The Vaginal Contraceptive Ring

The vaginal contraceptive ring, also known as the NuvaRing®, is a bendable, soft, one size fits all, see through ring about two inches (5 cm) wide. The NuvaRing® is inserted in the vagina and changed once a month to prevent pregnancy. The NuvaRing® contains two female hormones - estrogen and progestin - that are absorbed through the walls of the vagina and then distributed in the blood. The NuvaRing® does not require sizing or fitting and is at least 99 per cent effective if used the right way.

How does the NuvaRing work?
The NuvaRing® prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation). If there is no egg to meet the sperm, pregnancy will not occur. The NuvaRing® also changes the lining of the uterus making it difficult for an egg to attach itself. Finally, the NuvaRing® changes the mucus in the cervix making it harder for sperm to enter the uterus.
Who can use the NuvaRing?
Most women seeking a reliable and reversible method of birth control that does not require daily or weekly attention can use this method.
How do I use the NuvaRing?
The NuvaRing® ring releases a steady amount of hormones over a 21-day period with a seven-day ring-free period. Each ring is used for one cycle and then removed.

Insert a NuvaRing® into your vagina between day one and day five of your period and keep it in place for three weeks in a row. Remove the NuvaRing® for a seven-day break after which you will insert a new ring. Your period should begin during the ring-free week. The NuvaRing® should be left in place during sex and is usually not felt by either partner. It can be left in even if you're using a condom or tampons.

To insert

After washing your hands, squeeze NuvaRing® between the thumb and the index finger and insert it into the vagina as far as it will go. The exact placement is not important for NuvaRing® to work and the muscles of the vagina should keep the ring in place.

To remove

Put a finger into the vagina and pull it out. Dispose the used ring in the foil pouch it came in, but not in the toilet.

During the first month on the NuvaRing you may be at risk of pregnancy. For the first seven days you are on the NuvaRing, use a backup method of birth control such as condoms or do not have sex during this time.
What if it slips out?

Rarely, the NuvaRing® may slip out. It can occur if the ring is not properly inserted, if you strain for a bowel movement (stool) or during sex.

Out for less than three hours

  • You should still be protected against pregnancy
  • No backup method of birth control is needed
  • Rinse the ring with cool-to-lukewarm (not hot) water and re-insert as soon as possible (within three hours)
  • If NuvaRing® is lost, you should insert a new ring and stay on the same schedule

Out for more than three hours

  • You may not be protected against pregnancy
  • Rinse the ring with cool-to-lukewarm (not hot) water and re-insert as soon as possible
  • Use a backup method of birth control until the new ring has been in place for seven days in a row
What are the advantages, possible side effects or possible complications of the NuvaRing?
  • Convenient (once a month and private)
  • Decreased cramping and menstrual bleeding
  • Improved cycle control
  • Reduced risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer
  • Can reduce acne

Possible side effects

Minor possibility of (will likely resolve within the first three months)

  • Irregular bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Sore breasts
  • Vaginal irritation with whitish vaginal discharge

Possible complications

The warning signs of a blood clot spell out the acronym ACHES:

Abdominal pain (severe pain or lump in the abdomen)

Chest pain or shortness of breath

Headache (severe) with dizziness, weakness or numbness

Eye problems (vision loss or blurred vision) or speech problems

Severe leg pain or numbness (calf or thigh)

Women who have any of these symptoms while on the BCP should go to the hospital.


  • The NuvaRing® does not protect you against STBBIs or HIV; use condoms to lower your risk
  • For additional information or assistance contact the province wide Aids and Sexual Health Infoline at Toll free: 1 (800) 668-2437
  • For more information on the vaginal contraceptive ring, please consult the NuvaRing website.

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