There are also actions that you can either start doing or stop yourself from doing that can actually have an affect on your birth control method:
Typical Use versus Perfect Use:
To understand how to determine the effectiveness of contraception, it is important to know that effectiveness rates often provided as typical user rates and perfect use rates.
- Typical use refers to failure rates for people who do not consistently or always correctly use their birth control. These rates usually apply to the average person as it is sometimes difficult to always and reliably use birth control correctly
- Perfect use refers to failure rates for those whose use is consistent and always correct
100 Percent Effectiveness:
Abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method in preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. All other birth control options carry some risk of failure.
Highly Effective Methods:
- These all have typical user rates of 97 to 99 percent
- This means that out of 100 people who use these methods for a year, 3 or less will become pregnant
Methods with High Effectiveness Rates:
- This means that out of 100 women who use one of these methods for a year, 8 will become pregnant
Continuous breastfeeding (Lactational Amenorrhea Method – LAM) is another birth control method that yields a high typical use effectiveness rate.
- This method tends to be 95 percent effective
- For every 100 women who use LAM, 5 will become pregnant within the first 6 months
Moderately Effective Methods:
Natural family planning methods (combined) tend to provide moderate typical user success rates, from 78 to 88 percent.
- Out of every 100 people who use one of the natural family planning methods (with the exception of withdrawal), 12 to 22 will become pregnant within the first year of use
Barrier methods, which include the male condom, female condom, diaphragm, spermicide, the cervical cap, and the sponge (for those who have not given birth) also yield fair typical user success rates between 71 to 85 percent.
- Of every 100 people who use one of these barrier methods for a year, 15 to 29 will have an unintended pregnancy
No Method - A Comparison:
To have a reference point to compare these levels to, it may be helpful to know that statistics indicate that women who are sexually active for one year and do not use a contraceptive method have an 85 percent chance of becoming pregnant in that year.
- This means that out of 100 women who fit this profile, approximately 85 will become pregnant.
A woman is also more likely to become pregnant is she has unprotected sex during her most fertile days of her cycle.
A Final Thought:
It is important for you to evaluate the effectiveness of contraception and carefully consider which level of reliability you feel most comfortable with. Additionally, keep in mind that certain factors may greatly affect the effectiveness of contraception:
- Obesity and Contraception Effectiveness
- Effective Birth Control Methods for Overweight Women
- Medications that Lower Hormonal Contraception Effectiveness
- Weight and Birth Control Pill Effectiveness
For more detailed information on the effectiveness of each method: