Oral contraceptive pill

The oral contraceptive pill is a daily medication with hormones to prevent pregnancy. Find out more.

Contraceptive pill

 

What are contraceptive pills and how do they work?

Contraceptive pills are oral contraceptives that you must take every day. It is a safe, affordable and effective (around 91% of effectiveness) birth control method if you are careful at taking your pill on time every day. The hormones in the pill stop ovulation and fertilization cannot occur. The hormones also thicken the cervix and block the sperm.  

Contraceptive pills

What are the benefits of the pill?

 

  • The pill is a very effective method (around 91% effective) to prevent pregnancy
  • Different pill formulations can provide specific health benefits:
    • Can reduce menstrual cramps, lighten your periods and make it more regular
    • It can prevent or reduces acne, bone thinning, breast and ovarian cysts, endometrial or ovarian cancers, anemia, premenstrual syndrome
  • You can get pregnant right after stopping to take it
  • It is a convenient method because when taken correctly, it doesn’t interfere in the buildup to having sex. 

 

What are the disadvantages of the pill?

  • You need a prescription from a doctor 
  • You have to take the pill every day
  • There can be negative side effects:
    • A decrease in sexual desire
    • Sore breast
    • Nausea
    • Headaches
    • Breakthrough bleeding
    • Fluid retention
    • Weight gain
    • Mood changes 

 

What are the contraindications? 

If you are or already have experienced one of the following healthcare problems, you should avoid taking the pill:

  • Blood clots/vein inflammation
  • Breast cancer
  • Heart attack, stroke, angina or any other serious heart problem
  • Migraine headaches 
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes or liver disease

 

What are the oral contraceptive pills available in the market?

There are 3 types of birth control pills on the market: 

  • Combination pills
  • Progestin-only pills
  • Continuous use pills 

Contraceptive pills

 

Can you get pregnant on the pill?

Yes. Although birth control pills have a very high success rate (99% if taken perfectly, 91% in general), no contraceptive method is 100% effective and pregnancy can occur. 

 

For more information, you can visit: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-pill