protect teens to use. Less effective for and easy. Cost effective over you don't want to reproduce or
Waiting to have sex, taking a against HIV/STIs. men who have multiple time. are finished having children.
break from sex, or saying no to orgasms. Can increase Permanent. Does not protect
sex are also ways you can Note: Fertility Awareness communication between Access: Clinic visit required. against HIV/STIs.
assert your personal power to takes time, effort and partners.
prevent pregnancy. dedication every day. Note: Young people with no
Effectiveness: depends on Note: Withdrawal is one of children may have difficulty
How to use: To prevent consistent monitoring plus the few options for males. It is finding a doctor to perform
pregnancy, don’t have penis- commitment to use barrier much more effective than not sterilization. Not considered
in-vagina intercourse. If during fertile time. using any method of birth reversible. Possible regret later
release of sperm occurs, keep it control. A man who is willing in life.
far away from vagina. Access: Requires to use self restraint shows his
thermometer, calendar, charts, respect for the woman’s desire Access: Doctor required.
Health Impacts: Contact with cycle beads, speculum, mirror, to not get pregnant. Reduces,
bodily fluids carries the risk of flashlight, etc. but does not eliminate risk of
STIs and HIV/AIDS. transfer of HIV from male to
Access: Free and available
anytime. Access: Free and available
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Birth Control Comparison Chart
HORMONAL: Add hormones to a woman’s body to alter her Use this chart to compare methods and find
menstrual cycle and reproductive organs.* contraceptive choices to fit you.
BARRIER: Place a short-term physical or chemical wall between Women and their partners use birth control to prevent pregnancy
egg and sperm.** when they are not yet ready to start a family, and to determine the
number and spacing of their children. They also use birth control
when they are finished having babies. They may choose different
KNOWLEDGE-BASED: Use knowledge, awareness and information methods for different stages in life. The various methods affect
to guide decisions about sexual activity. individual women differently. No one method is best for everyone.
LONGTERM OR PERMANENT: Physically alter reproductive Choosing contraception (birth control) is an important decision.
organs. This poster may help answer your questions, such as:
How do I use it? How does it work?
* Many people wonder if hormones are safe? The effects of How effective is it? Will I use it every time?
hormones are both short term and long term. Women should know How will it affect my partner? Are there side-effects?
there is a short term very rare but serious risk of heart attack or What will I do if it doesn’t work? Where do I get it?
stroke, and possible long term benefit of reduced risk of ovarian
cancer in old age. Getting Birth Control
** The only way to block HIV is a condom. Teens and low-income women and men can usually get low-cost
birth control through community clinics or public health centers.
Many health insurance plans cover birth control. IF you live in
About Cedar River Clinics (800-572-4223) Washington State, apply for a year of free birth control paid by the
We have a vision of a world where all women freely make their Take Charge program. Call 800-770-4334. If a pharmacy refuses
own decisions regarding their bodies, reproduction and to give you birth control, please let us know.
sexuality—a world where women can fulfill their own unique
potential and live healthy, whole lives. Effectiveness
We provide first and second trimester abortion, medication Effectiveness: is the rate of success at preventing pregnancy per
abortion, STI testing and treatment, pregnancy testing, well 1000 women over one year’s time. If a method is listed as 99.5%
woman exam, pap test. Free birth control under Take Charge. effective then 995 out of 1000 women will not get pregnant in one
Located in Tacoma, Renton, and Yakima, Washington State, USA. year on average (and 5 out of 1000 will get pregnant). When two
rates are listed, the lower rate is “typical” use. The higher rate is
Published in March 2008 by Feminist Women’s Health Center “perfect” use when the method is used correctly and consistently.
which operates Cedar River Clinics. The rates were published in the 2004 book Contraceptive
Technology. For comparison, 850 out of 1000 women will get
For colorful paper copies contact info@CedarRiverClinics.org, pregnant in one year with no birth control.
800-572-4223, or 106 East E Street, Yakima, WA 98901.
Simultaneous use of two methods reduces chance of pregnancy.
Find detailed factsheets about each method at: Some good combinations are a male condom and a cervical cap,
www.Birth-Control-Comparison.info spermicide and a male condom, or withdrawal and spermicide.
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Birth Control Comparison Chart
Emergency Contraception Plan B = Morning After Pill Breast Feeding
You can prevent pregnancy after sex by taking Plan B Emergency Breast feeding is 98-99% effective for birth control, but only when
Contraception. Use Plan B if you were not planning to have sex, or all three of the following things are true: when a woman breast
if you were coerced or attacked. Call 1-888-NOT-2-LATE or go to feeds exclusively (no formula or baby food) with feedings no more
www.NOT-2-LATE.com to find a location near you. Plan B does not than 4-6 hours apart, when it is less than 6 months since she gave
cause abortion; it is a completely different medication than the birth, and when her periods have not returned after giving birth.
Abortion Pill. The sooner you take Plan B after intercourse, the Furthermore, beast feeding women may want to avoid using
more effective it is. hormonal birth control because small amounts of the hormones are
passed to the baby in the milk, and some types of hormonal birth
HIV/AIDS and STI control decrease milk production.
Despite many choices for birth control, there is only ONE way to
prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted Abortion
infections (STI). Partners must use a female or male condom, If contraception doesn’t work or isn’t used and pregnancy results,
dental dam or plastic wrap to prevent blood, semen or vaginal you have three options: abortion, parenting, or adoption. Abortion
secretions from passing from one partner to another during does not stop a woman from getting pregnant in the future.
vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Pap Tests Using birth control is a personal decision. Government, parents,
Regular Pap Tests are the best way to detect early abnormal friends and partners should support your decisions. If someone
cervical cells that may lead to cancer. A common sexually attempts to stop you, force you, or undermine your decisions about
transmitted infection called HPV (Human PapillomaVirus) can cause birth control, it may be a sign they want to control other aspects of
cervical cancer. To protect against forms of HPV, the HPV Vaccine your life. You have a fundamental human right to make your own
is an option for girls ages 9 to 26. decisions about your body, sexuality and reproduction. The
purpose of birth control is to allow a woman to enjoy a full range of
Relationships sexual expression without fear of getting pregnant. Every woman
Open and honest conversation with partners, parents, and friends has a human right to her sexuality.
can help in choosing a method and in making it more effective.
People who use birth control can learn a lot from each other.
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