Birth Control: Other Birth Control Methods for Females

Young women's version of this guide

other methodsWhat other types of birth control are available for females?

There are four additional types of female birth control:

  1. Female Sterilization
  2. Copper Intra-Uterine Devices (non-hormonal IUDs)
  3. Natural Family Planning
  4. Lactational Amenorrhea (LAM)

How does each method work, and how effective are they at preventing pregnancy?

Each of these methods has a different efficacy rate towards preventing pregnancy. These rates vary depending on “typical use” (how people usually use it or if it’s not used every time you have sex) vs. “perfect use” (when it’s used perfectly, every time you have sex). Keep in mind that perfect use hardly ever happens.

Female Sterilization:

Female sterilization is a permanent method of birth control. There are several different methods of female sterilization, and they all involve minor surgery. All methods either close or cut the fallopian tubes (the tubes that carry the eggs from the ovary to the uterus) so that sperm can’t move through and fertilize an egg. Another option for permanent birth control is male sterilization (vasectomy).

Out of 100 women using female sterilization
Typical use: 1 or less women become pregnant in a yearpregnant_1
Perfect use: 1 or less women become pregnant in a yearpregnant_1
Copper Intra-Uterine Devices (Paragard®):

An IUD is a small device that is placed inside of a female’s uterus. The copper IUD does not use hormones. Instead, it has copper wire coiled around the stem and arms of the IUD, which prevents pregnancy. The copper IUD can stay in a woman’s body for up to 10 years.

Out of 100 women using an IUD
Typical use: 1 or less women become pregnant in a yearpregnant_1
Perfect use: 1 or less women become pregnant in a yearpregnant_1
Fertility Awareness Based Methods:

FAB methods are a way for a woman to become aware of when she is ovulating so that she can prevent pregnancy. When using this method to prevent pregnancy, sexual partners do not have sexual intercourse during ovulation (the time during a woman’s menstrual cycle when she is most likely to become pregnant). This is the least effective way to prevent pregnancy.

Out of 100 women using fertility awareness based methods
Typical use: 24 women become pregnant in a year pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1
Perfect use: 3 to 5 women become pregnant in a year pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1
Lactational Amenorrhea (LAM):

The LAM method is a temporary method of birth control that a woman can use under the following conditions:

  • A woman is ONLY using breastfeeding to feed her baby (at least 6-10 times a day, including night feedings)
  • The baby must be less than 6 months old
  • She hasn’t had her period since giving birth

Breastfeeding a baby changes how a woman’s body works and prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg. When there is no egg, pregnancy can’t happen.

Out of 100 women using the lactational amenorrhea method
Typical use: 2 women become pregnant in a year pregnant_1pregnant_1
Perfect use: 2 women become pregnant in a year pregnant_1pregnant_1

Do natural family planning methods of birth control protect against STIs?

No. None of these methods protect against STIs. If you’re sexually active, use a condom every time you have sexual intercourse to protect yourself from getting an STI. Abstinence (not having sex) is the only method that guarantees pregnancy and STI prevention.