Birth control is a fantastic way to avoid babies. But some options are more effective than others.
In this quiz, we're asking about "typical use" — not "perfect use."
Which Of These Birth Control Methods Is The Most Effective?
With typical use, condoms are 82% effective at preventing pregnancy. But with perfect use, that goes up to 98%! So make sure you're using a condom every single time you have sex — the whole time. (Here are more ways you might be using condoms wrong.) That said, this is the ONLY birth control option on this quiz that also protects against STDs, so be sure to use it anyway if you're trying to avoid those too. You can find out more about condoms here.
Brace yourself: The pill is actually 91% effective with typical use, which includes missing a pill here or there. With absolutely perfect use, the pill is 99.7% effective, so talk to your doctor to make sure you're using it the right way, or to see if another method might be better for you. You can find out more about the pill here.
The Depo-Provera shot is 94% effective with typical use. That's because it's super important to get your shots on time every three months and to talk to your doctor about the timing of your period so you know how soon after the shot you're protected. If you can handle that, the shot is 99.8% effective with perfect use. You can find out more about the shot here.
Just like the birth control pill, the ring is 91% effective with typical use and 99.7% effective with perfect use. So talk to your doctor about using this method consistently and correctly. You can find out more about the ring here.
There are two main kinds of hormonal IUDs, and both are over 99% effective, but they're still not the winners here. The Mirena IUD is 99.8% effective for up to five years, and the Skyla IUD (a slightly smaller version) is 99.6% effective for up to three years. Both options are inserted into the uterus and release a type of progestin hormone called levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy, so their typical use and perfect use percentages are the same. You can find out more about IUDs here.
The ParaGard IUD is actually 99.2% effective with typical use and 99.4% effective with perfect use, but it's still not the winner here. That said, this is a great option for people who don't want to (or can't) be on a hormonal method. You can find out more about IUDs here.
OMG, right?! We know it sounds bonkers, but there's a very small chance that you could get pregnant after a tubal ligation, which is why it's considered 99.5% effective. So even though this is a permanent birth control option, be sure to talk to your doctor about any risk of pregnancy. And yes, there are actually methods here with an even smaller chance of pregnancy (although they're not as long-lasting). You can find out more about sterilization here.
If only, right? The withdrawal method is actually 78% effective with typical use. But, surprisingly, it's 96% effective with perfect use, so if you and your partner REALLY trust each other and are REALLY good at timing this EVERY single time, it might not be a bad option. You can find out more about withdrawal here.
You guessed it! The implant is actually 99.95% effective with perfect or typical use. It's a tiny rod that's implanted under the skin of your upper arm, and it releases the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy for up to three years. You can find out more about the implant here. But keep in mind that just because this was shown to have the lowest failure rate in the first year of use, that doesn't necessarily mean it's right for you. So talk to your doctor about your unique health and situation, and they can help you determine which method is best.