The birth control ring is a small, bendable ring that is inserted into the vagina. It is left in place for three weeks at a time, and then taken out for the fourth week. The ring works by giving off hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg. The hormones also thicken cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg, and thin the lining of the uterus, which may prevent implantation.


The ring is very effective when used as directed (93%).  This means that statistically 7 out of every 100 users will get pregnant using this method in the first year (Cason P, Cwiak C, Edelman A, et al. Contraceptive Technology, 22nd Edition. Burlington MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2023).


The NuvaRing® costs a bit more per month than similar methods, approximately $55 without insurance.

  • With Medicaid: Free or a small co-pay
  • With insurance: Usually the cost of the co-pay
  • Without insurance: $55 (clinic)

A doctor’s prescription is necessary for the ring.


Insert the ring and leave it for three weeks. Then remove it and wait one week before inserting another one.

When storing the ring for more than 4 months, it needs to be refrigerated.

Side effects

The ring uses a lower dose of hormones than other methods, so there’s less chance of negative side effects. However the most common are bleeding in between periods, sore breasts, headaches, nausea and vomiting, mood swings, decreased sex drive, increased vaginal discharge, irritation or infection and for a small number of women blood clots, or stroke. For smokers, the risk of cardiovascular problems is much higher.

Contra ring

effective (Cason, et al., 2023)