Birth control pills can be a safe and effective form of family planning. If you’re sexually active, but are not yet ready for children, your provider may recommend using a method of birth control. There are several different birth control methods, but one of the most popular is the birth control pill. Here’s what you need to know about this method of preventing pregnancy:
It is essential that you follow the instructions your provider gives you regarding your birth control. Take your pill every day. Some pills require you to take your dose at the same time each day. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you are able. If you miss several doses in a row, have a form of backup birth control (such as condoms) ready, and contact your provider.
There are two types of birth control pills: estrogen/progestin combination pills and progestin-only pills (POPs, or the minipill). Your physician may prescribe a POP if you’re breastfeeding or in the postpartum period. You may not be able to take a combination pill if you have a family or personal history of blood clots, or have a blood or clotting disorder. If you smoke cigarettes or use tobacco, an estrogen-containing birth control pill might not be right for you.
You should only take a pill if you think you can follow the instructions. If you’re forgetful or continually miss doses of your pill, you’re more likely to get pregnant. Ask your doctor about other forms of long-term or low maintenance birth control. These may include the birth control patch or an intrauterine device (IUD). These are also both safe and effective ways to prevent pregnancy.
When taken as prescribed, birth control pills can safely and effectively prevent pregnancy. Combination pills have a 99.7-99.9% effectiveness rate, while a minipill has a 91%-99% effectiveness rate.
If your plans change and you want to become pregnant, simply stop taking your pill. Your fertility will return shortly after, though your doctor may want you to use a backup form of birth control for a while in order to prepare for a more accurate due date.
If you have further questions, we’re here to help! Ask us about the right form of birth control for you. Your doctor at Women’s Medical Associates of Nashville can help answer your questions and address any concerns you may have about using contraceptives.