The first and most important thing to remember is that abstinence is the only form of birth control that is 100 percent effective. However, if used properly, there are forms of birth control that are nearly that effective.
Will You Get Pregnant While Using Birth Control?
This can never be answered with 100% accuracy. Even with very effective forms of birth control, it is possible to get pregnant. Anyone who is sexually active should keep this in mind and be prepared in case that does happen. Choosing which form of birth control is right for you should involve personal preferences as well as doctor recommendations. Birth control effectiveness is different for each person, depending upon usage, accuracy, efficacy, and other factors.
According to the FDA, female sterilization surgery shows the highest instance of birth control effectiveness next to abstinence. Second in line for birth control effectiveness is female sterilization by implant. Next is sterilization surgery for men. The implantable rod, the IUD, and the hormonal injection shot follow.
The implantable rod is most commonly referred to as Norplant. There are several different types of IUD. Birth control effectiveness in the IUD seems to be about the same for each type. Which type is used may depend on different medical issues such as cervical cancer history, family medical history and other important factors. Only a doctor can properly determine the appropriate IUD type.
Hormonal Birth Control’s Effectiveness
The hormonal injection shot is better known as Depo-Provera. This consists of female hormonal shots that are given every 3 months. Birth control effectiveness with those methods depends on whether the woman is sure to follow up regularly and on time. A woman who follows the doctor's recommendations will get more birth control effectiveness from Depo-Provera than one who misses scheduled doses.
All of these methods are reported by the FDA to have instances of 1 in 100 women getting pregnant when using them properly. It is important also to note that while condoms are not 100 percent effective as a birth control method (11-16 in 100 women whose male partners use condoms will get pregnant), male condoms are still the most effective protection available against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs.
Various types of birth control pill, patch and the vaginal contraceptive ring also are very effective. The FDA reports that 5 in 100 women get pregnant when using these methods as instructed. That is more than the most effective methods, but still a relatively low number compared with no form of birth control. In 100 women who engage in sexual intercourse without the use of any form of contraceptive, 85 will become pregnant.
The Effectiveness of Combining Birth Control Methods
Combining more than one form of birth control can give greater chances of birth control effectiveness. For instance, a condom alone is not the best protection against pregnancy. However, using a male condom along with birth control pills is more effective than using just the condom alone. Plus, birth control pills do not have any effectiveness against STDs.
Birth control effectiveness is the highest when a patient heeds the advice of her doctor and uses her chosen form of birth control properly. If there are doses to take, they should always be taken on time to retain birth control effectiveness. If a dose is missed, follow the doctor's directions on the best way to regain birth control effectiveness.
What About Plan B?
While this form of birth control isn't for regular use, it is a good option for some after an unplanned encounter. This form of emergency contraceptive can be used up to around 3 to 5 days after unprotected sex to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. The sooner you take it, the more effective it is likely to be. It can be obtained over the counter at many pharmacies and even retailers, such as Amazon.
There are also other birth control methods such as female condoms, spermicide, the cervical cap, and many more.
*Please discuss with your doctor which method or combination of contraception methods is best for you, personally. Everyone has different needs and results.
* I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
UPDATED 8/13/2018 to include emergency contraceptive info.