NuvaRing is a hormonal birth control (contraceptive) device for women. It is a flexible, transparent plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina. NuvaRing is worn for three weeks, removed — allowing menstruation to occur — and then a new ring is inserted after a week.

Similar to combination birth control pills, NuvaRing prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones into your body. The hormones suppress ovulation — keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg.

The hormones in NuvaRing might also:

  • Thicken cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching an egg
  • Thin the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg


About 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant in a typical year of using NuvaRing. The vaginal ring does not offer protection from sexually transmitted infections.

NuvaRing is generally very well-tolerated, but possible side effects include:

  • Breakthrough bleeding or spotting
  • Vaginal infection or irritation
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Breast tenderness
  • An increased risk of blood-clotting problems, heart attack, stroke, liver cancer, gallbladder disease and toxic shock syndrome

Call your health care provider right away if you have:

  • Leg pain that doesn't go away
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Severe pain or pressure in your chest
  • Sudden, severe headache unlike your usual headaches
  • Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg, or trouble speaking
  • Foul vaginal odor or vaginal itching
  • Two missed periods or other possible signs of pregnancy