Using the ring is easy: just insert NuvaRing into your vagina once every 3-6 weeks, depending on your schedule. You can choose to get a period every month, or you can skip it — it’s totally up to you.
How do I insert NuvaRing?
It’s easy to put in NuvaRing: First, check to make sure the ring hasn’t expired (the expiration date is on the package). Wash your hands with soap and water, then squeeze the sides of the ring together with your fingers and gently push it into your vagina. Don’t worry about the exact placement — if you can’t feel it when you’re walking around, it’s in right.
When it’s time to take your NuvaRing out, just hook your finger through the ring and gently pull it out of your vagina. (You can leave it in during sex or any other kind of physical activity.)
Once you take your ring out, put it in its foil wrapper and throw it in the trash. You can also wrap it in toilet paper, but you’ll be helping out the environment if you use the foil wrapper because it helps keep any hormones that are left in the ring from getting into the soil and water. Don’t flush the ring down the toilet.
How often do I need to put in a new NuvaRing?
One NuvaRing has enough hormones in it to last for up to 5 weeks. You have a few different options for ring schedules, and you can choose to get a period or choose to skip it. All of these schedules work just as well to prevent pregnancy.
If you want to get your period:
Wear a ring for 3 weeks (21 days), 4 weeks (28 days), or 5 weeks (35 days). Then take it out for the next week (7 days) — that’s when you’ll get your period. After 7 ring-free days, put in a new ring.
Take out your old ring and put a new one in on the same day of the week every time. For example, if you put a new ring in on a Sunday, take it out 3, 4, or 5 weeks later on a Sunday. Then put a new ring in 7 days later on the following Sunday. So your “removal day” and “new ring day” will always be a Sunday.
It’s okay if you’re still bleeding or spotting when you put in a new ring — that’s normal. You can safely use tampons, menstrual cups, and pads with your NuvaRing in (just be careful not to pull the ring out when you remove a tampon or menstrual cup).
If you want to skip your period:
Skipping your period with NuvaRing is safe and super easy. Just keep the ring in your vagina at all times, and swap it out for a new one every 3-5 weeks. You can do this 2 ways:
Pick a date and always change your ring on that date. So if you put your first ring in on the 15th of the month, you always change your ring on the 15th of every month. (It’s ok that some months are longer than others.)
Wear the ring for 3 weeks (21 days), 4 weeks (28 days), or 5 weeks (35 days). Then take out your old ring and put in a new ring. Change your ring on the same day of the week every time — so if you put your ring in on a Monday, change it every 3, 4, or 5 weeks on a Monday.
You may have some bleeding or spotting when you use the ring to skip your period — that’s totally normal. If you skip your period week every month, the spotting should go away after several months.
There’s nothing dangerous or harmful about using NuvaRing to skip your period. And it comes in really handy if you want a special occasion (like a vacation or a hot date) to be period-free.
What do I do if I mess up using the ring?
Even though the ring is easy to use, it might fall out of your vagina or you might not change your ring on time.
If you’ve already had sex in the last 5 days since making a ring mistake, you may want to use emergency contraception.
When can I start using NuvaRing?
You can start using the birth control ring as soon as you get it — any day of the week, and anytime during your menstrual cycle.
If you put your first ring in within 5 days after your period starts, it will start working right away. For example, if you get your period Monday morning, you can start using the ring anytime until Saturday morning and be protected from pregnancy right away.
If you start using the ring at any other time, it needs to be in your vagina for 7 days to start protecting you from pregnancy. Use another method of birth control — like a condom — if you have penis-in-vagina sex during your first week on the ring.
Do I have to take NuvaRing out during sex?
Nope. In fact, it’s best to leave the ring in your vagina as much as possible. NuvaRing is designed to be worn all the time, including during sex. If it bothers you or your partner, try moving the ring around until it feels comfortable.
If you do take the ring out during sex, rinse it in cool water and put it back in when you’re done. Just make sure you remember to put it back in. If you leave the ring out for more than 2 days, you won’t be protected from pregnancy.
How should I store my rings?
You can store your rings at room temperature away from direct sunlight for up to 4 months. After 4 months, keep your rings in the refrigerator. Read the storage instructions on the package, and always check the expiration date before putting in a new ring.
What do I do if I want to get pregnant?
If you decide you want to get pregnant, just take your ring out and throw it away.
It’s possible to get pregnant right after you stop using the ring. It can take a few months for your period to go back to the cycle you had before you started using the ring. But it’s still possible to get pregnant during that time, even if your period isn’t regular or you haven’t gotten your period yet since you stopped using the ring.
What side effects should I expect while using the ring?
The ring may cause some side effects at first, but they usually go away in 2-3 months.
Some people have headaches, nausea, sore breasts, or spotting (light bleeding or brown discharge) after starting the ring. Some people on the ring find they have more vaginal wetness. This all usually goes away after a couple of months.
The ring may change your period. Your period may be lighter, and sometimes you might not get one at all (especially if you always keep your ring in to skip your periods). This is totally normal.
The changes in periods can sometimes make people worry about being pregnant. But the chance of pregnancy is very low if you use your ring correctly. If you’re worried, you can always take a pregnancy test to be sure.
If you still don’t like the way the ring makes you feel after a few months, talk with your nurse or doctor. They may suggest another birth control method. Some people try a few different methods before finding the right one for them.
You can always call your doctor or your local Planned Parenthood health center if you have any concerns while using the ring. They’re there to help and answer your questions.