Meet Annovera, a new type of birth control

It’s a new ring that only needs to be replaced once a year

In case you didn’t hear the news, there’s a new type of hormonal birth control available. You’re probably aware of the ring—a flexible ring that you insert into your vagina that releases hormones. You leave it in for three weeks (21 days), then take it out and leave it out for a week (7 days). That’s usually when you get a period-like withdrawal bleed.

Annovera is a new kind of ring that you don’t have to replace monthly.

What makes Annovera different?

Previously the only ring available was the NuvaRing (and its generic version). With NuvaRing, you throw out the ring when you take it out and refill your prescription monthly, so for each cycle you’re starting with a brand new ring.

With Annovera though, there’s no need to get a new ring each month—you can use the same ring for up to 13 cycles. You still take it out after three weeks and leave it out for a week, but instead of the waste and hassle of throwing it out and getting a new one each month, you can just put back in the same one.

How do you use it?

Once you insert the ring (see instructions below), leave it in for three weeks (21 days). Take it out for the fourth week (that means that you’ll leave it out for seven days). After taking it out, wash it with mild soap and water, pat it dry, and store it in its case at room temperature. When the ring is out, you’ll probably get a withdrawal bleed, which is like a period. After seven days, even if you’re still bleeding, put the Annovera back in again.

If you leave it out for more than seven days, you’ll need to use a backup method of birth control, like condoms, for seven days after putting it back in.

During the three weeks (21 days) that you have the ring in, it’s important not to take it out. And it’s designed to keep it in during sex. But if it ever comes out, make sure to put it back in right away. If the ring is out of your vagina for more than two hours total during those 21 days, you will need to use a backup method of birth control for seven days after putting it back in.

Here’s how to put Annovera in:

Step one: wash your hands.
Step two: squish the ring between your thumb and index finger.
Step three: insert it into your vagina as far up as you can get it with your finger. It’ll sit tucked up against the side of your vaginal wall. The exact position doesn’t affect how well it works to prevent pregnancy, as long as the entire ring is inside your vagina. So you just want to make sure you’re comfortable and no part of it is coming out of your vagina. If you need to, you can take it out and try again or try just pushing it further into your vagina.

Here’s how to take Annovera out:

Step one: wash your hands.
Step two: insert your finger into your vagina until you feel the edge of the ring.
Step three: hook your finger on edge of the ring and pull down.

Here’s a video showing how to put in and take out the Annovera.

How much does it cost?

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, if you have health insurance, chances are good that you’ll be able to get this method with no out-of-pocket cost. If you don’t have insurance and you’re not on Medicaid, Annovera may cost up to $2,400 out of pocket for a year of birth control, which would come out to about $200 a month—the same as the NuvaRing. However, with coupons from the cost can be as low as $60. Also, depending on your income, you may be able to go to a low-cost clinic to get the ring at a reduced cost.

Where can you get it?

Annovera does require a prescription, which your provider can send to any pharmacy, including vitaCare, which is an online delivery pharmacy. If you need the prescription too, you can have a telehealth visit with SimpleHealth or Pill Club to get it prescribed and then delivered to your door.

Check out our updated method explorer for more info about Annovera (and the ring in general).

Written by Lauren Kernan, MA

Lauren Kernan is the Director of Content and UX Strategy for Bedsider and Abortion Finder. In her spare time, she can be found sewing or starting and giving up on various other crafts.

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