WHAT IS IT?
- Oral contraceptives contain synthetic versions of two hormones your body normally produces, estrogen and progesterone.
WHAT ARE THE TWO MAIN REASONS FOR USING CONDOM BACKUP?
- The Birth Control Pill does NOT prevent sexually transmitted infections.
- Condoms can reduce your risk of getting these diseases.
Condoms should be used to reduce your chances of pregnancy when taking medications, such as antibiotics, and for the first month after starting the pills.
HOW DO I START TAKINGTHE PILL?
- Begin taking the pill on the Sunday after your period begins. If your period beings on a Sunday, start the pills on that day. Take it at approximately the same time every day. The first three weeks are hormone pills, and the fourth week is a placebo. You period should start a few days after you start taking the placebo pills. Be sure you take one pill a day until the pack is empty. During the first month of taking the pill, use condoms.
WHAT IF I MISS A PILL?
- If you miss ONE pill: take that pill as soon as you remember you have missed it.
- If you miss TWO pills: take two pills one day and two day pills the following day.
- If you miss THREE pills: call your medical provider.
When you miss pills, you may notice breakthrough bleeding.
WHAT IF I MISS A PERIOD?
- It is not rare to miss a period while taking the birth control pill. If you have not missed any pills, continue taking the next pack.
- Whenever you miss taking a pill and skip that following period, see your medical provider.
WHAT ARE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS? (RARE)
- Raise in blood pressure (Have your blood pressure checked 3 months after starting the pill)
- Breakthrough bleeding
- Breast tenderness
- Headache (mild)
- Nausea (this may be lessened by taking pill at night)
These symptoms are more likely to happen during the first few cycles of the pill. However, if these problems persist, you should contact your medical provider.
WHAT ARE SOME SERIOUS RISKS?
- Blood clots which could cause heart attack, stroke and lung embolus, are the most serious side effects of taking oral contraceptives.
- In rare cases, oral contraceptives can cause benign liver tumors.
Serious complications are rare and are most likely to occur in women who are older, smokers, sedentary, overweight, hypertensive, diabetic, or have a history of heart or vascular disease.
WHAT ARE SIGNS OF SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS?
- Chest pain or sudden shortness of breath
- Pain or swelling in the calf of the leg
- Severe pain in the abdomen
- Jaundice or yellowing of the skin
WHAT OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS MAY COME FROM TAKING ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES?
- Menstrual cycles become more regular with less flow.
- Less pain or other symptoms during menstruation.
HOW DOES IT PREVENT PREGNANCY?
- Suppressing ovulation
- Thickening the mucus in the cervix that blocks sperm migration into the uterus.
- Changes the lining of the uterus to make implantation less likely.