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No form of contraception is perfect, so there is always a chance that you could get pregnant if you have sex when you are fertile (usually during the middle of your menstrual cycle). However, modern contraceptives can be more than 99% effective when they are working properly. Why does birth control fail and is there anything you can do to reduce the risk?
The first reason why birth control can fail is that there is no contraception than can prevent 100% of pregnancies. Each form of contraception has an effectiveness rate that tells you how reliable it is. An effectiveness rate of 90% tells you that for every 100 people who use that contraception for a year, 10 of them would get pregnant.
You should make sure that you know what this rate is when you choose your contraception, as it can vary quite widely. It’s also important to be aware that the effectiveness of a contraceptive with typical use (how the average person uses it) than with perfect use.
The typical use rates reveal the second reason why birth control may fail: people make mistakes. We don’t always use our contraceptives perfectly and things can sometimes go wrong.
Some of the most common mistakes that people make with birth control include:
Using contraception is the best way to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, but it’s important to be aware of the limitations. Since contraceptives can be as low as 70% effective with typical use, it’s not surprising that around half of the women who seek abortions in the UK were using at least one form of contraception. Ensuring that you choose the right contraceptive, using it correctly, and combining contraceptives can all help to reduce the risks that your birth control will fail.