The steroid oral contraceptive is the most widely used method of contraception. Between 1965 and 1970, use of the oral contraceptive steroids increased from 24.4% to 35.4% of all married couples practicing contraception, and in 1975, the figure was 34.3%. In 1975, one of four of all married women in the United States younger than 45 years of age used oral contraceptive steroids. Their use is much more popular among women married less than five years, being used by 64.8% of these women, whereas only 10.4% of those married more than 20 years used oral contraceptive steroids. Among married women intending to have more births, 59.5% are users, whereas only 24.1% of women intending no more births are users.
There were originally three major categories of oral steroid contraceptives: combination, sequential, and daily gestagen. The combination is the most widely used and most effective type. It consists of tablets containing