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The Ring

Quick Facts

Moderately effective

Does not protect against STDs

Small, flexible ring that goes in the vagina

Easy to use

You need to change it once a month

A hand holding a clear contraceptive ring

More About the Ring

  • The Ring is a small, flexible ring that you put in your vagina.  You need to replace it every month.
  • The hormones in the ring stop ovulation and thicken cervical mucus, which blocks sperm from getting to the egg. If sperm can’t get to an egg, you can’t get pregnant.
  • Because the hormones in the ring are the same ones that are in the pill and the patch, the benefits, limitations, and side effects are similar.

How to Use the Ring

The ring lets you control your period. If you want a regular, timed period, keep the ring in place for 3 weeks. Take it out on the fourth week and that’s when you will have your period. After 7 ring-free days, put in a new one. Store your unused rings at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.

You can also choose to skip your period by keeping the ring in for the whole month. Either change it the same day of every month or wear it for 28 straight days then change it.

  • With clean hands, squeeze the sides of the ring together and push it into your vagina – it’s like inserting a tampon. It should be comfortable.
  • When it’s time to take the ring out, hook your finger around the side and pull it out.
  • Wrap the used ring up and throw it in the trash, but don’t flush it down the toilet!
With clean hands, squeeze the sides of the ring together and push it into your vagina

With clean hands, squeeze the sides of the ring together and push it into your vagina.

Yellow donut chart showing 91%. The title says "91% effective with typical use"
Donut chart showing 99%. The title says "Over 99% effective with perfect use"

Effectiveness

  • 91% effective with typical use. This means that on average, 9 out of 100 women using this method will get pregnant in a year. You can improve effectiveness by remembering to change it on time – you can set a reminder on your phone to help you remember!
  • More than 99% effective with perfect use. This means that if the ring is used correctly all the time, less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant in a year.
  • Some medications may make the ring less effective. Talk to your provider to see if this might affect you.

Benefits

When used correctly, the ring is a highly effective and easy to use form of birth control. It can also have positive effects on your health and sex life.

  • It’s easy to use – you put it in like a tampon.
  • The ring only needs to be changed once a month.
  • It doesn’t interrupt the heat of the moment.
  • It may clear up acne.
  • It makes your periods regular.
  • It gives you shorter, lighter periods.
  • You can also choose to skip your periods with the ring.
  • Like the pill, it may protect against a number of other health problems. These include endometrial and ovarian cancer, anemia, ovarian cysts, and pelvic infections.
Nine hands each holding a thumbs up
A young woman holds up her hands as if weighing options and looks thoughtful

Side Effects and Limitations

Many people worry about side effects, but most side effects go away after a few months, and many people have no side effects at all. Give it time and talk to your Family PACT provider if you are concerned about any symptoms you might have. If you decide to switch methods, make sure to stay protected by starting a new method right away.

  • Side effects may include bleeding in between periods, breast tenderness, nausea and vomiting, change in sex drive and more vaginal discharge. These usually go away in 2-3 months.
  • You need to remember to insert and remove the ring on the right days of the month
  • You need a prescription.
  • It does not protect against STDs.
  • Your partner may be able to feel the ring during sex. But you can remove the ring before sex, just be sure to put it back in within 3 hours.

Family PACT Coverage

If you are eligible, Family PACT covers the cost of the ring. A provider can help you decide if the ring is the best option for you. You can search for a Family PACT provider near you by clicking on the “Provider Search” button the right hand corner of this page.

California Department of Health Care Services Family PACT logo