Some Methods Work Better Than Others Some birth control methods work better than others. The chart on the following page compares how well different birth control methods work. The most effective way to prevent pregnancy is abstinence . However, within the first year of committing to abstinence, many couples become pregnant because they have sex anyway but don't use protection. So it's a good idea even for people who don't plan to have sex to be informed about birth control. Couples who do have sex need to use birth control properly and every time to prevent pregnancy. For example, the birth control pill can be effective in preventing pregnancy. But if a girl forgets to take her pills, this isn't an effective method for her. Condoms can be an effective form of birth control, too. But if a guy forgets to use a condom or doesn't use it correctly, it's not an effective way for him to prevent pregnancy. For every 100 couples using each type of birth control, the chart shows how many of these couples will get pregnant within a year. The information shown is for all couples, not just teenage couples. Some birth control methods may be less effective for teen users. For example, teenage girls who use fertility awareness (also called the rhythm method) may have an even greater chance of getting pregnant than adult women because their bodies have not yet settled into a regular menstrual cycle. We list the effectiveness of different birth control methods based on their typical use rates. Typical use refers to how the average person uses that method of birth control (compared with "perfect" use, which means no mistakes are made in using that method). A birth control method that is rated: completely effective means that no couples will become pregnant while using that method very effective means that between 1 and 2 out of 100 couples become pregnant while using that method effective means that 2 to 12 out of 100 couples become pregnant while using that method moderately effective means that 13 to 20 out of 100 couples become pregnant while using that method less effective means that 21 to 40 out of 100 couples become pregnant while using that method not effective means that more than 40 out of 100 couples become pregnant while using that method In addition to preventing pregnancy, abstinence and condoms provide some protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). However, most other birth control methods do not provide much protection against STDs, so condoms should also be used. Birth Control Methods: Comparison Chart Method of Birth Control How Many Couples Using This Method Will Get Pregnant in a Year? How Well Does This Method Work in Preventing Pregnancy? Can This Method Also Protect Against STDs? Abstinence None Completely effective Yes Birth Control Implant Fewer than 1 out of 100 Very effective No IUD Fewer than 1 out of 100 Very effective No Birth Control Patch ("The Patch") 9 out of 100 Effective No Birth Control Pill ("The Pill") 9 out of 100 Effective No Birth Control Ring ("The Ring") 9 out of 100 Effective No Birth Control Shot 6 out of 100 Effective No Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill) up to 11 out of 100 (if taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex) Effective No Male Condom 18 out of 100 Moderately effective Yes Diaphragm 12 out of 100 Moderately effective No Female Condom 21 out of 100 Less effective Yes Fertility Awareness 24 out of 100 Less effective No Spermicide 29 out of 100 Less effective No Withdrawal ("Pulling Out") 27 out of 100 Less effective No Sex Without Birth Control 85 out of 100 Not effective No Choosing a birth control method based on how well it works is important, but there are other things to keep in mind when choosing a form of birth control. These include: how easy the birth control method is to use how much it costs whether a person has a health condition or takes medicine that will affect how well a particular birth control method works Back to Articles Related Articles About Birth Control Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to get the basics on birth control. Read More STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) You've probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself. Read More Talking to Your Partner About Condoms Some people - even those who are having sex - are embarrassed by the topic of condoms. Here are some tips for talking about condoms with your partner. Read More Gyn Checkups Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit -- and why most girls don't get internal exams. Read More Virginity: A Very Personal Decision Deciding whether it's right for you to have sex is one of the most important decisions you'll ever have to make. Each person must use his or her own judgment and decide if it's the right time - and the right person. Read More Can a Girl Get Pregnant if She Has Sex During Her Period? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More Female Reproductive System Why do girls get periods? What goes on when a woman gets pregnant? What can go wrong with the female reproductive system? Find the answers to these questions and more in this article for teens. Read More Male Reproductive System What makes up a guy's reproductive system and how does it develop? Find the answers to these questions and more. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. 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