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Consumer-Friendly Birth Control Information ~ Pregnancy Rates for Birth Control Methods

This new, easy-to-understand table from FDA compares the effectiveness of birth control methods. FDA is working with manufacturers to include the table in the patient information for all contraceptive products.

(For One Year of Use)
The following table provides estimates of the percent of women likely to become pregnant while using a particular contraceptive method for one year. These estimates are based on a variety of studies.

"Typical Use" rates mean that the method either was not always used correctly or was not used with every act of sexual intercourse (e.g., sometimes forgot to take a birth control pill as directed and became pregnant), or was used correctly but failed anyway.

"Lowest Expected" rates mean that the method was always used correctly with every act of sexual intercourse but failed anyway (e.g., always took a birth control pill as directed but still became pregnant).

Method
Typical Use Rate of Pregnancy
Lowest Expected Rate of Pregnancy
Sterilization:
Male Sterilization
0.15%
0.1%
Female Sterilization
0.5%
0.5%
Hormonal Methods:
Implant (Norplant)
0.09%
0.09%
Hormone Shot (Depo-Provera)
0.3%
0.3%
Combined Pill (Estrogen/Progestin)
5%
0.1%
Minipill (Progestin only)
5%
0.5%
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs):
Copper T
0.8%
0.6%
Progesterone T
2%
1.5%
Barrier Methods:
Male Latex Condom1
14%
3%
Diaphragm>2
20%
6%
Vaginal Sponge (no previous births)3
20%
>9%
Vaginal Sponge (previous births)3
40%
20%
Cervical Cap (no previous births)2
20%
9%
Cervical Cap (previous births)2
40%
26%
Female Condom
21%
5% 
Spermicide: (gel, foam, suppository, film)
26%
6%
Natural Methods:
Withdrawal
19%
4%
Natural Family Planning
(calendar, temperature, cervical mucus)
25%
1-9%
>No Method:
85%
85%

1. Used Without Spermicide
2. Used With Spermicide
3. Contains Spermicide

Data adapted from: R.A. Hatcher, J. Trussell, F. Stewart, et al., Contraceptive Technology, 17th Revised edition, New York, NY: Irvington Publishers Inc. (in press).

Table prepared by FDA: 5/13/97
U.S Food and Drug Adminstration

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