Vaginal ring

A vaginal ring is:

  • Over 99% effective when you use the method correctly every time
  • Over 91% effective when you don’t always use the method correctly

What is it?

A vaginal ring is a small flexible ring. You put the ring in your vagina and leave it there for 3 weeks (21 days) without a break. Then you may be told to wait for a few days-up to 7 days-before putting in the new ring. 

This advice will depend on your doctor's instructions.

How does it work?

The vaginal ring releases the artificial form of the hormones - oestrogen and progesterone - which are absorbed from your vagina and into your blood.

It works by:

  • stopping ovulation (an egg being released from your ovaries)
  • thickening the mucus at the neck of the womb (uterus) so it is difficult for sperm to enter the womb
  • thinning the lining of the womb and this prevents a fertilised egg from settling (implanting) in the womb

It is important that you talk to a doctor who will assess what contraceptive option is best for you.


  • The ring stays in so you don't have to think about contraception every day.
  • You insert it yourself.
  • It does not interrupt sex.


  • You must be comfortable with inserting and removing it.
  • Its effectiveness maybe reduced by taking certain medications. 
  • It is not suitable if you smoke and over 35 years of age.
  • It is not suitable if you are obese.
  • It may not be suitable if you are breastfeeding. Check with your doctor.
  • It does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).