Contraceptive effectiveness explained

No contraceptive is 100% reliable at preventing pregnancy. How effective it is depends on the type you use and whether you use it correctly.

The graph below shows how effective each method of contraceptive is with ‘perfect use’ and ‘real life use’

  • Perfect use – when the method is always used correctly – for example taken at the right time every day, or inserted properly.
  • Real life use – when the method isn’t always used correctly – for example, missing a pill or getting the injection later than you need to.
  • Some methods such as the hormonal, copper coil and implant, don’t have real life use rates because there is no need to remember to take or use them. These are known as methods with ‘no user failure’.

Contraceptive effectiveness: Perfect use and real life use