Is Nuvaring Still Good If It Is Removed?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Nuvaring is effective in preventing pregnancy once it has been taken out.

Mar 06, 2018

Julis asked

I switched directly from birth control to the NuvaRing (started day after my last active pill). I have been now on the NuvaRing for 9 days and never got my period because I skipped the placebo week. Can I take it out for a week to get my period and a new one back in and it still be protected from pregnancy?

Answer

NuvaRing is a small, contraceptive ring that contains both an estrogen and a progestin. Each NuvaRing contains:

  • Estradiol
  • Etonogestrel

In most cases, it is prescribed to be inserted for 3 weeks at a time, followed by a ring free week in which menses (i.e. your period) occurs. According to studies, NuvaRing has the same contraceptive efficacy as combined oral contraceptive pills.

What Happens If You Take Out Your NuvaRing

NuvaRing may be removed from the vagina for up to 3 hours without a loss of efficacy. As long as it is reinserted within 3 hours, you are still protected as normal from pregnancy and there is no need to use back-up contraception.

If you take out your NuvaRing for longer than 3 hours, whether or not you are protected from pregnancy depends on what week of your cycle you are in.

Week 1 And 2

If the NuvaRing has been out for more than 3 hours during week 1 or 2 of your cycle:

  • Insert the NuvaRing as soon as you remember. You must use backup birth control until the ring has been in place for seven days in a row as the NuvaRing may not be as effective in preventing pregnancy. 

Week 3

If your NuvaRing has been out for more than 3 hours during week 3 of your cycle, you should throw that NuvaRing away and follow one of the below options:

  • Option 1: Insert a new NuvaRing immediately. This will start a new three-week use period. You may experience breakthrough spotting or bleeding.
  • Option 2: Wait to insert a new NuvaRing and have withdrawal bleeding. You should insert a new NuvaRing no later than 7 days from the time the previous ring was removed. This option should only be used if the ring was used continuously for the preceding 7 days. If not, your menstrual cycle could remain inconsistent for a longer period of time, potentially causing prolonged breakthrough bleeding.

For each week 3 option, you must use back-up contraception until the new ring has been used continuously for seven days (i.e. 7 days in a row).

Purposely Removing NuvaRing To Induce Menses

Most studies cite evidence that there are no safety concerns regarding missing your period due to hormonal contraception. Therefore, it is not recommended to remove your NuvaRing to induce menses or bleeding. In any case, if your NuvaRing is removed for more than 3 hours during your active 3 week cycle, you need to use back-up contraception until a new ring is inserted for 7 consecutive days.

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