5 Interesting Facts I Learned From The Times’ Graphs On Birth Control Effectiveness

The New York Times compiled data about birth control effectiveness for 15 different methods, over time, with perfect use and with typical use, and sorted them into handy-dandy interactive graphs. Birth control is sort of nightmarish for me because the least effective methods are non-invasive and non-hormonal, but those are the methods I have to use because I have horror story periods and react badly to hormonal medications. And also I do not want to get pregnant.

Anyway, here are some interesting facts I gleaned from the charts:

  1. Male condoms aren’t really THAT much more effective than the pull-out method. For every 100 women who use each method, over two years, with typical (rather than perfect) use, 33 using male condoms will get pregnant and 39 using the pull-out method will get pregnant. NIGHTMARES.

  2. The implant is the most effective method of birth control. It’s more effective than male or female sterilization! What?! I got an implant once and had to have it removed because of severe side effects — it can be rough going at first, but I’ve been told that it levels off later. I couldn’t take it, but I’m extremely sensitive to medications, so don’t let that put you off.

  3. Spermicides are basically worthless. Like, just not effective. You’re actually slightly better off using the fertility awareness method, and that’s free.

  4. People are terrible at taking the pill. With perfect use, the likelihood of getting pregnant is insanely low — but who’s perfect with the pill? No one, that’s who.

  5. IUDs — both copper and hormonal — and the implant are almost perfectly fool-proof birth control methods. I mean, that makes sense: the benefit of those methods is that you get something stuck in you once and you don’t worry about it for years, so it removes human error.

Head on over and check out how likely it was that you could’ve gotten pregnant in the last few years! Perhaps this will inspire us to use birth control more carefully.

[New York Times]

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