The patch

The patch is:

  • 99% effective when you use the method correctly every time
  • 91% effective when you don’t always use the method correctly

What is it?

A patch is similar to a small plaster of 4cm by 5cm. Each patch is worn for seven days. You would wear a patch for one week, then change every week up until three weeks. You would not wear a patch on your fourth week.

How does it work?

The patch contains the female hormones oestrogen and progestogen. The hormones are absorbed through the skin to stop ovulation (an egg being released).

It is important that you talk to a doctor who will assess what contraceptive option is best for you.


  • It does not interrupt sex.
  • It may be easier to remember, applied once a week for three weeks.
  • It is a reversible method of contraception.


  • Certain medication can interfere with its effectiveness. In this instance another method of contraception would have to be used.
  • Is not suitable for you if you are obese and smoke.
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
  • It costs more than the pill.
  • It is not available without a prescription.
  • It is not advised for smokers over 35, or women who are breastfeeding.