What to Do If Your NuvaRing Falls Out

Many women enjoy the convenience of using NuvaRing. This hormonal contraceptive is an effective method of birth control that you only need to insert once a month.

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But, as with any birth control method, how well NuvaRing works at preventing pregnancy directly relies on you using it properly. So, if you use NuvaRing (or plan to), it is important that you know how to use it correctly and what to do in case your NuvaRing falls out or if you forgot to take it out.

Why Can The NuvaRing Fall Out?

NuvaRing may slip out when:

  • You take out a tampon
  • If you strain while having a bowel movement
  • You have sex

So, it is important that you check after any of these events to make sure that your NuvaRing didn't fall out. It may also be helpful to know that if you have a condition that affects the vagina, like a prolapsed (dropped) uterus, your NuvaRing may be more likely to fall out.

If it seems like your NuvaRing falls out a lot, you should talk to your healthcare provider to see if there may be a better contraceptive method for you.

What to Do

So, what happens if you suddenly discover that your NuvaRing fell out? Well, first of all, don't panic! It's time for some quick thinking and action.

If Your NuvaRing Fell Out Less Than 3 Hours Ago

If it has been out less than three hours since your NuvaRing fell out, you should still be protected against unintended pregnancy.

Here's what to do:

  • Simply take the Nuvaring that has fallen out and rinse it clean with cool-to-lukewarm water (not hot).
  • Wash and dry your hands.
  • Then, reinsert the same NuvaRing as soon as possible.
  • If you have lost the NuvaRing, you can insert a new one -- just make sure to stay on the same schedule that you would have followed if you were still using the lost NuvaRing (so if you are in week 2, still consider yourself to be in week 2). 

Now, this is important: make sure that you reinsert your NuvaRing within three hours of it falling out.

If your NuvaRing fell out more than three hours ago.

If your NuvaRing is out for more than three hours during week 1 or week 2, your NuvaRing's effectiveness may be compromised (meaning, it may not work anymore).

What to do:

  • You should still reinsert the NuvaRing as soon as you remember.
  • Just to be safe, make sure that you use a backup method of birth control (such as male condoms or spermicide) until the NuvaRing that you have just reinserted has been in place for seven days in a row.

Make sure that you read the insert that comes inside your NuvaRing package for more detailed information about NuvaRing use, risks, and effectiveness.

If your NuvaRing is out for longer than three hours during week 3, throw away the NuvaRing that fell out.

You can choose one of the following two options:

  • Insert a new NuvaRing immediately. This will start your next three-week use cycle (so once you insert the NuvaRing, consider it Day 1 of the week. If you choose this option, you may not have a period from your previous cycle, but spotting or breakthrough bleeding may occur.
  • You can wait, but you need to insert a new NuvaRing no later than seven days from the time that your old NuvaRing fell out. You may have your period during this time. You should also use a backup birth control method until the new ring has been used for seven days.

Consider using emergency contraception (such as PlanB, Take Action, Ella) as a backup method for birth control if you aren't using condoms/spermicide.

If Your NuvaRing Breaks

It is also possible that your NuvaRing may break—so it will no longer be in a complete circle. This does not affect the NuvaRing from releasing its hormones. As long as the NuvaRing stays in your vagina, it will still be effective at preventing pregnancy.

If your NuvaRing breaks and falls out of your vagina, just throw it away. Depending on how much time has gone by since it has fallen out, follow the instructions above.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can a NuvaRing fall out without you knowing?

    Yes, your NuvaRing can fall out. However, it is unlikely that you won’t notice it when it comes out. The NuvaRing can slip out of place when taking out a tampon, during sex, and from bearing down to push out a bowel movement. 

  • How can you tell if a NuvaRing is in the right place?

    As long as the NuvaRing is inside you and you do not feel it when walking around, it is in the right place. If it feels uncomfortable, try pushing it in deeper or moving its placement with your finger.

  • What should I do if my NuvaRing comes out?

    If your NuvaRing falls out, rinse it in cold or warm (not hot) water and put it back in. If it has been more than three hours since the NuvaRing came out, use a backup birth control method, like condoms, for the rest of your cycle.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Merck Sharp & Dohme B.V. Frequently asked questions about NuvaRing. 2019.

  • Kubba A, Lete I, Briggs P. "NuvaRing: A vaginal contraceptive." Trends in Urology, Gynaecology & Sexual Health. 2010; 15(1):17-22. Accessed via private subscription.

By Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC
Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC, is a published author, college professor, and mental health consultant with over 15 years of counseling experience.