Effectiveness Chart 1 gives you an idea of how many pregnancies occur because the method has simply failed to do its job (there are no statistics yet for the female condom).

Effectiveness Chart 1-In a group of 100 women using the method for a year, and using it absolutely correctly, exactly according to instructions, we would expect:

• none or, at most, 1 out of 100 injectable contraceptive users to become pregnant;

• 1 or, at most, 2 out of 100 combined-pill users to become pregnant;

• about 2 out of 100 mini-pill users to become pregnant;

• about 2 out of 100 diaphragm or cap users to become pregnant;

• about 2 out of 100 condom users to become pregnant;

• about 2-4 out of 100 IUD users to become pregnant;

• about 3-4 out of 100 contraceptive foam users to become pregnant;

• about 7 out of 100 Natural Family Planning users to become pregnant.

Of course, people make mistakes. Very few people use their methods absolutely correctly and properly all the time. So in a typical group of 100 women, there would undoubtedly be more pregnancies than the figures in Chart 1 would indicate. With the IUD and injectable contraceptive, we wouldn’t see more pregnancies than indicated in the chart because the IUD is inserted and removed by a doctor and the shots are also given by a doctor. The woman doesn’t have to do anything. So there’s little chance of her using the method improperly and, therefore, little chance of a pregnancy occurring due to an error on the user’s part with these methods.

But with methods like NFP, the condom, cap, diaphragm and spermicides, people can and do make mistakes. For instance, people make mistakes in their NFP charts and have sex during the fertile time; they forget to put enough spermicide in the cap; they insert the diaphragm improperly or remove it too soon; they neglect to use a condom each and every time they have sex; they allow too much time to pass between insertion of the spermicide and intercourse; and so on. Since people can and do make these sorts of mistakes, we could expect a greater number of pregnancies in a typical group of 100 women than indicated in Chart 1.

With the pill, there’d also be a greater number of pregnancies than indicated in Chart 1 because women can and do forget to take all their pills on schedule. However, women who choose the pill as their method are usually the types who are good at remembering to take pills, and they make pill-taking part of their daily routine. Besides, with the pill people needn’t interrupt their love-making to deal with contraception and they don’t have to refrain from intercourse for a certain number of days each month as NFP users must. Moreover, all a woman has to do with the pill is to swallow it, whereas, some of the other methods, especially NFP, are more involved and therefore more open to error. So you can see that pill-users are generally less likely to have unplanned pregnancies due to errors on the user’s part than people who use the diaphragm, cap, condom, foam, or NFP.


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