Birth Control Pills

Birth Control Pills

  • Take a pill each day to prevent pregnancy
  • Safe, effective, and convenient
  • Easy to get with a prescription

Are Birth Control Pills Right For Me?

Birth control pills are a kind of medication that women can take daily to prevent pregnancy. They are also sometimes called “the pill” or oral contraception.
It’s pretty common for people to be confused about how birth control pills work. Here’s what it boils down to: birth control pills are made of hormones. Hormones are chemicals made in our bodies. They control how different parts of our bodies work.

Some birth control pills contain two hormones — estrogen and progestin. These are called combination pills. Some are progestin-only pills. Most women on the pill take combination pills.

The hormones in the pill work by
Keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm.
Making cervical mucus thicker. This keeps sperm from getting to the eggs.

Effectiveness is an important and common concern when choosing a birth control method. Birth control pills are very effective. Combination pills work best when taken every day. Progestin-only pills must be taken at the same time every day. That keeps the correct level of hormone in a woman’s body.
Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they always take the pill each day as directed.
About 9 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they don’t always take the pill each day as directed.

The pill may be slightly less effective for women who are very overweight. Talk with your health care provider if you are concerned about how well the pill may work for you.

Most women can use birth control pills safely. But all medications have some risks, so safety is a concern when choosing a birth control method. Certain conditions increase the risk of serious side effects. Some of these conditions may even rule out using the pill. Talk with your health care provider to find out if the pill is likely to be safe for you.

You should not take any kind of birth control pill if you have had breast cancer or think you might be pregnant.

You should not take the combination pill during prolonged bed rest or if you

• get migraine headaches with aura
• have certain inherited blood-clotting disorders
• have or are being treated for blood clots or vein inflammation
• have had a heart attack, stroke, angina, or other serious heart problems
• have had serious heart valve problems
• have lupus with certain conditions
• have serious liver disease or have had liver cancer
• have very bad diabetes or have had diabetes for longer than 20 years
• have uncontrolled high blood pressure
• smoke and are 35 or older
• smoke and have high blood pressure
• have had complications after organ transplant
• need to stay in bed for a long time