How Does NuvaRing Work?

When NuvaRing is placed in your vagina, it releases a continuous low dose combination of hormones that helps prevent pregnancy. These are the same types of hormones found in the pill – they are just administered differently with NuvaRing.

When used as directed, NuvaRing has been shown to be 98% effective. Just like the pill.

NuvaRing works with your cycle


Over the course of 3 weeks, NuvaRing releases a continuous low dose of estrogen and progestin. Higher estrogen and progestin levels signal your brain not to release the hormones that cause egg maturation. Without an egg ready to be released into the fallopian tube, ovulation cannot occur.

The ring should be removed 3 weeks after insertion, on the same day of the week as it was inserted, at the same time. For example, if you insert your NuvaRing (etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring) on a Monday at 8:00 a.m., you should remove it on the Monday 3 weeks later at 8:00 a.m.

Your menstrual period will usually start during the 1-week break that you remove NuvaRing. After a 1-week break, you insert a new ring. It is important that you insert a new ring on the same day of the week and at the same time as it was removed in the last cycle, even if your menstrual period has not stopped.

If you are already using NuvaRing (etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring), you can help keep track of your schedule with the NuvaTime™ Reminder Tool.

NuvaRing (etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring) is a flexible birth control vaginal ring used to prevent pregnancy. Available by prescription only.

Do not use NuvaRing (etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring) if you smoke cigarettes and are over age 35. Smoking increases your risk of serious heart and blood vessel problems from combination hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) including heart attack, blood clots, or stroke which can be fatal. This risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes smoked.

  • The use of a CHC, like NuvaRing, is associated with increased risks of several serious side effects, including blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. NuvaRing is not for women with a history of these conditions or any condition that makes your blood more likely to clot. The risk of getting blood clots may be greater with the type of progestin in NuvaRing than with some other progestins in certain low-dose birth control pills. The risk of blood clots is highest when you first start using CHCs and when you restart the same or different CHC after not using it for a month or more.
  • NuvaRing is also not for women with high blood pressure that medicine can't control; diabetes with kidney, eye, nerve, or blood vessel damage; certain kinds of severe migraine headaches; liver disease or liver tumors; unexplained vaginal bleeding; breast cancer or any cancer that is sensitive to female hormones; or if you are or may be pregnant.
  • NuvaRing does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections.
  • The most common side effects reported by users of NuvaRing are irritation inside your vagina or on your cervix; headache (including migraine); mood changes (including depression); the ring slipping out or causing discomfort; nausea and vomiting; vaginal discharge; weight gain; vaginal discomfort; breast pain, discomfort, or tenderness; painful menstrual periods; abdominal pain; acne; and less sexual desire.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please read the Patient Information for NuvaRing (etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring), including the information about the increased risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, especially in women who smoke, and discuss it with your health care provider. The physician Prescribing Information is also available.