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Contraceptive Pearl: Non-Hormonal Contraception

Some women avoid hormonal contraception due to concern about side effects. Other women want to steer clear of all medications. Regardless of their reason, women who prefer to avoid hormones have a variety of contraceptive options available.

Barrier and behavioral methods work well for some couples. These include the male (external) condom, female (internal) condom, spermicides, cervical caps, diaphragms, natural family planning and withdrawal.

The copper IUD (Paragard®) is the only non-hormonal form of long-acting reversible contraception. It’s the most effective non-hormonal contraceptive available in the US.

Permanent birth control methods (vasectomy, tubal ligation, and Essure) are non-hormonal and highly effective, but they aren’t appropriate for couples who may want to have children in the future.

Health care providers should honor patients’ preferences and share information about all types of contraception.

We appreciate your feedback! Please write to us at with any questions, comments or additional resources to add to our list.



Cheung E, Free C. Factors influencing young women’s decision making regarding hormonal contraceptives: a qualitative study. Contraception. 2005; 71(6): 426-431


Helpful Resources

Medical Eligibility for Initiating Contraception

Your Birth Control Choices Fact Sheet

Natural Family Planning Fact Sheet



The Reproductive Health Access Project does not accept funding from pharmaceutical companies. We do not promote specific brands of medication or contraception. The information in the Contraceptive Pearls is unbiased, based on science alone.