Medical Questions > Womens Health > Birth Control Forum

Birth Control + Spermicide

I've been on birth control for four months and I haven't had any problems with it--I take it every day around the same time (I belive every day, not missing any is 'perfect use' meaning the failure rate is 0.3%, 3 out of a thousand women).

I am sexually active and a few days ago I was watching MTV True Life about pregnancy, and one of the girls stated that she religiously took her birth control pills and got pregnant anyway, and didn't want to get an abortion.

Since then I've been a litle antsy about having sex--the last thing I want is to get pregnant, so I was wondering if birth control pills combined with a spermicide lubricant applicated correctly would have a lower failure rate?

(I know condoms and birth control work best together but we both are STD-free, 100% sure.)

Thanks gals!
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replied October 30th, 2008
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Hi ragina,

With perfect use of birth control pills — if you follow the directions and never miss any pills — the effectiveness rate of the pill tops 99 percent. However, among typical users of the combined estrogen and progestin pill, the effectiveness rate is 92 percent, meaning that eight out of 100 women taking it for one year will get pregnant. Other medications can interfere with the pill's effectiveness, so talk to your doctor before taking the pill with any other drug. So, I doubt that the girl on MTV True Life was using birth control pills correctly and without a problem. Only she knows the answer.

On the other hand, the typical effectiveness rate of spermicides alone is 71 percent, which means that 29 out of 100 women using it for one year will get pregnant.

You can make up your mind, but more information about contraception can be found here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/birth-cont rol/BI99999/METHOD=print&PAGE=all
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replied October 30th, 2008
Yes, I've looked up the success/failure rates of a lot of contraceptives, but they say the best thing to do is to combine contraceptives (e.g. the pill and a condom, spermicide and NuvaRing), and what I'd really like to know is if the chances of becoming pregnant would become even smaller if you were to use birth control pills + a spermicide, or if the chances would remain the same.

Thanks!
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replied November 3rd, 2008
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I think it defaults to the most efficient method. So, there's not a combined effect. This is simply my guess, however. I'd suggest you ask you GYN and let us know!
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replied November 3rd, 2008
Supporter
Yes, of course the risk would be reduced further with additional contraceptive applications. Spermicide usually has a 30 % failure rate. The pill is typically 92-99.7 % effective in preventing pregnancy (the latter being a perfect compliance situation). Mathematically speaking, your chance of pregnancy with this combination is 30 % x 8 % to 30 % x 0.3 % = 2.4 % to 0.09 % chance of getting pregnant (compared with 8 % to 0.3 % of getting pregnant). Thus it is relatively low.

As you stated in your original post, condoms and birth control pills are highly effective. Condoms I think are approximately 80-90 % typically effective.

So statistically speaking, your chance of pregnancy with using condoms and combined oral contraceptive pills is 1.6 % to 0.03 %.

Of course, it is ultimately up to you for whatever is most convenient and safe.
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