Female condom

The female condom is a thin plastic sheath that the woman places into and around the entrance of her vagina. It only needs to be used during sex.

How good is the female condom at preventing a pregnancy?

  • The effectiveness of the female condom to prevent a pregnancy largely depends on whether it is used properly.

  • If 100 women used the female condom properly every time they had sex and carried on with their normal sex life, then 5 of those women would fall pregnant during that period.

  • If not used properly then many more women would fall pregnant.

What are other good things about the female condom?

  • The female condom can be used straight after an abortion.

  • It only needs to be used when you have sex.

  • Female condoms help to protect against most sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

What else should you know?

  • Female condoms can sometimes slip off or split, which is why they are not always as good as some other forms of contraception.

  • If the condom breaks or tears or falls off then you may need to use an alternative type of emergency contraception immediately afterwards.
  • In general female condoms do not cause irritation to either the vagina or womb.

Find out about other short term contraceptive methods

Compare methods

Compare different contraceptive methods, and see how well they work at preventing pregnancy.

Compare methods