Women's Clinic


Nuvaring is a contraceptive vaginal ring. It contains synthetic estrogen and progesterone similar to birth control pills. Nuvaring must be prescribed by a doctor or nurse practitioner.


Nuvaring prevents pregnancy by preventing eggs from being released from the ovaries and causing changes in the cervix and the lining of the uterus. It does not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections.


Nuvaring is usually inserted into the vagina on the first Sunday after the period starts. For example, if you start your period on Wednesday, the ring should be inserted the following Sunday. If you start your period on a Sunday, insert the ring that day. Insert the ring whether or not you are still bleeding. Use a back-up method of birth control (such as condoms, VCF, or a diaphragm) for the first two weeks after beginning to use Nuvaring. Each ring is left in place for three weeks. After 3 weeks, the ring is removed from the vagina for one week. It is during this “ring-free week” that a woman usually has her period. After this “ring-free week” a new ring should be inserted.

To insert Nuvaring, hold it between your thumb and index finger and press the opposite sides of the ring together. Gently push the ring into the vagina. The exact location of the ring in the vagina is not important, but you should not be able feel it once it is in place. If the ring can be felt, push it farther into the vagina.

If the ring comes out, it should be reinserted as soon as possible. If you should forget to remove or insert your Nuvaring on the regular day, call Women’s Clinic for instructions.


The failure rate of Nuvaring is less than 1% for most women. This means that during the first year of use, less than 1 out of 1000 women who use Nuvaring will become pregnant.



Some women may not be able to use Nuvaring. This includes women with a history of cardiovascular disease, liver disease, breast cancer, high blood pressure, epilepsy, and smokers over 35 years of age.


The possible side effects for Nuvaring include breast tenderness, spotting between periods, nausea or vomiting, headaches, depression or mood changes, and weight gain or loss. A woman can have all of these side effects or none at all. Most of these side effects resolve within 3 months after starting the vaginal ring.


As with most medications, there are some possible severe side effects associated with Nuvaring. They include blood clots which can lead to strokes and heart attacks, liver tumors, and increased blood pressure. The warning signs for these are severe leg pain (calf or thigh), severe abdominal pain, severe chest pain, severe headaches that do not resolve with Tylenol or another pain killer, and blurriness of vision or loss of vision. Although these side effects are rare, you should be aware of them. Contact Women’s Clinic or go to an emergency room if you experience any of them.