Many people take birth control without any issues or concerns, but I’m sure we’ve all wondered at some point if it’s 100% effective, especially after missing a pill or falling ill. While birth control is highly effective in preventing pregnancy, nothing is 100% foolproof. So, let’s take a look at what the chances of getting pregnant on birth control are.
How contraceptives work
Firstly let’s take a minute to think about how contraceptives work. Birth control methods such as the pill, injection, and implant work by preventing ovulation, which means it stops the egg from releasing from your ovary. Without ovulation, there is no egg for sperm to fertilise. So, technically you shouldn’t fall pregnant. However, no method of birth control is 100% effective, and there are a few reasons why birth control can fail.
Factors that affect the effectiveness of birth control
A few things can affect how well any birth control works. This includes the type of birth control used, how consistently you use it and personal factors such as your age, health, and fertility.
For example, missing a pill or not using a condom during sex can increase the risk of pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the failure rate of the pill is about 7%, meaning that out of 100 women who use the pill for a year, seven will become pregnant.
Non-hormonal methods like condoms or diaphragms also have a typical use failure rate of around 13%. This means that out of 100 people using these methods for a year, 13 may become pregnant.
Another reason why birth control can fail is individual tolerance of birth control. Every person’s body is different, and some people may metabolise birth control differently. Certain medications, such as antibiotics, can also interfere with how birth control works. It’s important to talk to your GP about any medications you are taking and ask if they will impair the effectiveness of your contraceptive.
It’s probably obvious, but contraceptives need to be used consistently and correctly to work. This means using them whenever you have sex and following the instructions carefully. Missed pills, delayed injections, or improperly used condoms can all increase the risk of pregnancy.
In summary, the chances of getting pregnant on birth control depend on several factors, including the type of birth control used and if you take it as directed. While no method is 100% effective, using birth control correctly and consistently can be up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
If you are taking birth control and suspect you might be pregnant, take a home pregnancy test or speak to your healthcare provider to discuss your concerns.
Have you experienced birth control failures? Tell us about it in the comments, or share your experience in our free Hoopsy Community.