Unplanned Pregnancies per Year, per 100 people
 Side Effects/Risks
Does it protect against STIs?

Male Condom

Sheath or pouch placed over the erect penis during oral, anal or vaginal intercourse. Made of latex, polyurethane, polyisoprine or animal skin. They collect semen so it is not released into their partner's body. Sperm do not come in contact with an egg. Also work to protect against STI's by providing a barrier.

Typical Use: 15

Perfect Use: 2

Irritation and allergic reactions to latex. Yes

Over-the-counter.  Free Condoms here.

Female or Insertable Condom Lubricated long pouch or sheath with an inner ring and outer ring worn in the vagina. Can be put in up to 8 hours before sex. Works by preventing contact between sperm and egg. 

Typical Use:15

Perfect Use: 5

Irritation and allergic reactions to latex. Some, but less effective than male condom


Oral Contraceptive Pill (birth control, the pill) Pill taken every day, whether or not you have sex, that stops release of the egg using hormones. 

Typical Use: 8

Perfect Use: less than 1

Changes in periods, dizziness, rare blood clots, should not be used by smokers. Risks are  higher when users forget to take their pills every day and/or if users do not start a new pack after 7 days of reminder pills.   No Prescription from doctor or nurse
Patch (Ortho-Evra) Sticky medicated patch placed on skin which stops release of the egg using hormones. Must be changed every 4 weeks: worn for 3 weeks, then removed for 1 week during period.

 Typical Use: 8

Perfect Use: less than 1

Changes in periods, dizziness, rare blood clots, should not be used by smokers. Risks include the patch falling off; user forget to take off the old patch and replace it with a new one.   No Prescription from doctor or nurse
Ring (Nuva-Ring) Soft, flexible ring inserted in vagina which stops release of the egg using hormones. Must be changed every 4 weeks: left in for 3 weeks, then removed for 1 week during period. Muscles of the vagina hold the ring in place and it is unlikely to fall out. 

 Typical Use: 8

Perfect Use:less than 1

Changes in periods, dizziness, rare blood clots, should not be used by smokers. User must feel comfortable inserting a finger into their vagina to put the ring in and take it out. User may forget to replace the ring after having it in place for 4 weeks. Ring may come out during sex.   No Prescription from doctor or nurse
The Shot/ Injection (DMPA Depo-Provera) Injection every 3 months that stops egg release (ovulation) using hormones. Users may stop getting their period after one year of receiving the shot. 

Typical Use: 3

Perfect Use: less than 1

Blood spotting, weight gain, headaches. Risk if user doesn't return to the clinic to get their next shot, or fails to return in time.   No Prescription from doctor or nurse
Emergency Contraception Pills taken within 3-5 days of unprotected sex (most effective when taken within 72 hours).  Stop release or fertilization of egg using hormones.  Will not work if you are already pregnant.  Reduces risk of pregnancy by 65%-89% depending on the brand and how soon it is taken after unprotected sex Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache  No Prescription from doctor or nurse
IUD/IUC (Intrauterine Device/Conception) T-shaped device inserted in the uterus by doctor and left in for 1-10 years, which prevents implantation by acting as spermicide. Does not contain hormones. Can be used by those who cannot take birth control that contain hormones.   Typilcal and Perfect Use: less than 1 Cramps, bleeding, infertility, can not use if history of STIs or are having sex with more than one person. Rarely, the uterus may be damaged during insertion; if the IUC comes out and it is not noticed, there is a risk for pregnancy.   No Prescription from doctor or nurse
Periodic Abstinence (Natural Family Planning, Fertility Awarenss) Tracking your mentrual cycle to determine days you can get pregnant.  No sex around time of ovulation.  Typical Use: 25 Increased risk of pregnancy due to uncertain time of ovulation, STIs  No Free
100% Abstinence No sexual intercourse including oral, vaginal, or anal contact. Only method 100% effective in preventing pregnancy and STIs.  0  None  Yes Free
Withdrawl Withdrawing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation 

 Typical Use: 27

Perfect Use: 4

Increased risk of pregnancy; lack of self-control; small risk of pregnancy from the clear fluid that comes out of the penis before ejaculation (pre-cum); small risk of pregnancy if semen gets on the outside of the vagina.   No


No contraception   85 Risk of Pregnancy, STIs No Free
The Implant (Implanon) A small, flexible plastic rod put under the skin of the inside, upper part of the users arm. It prevents pregnancy for 3 years. It works by preventing ovulation.  99.9% effectiveness Risk if users don't have the implant removed after 3 years.  No



Emergency Contraception (EC, The Morning After Pill) 1 or 2 pills taken up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse. It is birth control that is less effective than other hormonal types of contraception. EC should be used for emergencies only! EC is not the "abortion pill" because it cannot cause an abortion, nor will it harm an established pregnancy. It works by preventing ovulation and disrupting the menstrual cycle. 75-89% effective Risks include if EC is not obtained/used within 5 days of unprotected sex (some pharmacies do not carry EC); if the egg was fertilized before user takes the EC, pregnancy may still occur.  No Anyone aged 17 or older can get EC over the counter at a pharmacy. They will need to show an ID and will have to pay for it (prices range from $35-70).
Spermicides Spermicides are chemicals that kill or immobilize sperm present in the vagina after ejaculation and before entering the uterus. Less effective than other barrier methods and much less effective than hormonal methods of contraception. 

71-82% effective, The Sponge (small pillow shaped sponge containing spermicide) is 68-91% effective.

Risk if not enough spermicide is applied; spermicide not applied 15 minutes before intercourse; spermicide is not reapplied before every act of intercourse; allergies to spermicides.  No Over the counter.
Cervical Barriers (The Diaphragm and FemCap Cervical Cap) These non-latex devices are used with spermicidal jelly and inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix before sex. These reusable methods can be used for up to two years.  71-94% effectiveness Risk if not using these devices with spermicide; not inserting a device before the start of intercourse; device gets dislodged during intercourse; using the wrong size; using a device for more than 2 years without having it refitted. No



Outercourse Outercourse is sexual contact without vaginal penetration. It works by keeping sperm separate from the egg. 100% as long as semen doesn't come into contact with the vulva or vagina. No risk if no genital contact takes place.  Yes Anyone can practice abstinence. 
Fertility Awareness Methods FAMs are a way to track ovulation. Sometimes people call FAMs the "rhythm or method" or "natural family planning." FAMs are not recommended for teens, because they may not yet have regular menstrual cycles. They work by avoiding sexual intercourse (or use another type of birth control such as condoms) on the days when ovulation occurs and they are most likely to get pregnant. 75-96% effective Risk is higher if changes in body signs aren't recognized; failure to keep accurate records of menstrual cycle. No Anyone with a regular menstrual cycle.


Other Great Birth Control Links:

414ALL: Find free condoms in Milwaukee, and find out how you can get involved!

Bedsider: Compare birth control methods and hear people's stories

Health Line: Compare methods and learn more






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