The vaginal ring is a highly effective method of
birth control when it is used exactly as directed. The
ring failure rate is the same as that of birth control pills.
Talk to your doctor about what day to start using the
ring. Usually, a ring is started during one of the first 5 days of the
See a picture of the
vaginal hormonal ring .
The ring cannot be incorrectly inserted. Its exact position in the
vagina is not critical for it to work because the ring is not a barrier
contraceptive. The ring is left in place during sexual intercourse. It is
replaced with a new one every 4 weeks.
- Note the day that you insert a new vaginal ring.
Leave the ring in place for 3 weeks.
- To take a 1-week break to
have a menstrual period, remove the ring on the same day of the week that you
inserted the ring 3 weeks before.
- Insert a new ring on the same day
of the week as you did 4 weeks ago.
If you forget and leave the ring in place for more
than 4 weeks, remove it and use a barrier method of birth control
(such as a condom) until a new ring has been in place for 7 days. Discuss this
with your doctor. A pregnancy test may be recommended.
Insertion and removal of the ring is similar to using a diaphragm,
except the ring is left in place for 3 weeks. Simply use your fingers to tuck
it into your vagina and later to hook or grasp it and pull it out.
What to do if the ring slips out of your vagina
If a vaginal ring slips out and it is out of your vagina for less
than 3 hours, you are still protected from pregnancy. The ring can be rinsed
If a ring is out of the vagina for more than 3 hours, you may not
be protected from pregnancy. Rinse and reinsert the ring, but use an extra
method of birth control until the ring has been back in your vagina for 7 days
in a row.
If you lose a vaginal ring, insert a new ring as soon as possible
and follow the same schedule as described above.
When you start using the vaginal ring depends
on what contraceptive method you were using before.
Did not use hormonal contraception last month
- Count the first day of your menstrual period as
- Insert the vaginal ring between Day 1 and Day 5, but no
later than Day 5, even if you are still bleeding.
For the first cycle of using the vaginal ring, use an extra method
of birth control for the first 7 days of ring use.
Switching from a combination (estrogen plus progestin) pill
- Insert the vaginal ring within 7 days of taking
your last pill, but no later than the day you would start a new pill cycle. No
extra method of birth control is needed.
Switching from a progestin-only mini-pill, injection, or IUD
Mini-pill: Insert the
vaginal ring on any day of the month, but do not skip any days between your
last pill and the first day of ring use.
- Injection: Insert the vaginal ring on the same day your next
injection is due.
- IUD: Insert the vaginal
ring on the same day you have your IUD removed.
Use an extra method of birth control for the first 7 days of ring
After a first-trimester miscarriage or therapeutic abortion
- Insert the vaginal ring within 5 days of a
miscarriage or therapeutic abortion. No extra method
of birth control is needed.
- If a ring is not inserted within 5
days, start using the ring at the time of your next menstrual period. See the
"Did not use hormonal contraception last month" section above.