What birth control methods take the shortest and longest time to work?
Barrier birth control such as condoms and diaphragms work right away. Other methods that involve physical or chemical changes to the body usually take longer.
How long it takes a particular form of birth control to work really depends on the way in which it prevents pregnancy.
Condoms, for example, work immediately because they prevent semen from entering the vagina. The same goes for other types of barrier birth control methods.
It’s important to understand that no method of birth control works 100% of the time for all. Oral contraceptives can be up to 99% effective, while the patch works about 91% of the time and less in women over 198 pounds.
- When taken within 5 days of a woman’s first day of a period cycle, oral birth control pills begin working right away
- Copper IUDs start working right away, while other IUDs begin working within the first week or right away if inserted at the start of a period cycle
- Most other forms of birth control take 7 days to start working or start immediately if they are begun on the first day of a menstrual cycle
“How long it takes a birth control method to begin working, depends on how it prevents pregnancy.”
It’s best to consult with your doctor about the various forms of birth control available.