The Ring

This method might work for you if... you are comfortable touching your own vagina and can change this method about once a month.

The Ring is a small, clear, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina close to the cervix. This type of birth control contains synthetic versions of estrogen and/or progesterone, which are hormones (aka chemicals) that are naturally occurring in the body. The hormones in the ring regulate the hormonal variations in a body to reduce the risk of pregnancy. The ring can provide relief from menstrual or premenstrual (aka. period) issues such as acne or irregular or painful periods.

To use the ring, squeeze the sides of the ring together and insert into the vagina as high as you can. Leave the ring there for three weeks and on the fourth week, use your fingers to remove the ring. During this week you will have a period, and are still protected against pregnancy. Insert a new ring after your ring-free week. If the ring slips out of the vagina, rinse the ring with lukewarm water and re-insert it. If the ring has been outside the vagina for more than 3 hours, it may not be immediately effective again. You should use a backup method of birth control until you have the ring in for 7 consecutive days.

The ring is 92% effective at preventing pregnancy with typical use and is often around $30 a month in Ottawa. The Sexual Health Centre in Ottawa sometimes provides the ring at a discounted rate for those who need it.