How safe is the birth control ring?
Annovera and NuvaRing are safe for most people, but all medicines have some risks and side effects. Your doctor will help you figure out if the ring is safe for you.
Are Annovera and NuvaRing safe?
There’s a good chance birth control rings will be totally safe for you — most people can use them with no problems. The hormones in the ring are the same ones in most birth control pills, and millions of people have used these hormones to safely prevent pregnancy for more than 50 years.
Who can’t use birth control rings?
Like all medicines, the ring isn’t for everyone.
Smoking and birth control rings don’t always mix.
- If you smoke 15 cigarettes a day or more, don’t use NuvaRing, Annovera, or any other kind of birth control that has the hormone estrogen.
- If you smoke fewer than 15 cigarettes a day or vape nicotine at all, talk with your nurse or doctor about whether the birth control ring is safe for you.
Smoking while taking birth control with estrogen (like combination pills, the patch, or the ring), makes you more likely to have problems like a stroke or heart attack.
If you’re a regular smoker, you can safely use any other method without estrogen — like progestin-only pills, the birth control shot, the birth control implant, and IUDs.
Also avoid using the ring if you’ve had any of these health problems:
blood clots, an inherited blood-clotting disorder, or vein inflammation
heart attack, stroke, angina, or other serious heart problems
migraine headaches with aura (seeing flashing, zigzag lines)
uncontrolled high blood pressure
very bad diabetes or liver disease
Talk with your doctor or nurse about your health history. They can help you decide if the ring is right for you.
NuvaRing and Annovera rings are latex-free, so they’re safe for people with latex allergies.
What are the risks of NuvaRing and Annovera?
Even though birth control rings are very safe, using a form of birth control that has estrogen can slightly increase your risk of certain health problems. This isn't common and complications are rare, but they can be serious. Annovera and NuvaRing risks include heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and liver tumors. In very rare cases, they can lead to death.
When you talk with your doctor about birth control, tell them about any medicines you’re taking and any health problems you’ve had.
There’s a very small chance that you can get pregnant even if you always use the ring correctly. But if you do get pregnant and accidentally use the ring during the early part of your pregnancy, it won’t increase the chances of birth defects.
It’s important to remember that the chance of having any of these problems while using the ring is really, really low for most people. In fact, pregnancy is more likely to cause serious health problems than birth control like the ring. Your doctor or nurse can help you figure out which birth control method will be safest for you.
What warning signs should I know about?
Most people using the ring won’t have any problems at all. But just in case, it’s good to know what the signs of a serious issue are.
See a doctor or nurse right away if you have:
sudden back/jaw pain along with nausea, sweating, or trouble breathing
chest pain or discomfort
achy soreness in your leg
severe pain in your belly or stomach
sudden, very bad headache
headaches that are different, worse, or happen more often than usual
aura — (seeing flashing, zigzag lines)
yellowing of your skin or eyes
You can always call a nurse or doctor, like the ones at your local Planned Parenthood health center if you have questions or you’re worried about any health issues.
Is it safe to use birth control rings while breastfeeding?
The estrogen in the ring may lower the amount and quality of your breast milk in the first 3 weeks of breastfeeding. If you’re nursing, wait at least 3 weeks after giving birth to start using the ring.
Your breast milk will contain traces of the ring's hormones, but it’s not likely that these hormones will have any effect on your baby. Talk with your nurse or doctor if you have any concerns about breastfeeding and birth control.