The Wellness Center and Student Health Services provides education about and access to a wide variety of contraceptive methods. DID You KNOW? – half of the pregnancies in the United States are unintended.  In fact, Cal Poly Pomona has double the national college average for unintended pregnancy according to the 2007 National College Health Assessment. If you are having sex and unintended pregnancy is a concern, you can learn more about contraception methods and figure out which one is right for you by taking the Birth Control Options class online. There are many safe and effective types of contraception used in order to prevent pregnancy and you can easily get the facts.


Male condoms

Female condom
Worn by the woman, the female condom helps keeps sperm from getting into her body. It is packaged with a lubricant and is available at drug stores. It can be inserted up to eight hours before sexual intercourse. Female condoms are 79–95% effective at preventing pregnancy when used consistently and correctly, and may also help prevent STDs.

Diaphragm or cervical cap
Each of these barrier methods are placed inside the vagina to cover the cervix to block sperm. The diaphragm is shaped like a shallow cup. The cervical cap is a thimble-shaped cup. Before sexual intercourse, you insert them with spermicide to block or kill sperm. The diaphragm is 84–94% effective at preventing pregnancy. Visit your doctor for a proper fitting because diaphragms and cervical caps come in different sizes.


Copper T IUD
An IUD is a small device that is shaped in the form of a “T.” Your doctor places it inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It can stay in your uterus for up to 10 years. This IUD is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

Mirena intrauterine system (IUS)
The IUS is a small T-shaped device like the IUD. It is placed inside the uterus by a doctor. It releases a small amount of progestin each day to keep you from getting pregnant. The IUS stays in your uterus for up to 5 years. The IUS is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

The Pill

Oral contraceptives
Also called “the pill,” it contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. It is prescribed by a doctor. A pill is taken at the same time each day. If you are older than 35 years and smoke, have a history of blood clots or breast cancer, your doctor may advise you not to take the pill. The pill is 92–99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

The Patch

This skin patch is worn on the lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body (but not on the breasts). This method is prescribed by a doctor. It releases hormones progestin and estrogen into the bloodstream. You put on a new patch once a week for three weeks. During the fourth week, you do not wear a patch, so you can have a menstrual period. The patch is 92–99% effective at preventing pregnancy, but it appears to be less effective in women who weigh more than 198 pounds.

The Ring

Hormonal vaginal contraceptive ring
The NuvaRing releases the hormones progestin and estrogen. You place the ring inside your vagina. You wear the ring for three weeks, take it out for the week you have your period, and then put in a new ring. It is 92–99% effective at preventing pregnancy.


The implant is a single, thin rod that is inserted under the skin of a women’s upper arm. The rod contains a progestin that is released into the body over 3 years. It is 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.

The Shot

Women get shots of the hormone progestin in the buttocks or arm every three months from their doctor. It is 97–99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

Standard Days Methods

Understanding your monthly fertility pattern can help you plan to get pregnant or avoid getting pregnant. Your fertility pattern is the number of days in the month when you are fertile (able to get pregnant), days when you are infertile, and days when fertility is unlikely, but possible. If you have a regular menstrual cycle, you have about nine or more fertile days each month. If you do not want to get pregnant, you do not have sex on the days you are fertile, or you use a form of birth control on those days. These methods are 75–99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception can be used after unprotected vaginal intercourse (sex) has occurred. Some examples include the following: no birth control was used during sex, a birth control method failed (ex. condom broke or if someone missed their birth control pills), withdrawal failed, forced unprotected sex.

The most common type of emergency contraception is hormonal pills, such as Plan B One -Step. The pills must be taken within 5 days or 120 hours after having unprotected vaginal intercourse. They are sometimes referred to as the “morning after” pill, even though they can be used up to five days later. The pills are 89% effective at preventing pregnancy. Plan B One-Step is available in the aisles of drug stores such as Target, CVS, etc. It is also available at Student Health and you will be required to show a state-issued photo ID complete with a birthdate to receive it. Other brands of emergency contraception are available at pharmacies for those 17 years or older or by prescription for women aged 16 years and younger.