University Health Service

Check out these contraception methods to learn about how use them, as well as advantages and downsides of use.

You may want to consider How to Choose a Contraceptive Method, and see also Cost, Insurance and Payment

Methods are displayed by effectiveness, with most effective methods appearing first. Percentages indicate the number out of every 100 women who experienced an unintended preganacy within the first year of typical use of each contraceptive method.


MOST EFFECTIVE  (<1 pregnancy per 100 users per year with typical use)

Implant  (<1 pregnancy per 100 users per year) -- long-acting, reversable

IUD  (<1% pregnancy per 100 users per year) -- long-acting, reversable

Sterilization (<1 pregnancy per 100 users per year) -- long-acting, permanent


MODERATELY EFFECTIVE  (6-40 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use)

Hormonal methods (6-9 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use):

Shot (6 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use)

Pill (9 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use)

Patch (9 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use)

Ring  (9 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use)

Barrier methods (18-40 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use):

Male condom (18 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use) -- protects against sexually transmitted infections

Female condom (21 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use) -- protects against sexually transmitted infections​

Other barrier methods: Diaphragm, cervical cap, sponge with spermicide (6-40 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use)


LEAST EFFECTIVE (22-28 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use)

Withdrawal (22 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use)

Fertility awareness (12-24 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use)

Spermicide alone (28 pregnancies per 100 users per year with typical use)