How effective is the contraceptive pill?

When deciding on what contraception to use, effectiveness is usually high up on the priority list. But a lot of women don’t know that there is a lot of variation in how effective the different options are – and this is particularly true with the contraceptive pill.

Don’t get me wrong – the ‘pill’ is a really effective form of contraception and can provide lots of other beneficial effects too. When taken perfectly only 0.3% of women would fall pregnant within 1 year (that is just 3 in 1000 women). The problems is, no one is perfect! Missed pills are unfortunately really common. Going on holiday, being unwell or even just a busy lifestyle can often result in women missing doses of their pills which reduces how effective they are.

Evidence has shown that the true effectiveness of the pill when these issues are taken into account – we refer to this as typical use – is significantly reduced. In fact, when taken ‘typically’, 9% of women would fall pregnant within 1 year (that is 9 in 100!)

So, whilst the pill is a great option for many women, if you feel that you might struggle to take it perfectly then it might be worth considering something else!

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