How long does it take for contraceptive methods to work on women?

How long does it take for contraceptives methods to work on women?

Finally getting your chosen contraceptive is surely exciting! But before anything else, there’s one question you have to ask: How soon can you be protected by the contraceptive method of your choice?

Depending on the contraceptive method and at what point you are in your menstrual cycle, it may take a few days before you’re fully protected from unintended pregnancy.

Every method is different, so take a look at how each contraceptive works.


You’ll be immediately protected if you start taking pills (whether combination pills with both estrogen and progestin, or progestin-only pills) within five days from the start of your period. That means you don’t have to use condoms or avoid sex during the first week.

But, if you start at any point of your menstrual cycle when you don’t have your period, you have to use condoms for the first seven days if you’ll have sex. When you’ve finished seven days without missing a pill, you’re already fully protected.

Copper IUD

The copper IUD protects you immediately once it’s inserted. If you’ve just given birth, you can even ask your doctor or midwife to have a postpartum IUD inserted right away.


You’ll be protected within 24 hours if you get your shot of injectable within the first five days of your period.

If you get your dose without your period, you’ll need to use a condom for the first seven days if you’ll have sex.

It’s important to get the next shot every 12 weeks (3 months) as scheduled to guarantee efficacy and full protection. Use a backup method such as a condom if you’re more than 2 weeks late for the next dose.


You’ll be protected immediately if you have the implant inserted within the first five days of your period.

If you get it without your period, you’ll need to use a condom for the first seven days if you’ll have sex.

Tubal ligation

Tubal ligation is an irreversible and permanent contraceptive method for women, making it suitable for those who are sure that they never want to have children or do not want to have any more children.

The procedure involves blocking the fallopian tubes to prevent egg cells from being fertilized and reaching the uterus.

Tubal ligation is effective immediately, but you’ll have to wait for one to two weeks before having sex. This allows you to recover and lessen the chances of discomfort during sexual activity.


Condoms are effective right away, as long as they are used correctly to guarantee full protection.


Holland, K. (March 8, 2023). How Long Does It Take for Birth Control to Work? Pills, IUD, and More. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control/how-long-does-birth-control-take-to-work 

Pandia Health Editorial Team. (December 18, 2020). When Does Birth Control Start Working? Pandia Health. https://www.pandiahealth.com/blog/when-does-birth-control-start-working/ 

Delgado, C. (March 5, 2021). When does birth control start working? The pill works after 7 days, but other types work faster. Insider. https://www.insider.com/guides/health/reproductive-health/how-long-does-it-take-for-birth-control-to-work 

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