Hormonal vaginal ring

The hormonal vaginal ring is available under the brand name NuvaRing. This method consists of wearing a flexible ring around your cervix. The ring releases a continuous low dose of the hormones estrogen and progestin. The hormones keep you from getting pregnant.

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How it's used

You insert a new ring into your vagina each month and keep it in place for three weeks. During this time, if the ring is out of your vagina for more than three hours, use an additional method of birth control, such as a male condom, until the ring has been back in place for seven days. You remove the ring after three weeks and then one week later put in a new one. Don't remove the ring during intercourse.

Effectiveness

Hormonal vaginal rings are 98 percent to 99 percent effective, meaning up to two out of 100 women who use this method as birth control for a year will become pregnant.

Issues to consider

Like birth control pills, NuvaRing is a highly effective form of birth control. The advantage is that you don't have to take a pill every day. It's also easily reversible. Talk to your health care provider about when you can start using it after delivery. It may produce some of the same side effects as birth control pills, such as nausea, dizziness, and weight or mood changes.

It's not recommended for smokers over age 35 or for women who have liver disease, uncontrolled diabetes, or a history of blood clots, heart attack or stroke. NuvaRing may also cause increased vaginal discharge and irritation or infection. It doesn't protect against STDs, including HIV/AIDS.

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