Birth Control Ring – How to Use NuvaRing

Birth control ring (NuvaRing) is a thin flexible plastic contraceptive ring which is inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy. The contraceptive ring consists of hormones estrogen and progestin which is slowly released into the bloodstream once inserted into the vagina. Each vaginal ring can provide effective contraception for 1 month with 3 weeks on and 1week off. Birth control ring came to the US market in 2002 and is marketed under the brand name NuvaRing which is the only form of contraceptive ring currently available in the United States.

How it Works

Birth control ring is available by prescription only and you will need to visit your health care practitioner for physical exam to determine if you have any health conditions that may interfere with using vaginal ring. If approved, the practitioner will provide you with a prescription which you can use to purchase NuvaRing.

Staring birth control ring depends on your menstrual cycle. If you start using NuvaRing within 5 days after your menstrual cycle begins you are protected immediately. However, if you start using the ring after 5 days since your menstrual cycle begins, you will not be protected during the first 7 days and you should use backup method such as condoms for extra protection and avoid using diaphragm, cervical cap, or sponge because the vaginal ring can interfere with these barrier methods.

birth control ring, Nuva Ring, contraceptive ring, vaginal ring

The new ring is inserted into the vagina and left in place for 3 weeks. At the end of third week the ring is removed for 1 week so you are using the ring for 3 consecutive weeks with 1 week off. At the end of fourth week the new ring should be inserted on the same day of the week as the previous ring was inserted otherwise you could become pregnant.

The estrogen and progestin released from contraceptive ring work together by preventing ovaries from releasing eggs and pregnancy cannot happen without egg fertilization. The hormones also thicken the mucus layer in the cervix which blocks sperm from entering into the uterus. The hormones also thin the lining of the uterus which can reduce the chance of pregnancy by preventing released egg from attaching to the uterus.

What to do when you make mistake using vaginal ring?

• If vaginal ring slips out by accident you should reinsert the ring within 3 hours otherwise you could become pregnant. First you should wash the ring with cool or lukewarm water before reinserting back in place. If the ring is out for more than 3 hours and after reinserting back in place you should use backup method for 7 days because you are not protected during this time.

• If vaginal ring was left in place for more than 3 weeks you should removed it as soon as you remember. Take 1 week off and insert a new ring.

• If vaginal ring was left in place for more than 4 weeks you should removed it as soon as you remember. You could become pregnant during this time from unprotected intercourse. Insert a new ring and use backup method for 7 days for extra protection.

• During the week off, if you forget to insert a new vaginal ring for more than 1 week you should insert a new ring as soon as you remember and use backup method for 7 days for extra protection.


Birth control ring is safe and easy to use as you only need to insert the ring once every month for effective protection. Contraceptive ring is convenient as you don’t have to worry about taking pills and you can engage in spontaneous sexual activity without the fear of pregnancy. If you decide to get pregnant, the process can be reversed within few days after removing the ring.

Contraceptive ring also provides some of the benefits similar to birth control pills and these may include reducing menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms, reduce acne, breast enlargement, reduce breast disease, and reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers.


Birth control ring does not provide full protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Some of the more common side effects may include irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, low sexual desire, headaches, dizziness, and mood change. The symptom normally goes away after two or three months.

Other possible side effects may also include vaginal infections, vaginal discharge, nausea, depression, and weight gain. Some may experience more serious problems with using contraceptive ring and these may include abdominal pain, severe chest pain, vision problem, and severe leg pain.

You should not use contraceptive ring if you are over 35 years old, overweight, and smoke cigarettes. You should also not use contraceptive ring if you have certain health conditions and these include strokes, circulation problems, blood clots, jaundice, heart problems, breast cancer and cancer of the uterus, undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, and liver disease.

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