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Young woman holding birth control pill blister pack

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​Birth control ring

What is the birth control ring?

  • The birth control ring is a small, soft plastic ring, used to prevent pregnancy.
  • The ring is also known as NuvaRing. The woman inserts the ring into the vagina where it stays for three weeks. The fourth week is ring-free.
  • The ring does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Always use a latex condom when you have sex to reduce your risk of getting an STI or HIV infection.

How does the ring work? 

The ring releases estrogen and progesterone, through the vaginal wall into the bloodstream.

These 2 hormones:

  • Prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg each month.
  • Change the texture of the mucous of the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to enter and reach any eggs that may have been released
  • Affect the lining of the uterus so that a fertilized egg has a hard time attaching to the wall of the uterus.

Where can I get the ring?  

  • You'll need to get a prescription from your doctor or health clinic.

Are there any side effects?  

  • Minor side effects may be; vaginal discomfort, spotting, breast tenderness, nausea, mild headaches.
  • Minor side effects usually go way after using the ring for three months. If uncomfortable side effects continue, speak with a Public Health Nurse.

Serious side effects are rare. Seek medical attention right away if you have:
A bdominal pain (severe)                                                                                                     
C hest pain (severe), cough, shortness of breath
H eadaches (severe) or dizziness
E ye problems (blurred vision or loss of vision)
S evere leg pain (calf or thigh)
S peech problems

What if the ring slips out?

  • The ring is held in place by the vaginal muscles, so it's unlikely that it will fall out.
  • The ring must be left in place during any activity, even during sexual intercourse. If it does happen to fall out, rinse the ring under lukewarm (not hot) water and reinsert the ring.
  • If more than 3 hours pass without the ring in the vagina, reinsert the ring or insert a new one, use a non-hormonal method of birth control for the next seven days and call the Brant Count Health Unit or talk to your health care provider.   

What if I forget to take the Ring out after 21 days?

  • Remove the ring as soon as you remember and after seven days re-insert a new ring.
  • Use a non-hormonal method of birth control or stop having sex for the next seven days and talk to your health care provider or call a Public Health Nurse.

What if I forget to insert the Ring after the ring-free week?   

  • Insert the ring as soon as you remember and use a non-hormonal method of birth control or stop having sex.
  • Talk to your health care provider or call a Public Health Nurse.   

What if I miss my period?    

  • If you forgot to remove or insert a ring, call the Sexual Health Clinic at the Brant County Health Unit to arrange a pregnancy test.
  • Continue wearing the ring as scheduled until pregnancy is confirmed.

When should I use backup protection?       

You should also use a non-hormonal method of birth control, for 7 days to prevent pregnancy if:

  • You just started using the ring for the first time
  • The ring slips out and remains out for more than 3 hours
  • The ring is left in for more than 28 days (one extra week)
  • You forget to insert a new ring following the ring-free week
  • You’re taking other medication, especially antibiotics
  • You are sick with vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • You have irregular bleeding during any week you wear the patch
  • You have severe diarrhea or vomiting for more than 24 hours 

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Sexual Health
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