THE BIRTH CONTROL RING
An all-round* birth control option. *Like a circle is round.
The birth control ring looks simple and functional, but there’s more to it than that. It's made from a soft, flexible plastic and, once placed, it slowly releases a progestin and estrogen into the body. The hormones stop the ovaries from releasing eggs, and thicken the cervical mucus to make it harder for sperm to move. You wear it for three weeks then you remove it, take a week off, and then put a new ring in.
The ring sits up against your vaginal wall, so putting it in is just the same as placing a tampon. After washing your hands you simply squeeze it and push it inside your vagina until it's sitting against the side of your vaginal wall. Once it is comfortably in position, that's it for three weeks. At the end of three weeks you take it out and have a week off – in this week your period should start. Then after a week of not wearing the ring, you simply start the routine again.
You should use another form of birth control if the ring falls out and stays out for more than three hours before you refit it. Once the ring has been in place for seven consecutive days, it is effective again. If the ring falls out and is out for less than three hours, simply refit it and continue as normal. If you're unsure about how to properly use the ring, consult your doctor or nurse.
HOW IT MEASURES UP
Yes. The ring releases a low dose of progestin and estrogen.
EASE OF USE
The ring needs to be left in place in the vagina for three weeks. After three weeks of use, the ring is removed for seven days before being replaced at the start of another four-week cycle.
The ring may cause temporary irregular bleeding, and some birth control rings can stop periods altogether.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Since scientists started researching and developing this method.3
The amount of time the ring is worn during one cycle.
Chance of pregnancy when used perfectly.
- Fairly effective in preventing pregnancy with typical use.
- Self-administered – you can easily fit and remove it yourself.4
- Allows spontaneous sex and does not interrupt it.4
- No protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).5
- May not be the right option if you are uncomfortable with fitting and removing it from your vagina.4,5
- Monthly routine is needed for it to work well.5
- Planned parenthood. How effective is the birth control ring? https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-vaginal-ring-nuvaring/how-effective-birth-control-ring [Accessed March 2023]. Return to content
- NHS. How effective is contraception at preventing pregnancy? https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/how-effective-contraception/ [Accessed April 2023]. Return to content
- Brache V, Faundes A. Contraception 2010; 82(5):418-27. Return to content
- 4. NHS. Vaginal ring. Your contraception guide. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/vaginal-ring/#:~:text=The%20ring%20may%20ease%20premenstrual,ring%2C%20but%20this%20is%20rare. [Accessed April 2023]. MSI. The combined vaginal ring: everything you need to know https://www.msichoices.org.uk/other-services/short-acting-contraception/the-combined-vaginal-ring/ [Accessed April 2023]. Return to content
Is It Okay?
If you’re concerned that your ring may fall out or has fallen out for more than three hours, you should consult your doctor or nurse and read your Patient Information Leaflet. In the meantime, consider using another form of contraception such as a condom.