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Obesity and Contraception Effectiveness

The Link Between Weight and Birth Control Failure


Updated May 17, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Obesity and Contraception Effectiveness

Obesity and Contraception Effectiveness

Photo © 2011 Dawn Stacey

So when it comes to weight and birth control effectiveness, it is always important to compare the risks of unintended pregnancy against the advantages and disadvantages associated with a particular contraceptive method. In general, methods where contraceptive failure is more likely to occur in obese women than in women of normal weight include: oral contraceptives, the contraceptive patch, and Implanon/Nexplanon.

For obese women, IUDs and surgical sterilization may be more effective contraceptive methods. However, because of the increased body mass, these procedures may be harder to complete.

Other methods not affected by weight are hysteroscopic sterilization (Essure or Adiana) and barrier methods such as condoms, female condoms, the sponge, diaphragms and cervical caps.

Want to learn more? See UpToDate's topic, "Contraception counseling for obese women," for additional in-depth medical information on counseling obese women about their contraceptive options and exploring how weight can contribute to contraceptive failure.


Edelman, Alison and Kaneshiro, Bliss. "Contraception counseling for obese women." UptoDate. Accessed: May 2011

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