Birth Control


Which birth control pill is right for me?

Why are there so many different types of oral contraceptives? What is in a birth control pill that prevents pregnancy? Is there a balance of hormones in oral contraceptives that make it better than others? It’s hard to believe that a tiny dose of hormones can prevent pregnancy with 99% accuracy.

What are the different types of oral contraceptives out there?

While most oral contraceptives are comprised of different balances of progesterone and estrogen, oral contraceptives can be simplified into two main categories:

Combination Pills (Progesterone and Estrogen)

  • If you start combination pills within 5 days after your period starts, you’ll be protected from pregnancy almost immediately. For example, if you get your period Monday morning, you can start the pill anytime until Saturday morning and be protected from pregnancy.
  • If you start combination pills any other time, you’ll be protected from pregnancy after 7 days of taking the pill. Use another method of birth control — like a condom if you have vaginal sex during the first week you’re on the pill.

The combination pill can also reduce or help prevent:

  • acne
  • bone thinning
  • cysts in the breasts and ovaries
  • endometrial and ovarian cancers
  • iron deficiency (anemia)
  • PMS (premenstrual syndrome)

Progesterone-Only Pills (Mini Pills)

This pill is recommended to breastfeeding mothers due to it’s lack of Estrogen. Estrogen can occasionally reduce milk supply. If you have previously taken a combination pill and have had side effects such as mood swings or weight gain, a progesterone only pill may be of benefit to you. Your doctor can help you figure out the best time to start your birth control pills and how to time them with your period.

How do oral contraceptives work?

The birth control pill works by stopping sperm from meeting an egg (which is called fertilization). The hormones in the pill stop ovulation. No ovulation means there’s no egg hanging around for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy can’t happen. The pill’s hormones also thicken the mucus on the cervix. Thicker cervical mucus makes it hard for the sperm to swim to an egg.

How effective are oral contraceptives?

When used perfectly, the pill is 99% effective.

Who knew navigating a tiny pill could be so largely complicated?  Any questions about oral contraceptives can be answered by scheduling a visit to our office. If you are a new patient, save time by filling out our new patient forms before you come in.

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