The Oral Contraceptive Pill: What You Should Know

The Oral Contraceptive Pill

What is an Oral Contraceptive Pill?

The Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill usually called simply 'the Pill', contains two hormones, estrogen, and progestogen. All birth control pills contain hormones that are like the ones your body produces during pregnancy. These work to prevent the ovary from releasing an egg.

How well does The Oral Contraceptive Pill work?

If you follow the directions, the pill works very well. For more information talk to your healthcare provider. The pill will not protect you from sexually transmitted infections. You and your partner should use a condom.

How do I use the Oral Contraceptive Pill?

➲Begin taking the pill on the first day of your period.
➲If you don’t start the pill with your period, use condoms for that month.
➲Take the pill at the same time each day. Many women find it easy to take the pill at night before they go to bed.
➲If you miss a pill, or if you think you missed a pill, continue taking one every day AND use a condom for the rest of the month.
➲If you have bleeding while taking the pill, call your doctor but do not stop taking the pill.
➲The pill does not work as well if you have diarrhea or vomiting.
➲Use a backup form of birth control if you are taking antibiotics. If you are taking other medicines, ask your pharmacist if they will stop the pill from working.

Are there any side effects of The Oral Contraceptive Pill?

With the kinds of pills used today, most women do not have side effects. The most common are feeling like you might throw up (nausea), cramps, sore breasts, headaches and feeling moody.
Your healthcare provider could suggest you stop smoking before giving you a prescription for the pill.

Contact your doctor if you have any of these side effects:
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Leg cramps
  • Bleeding from your vagina in the middle of the month (when you are not having your period).
Do not stop taking the pill “to give your body a rest” unless you want to become pregnant.

Will The Oral Contraceptive Pill affect our sex life?

Some women say that they enjoy sex more while they take the pill because they are not worried about getting pregnant.

How do I get the Oral Contraceptive Pill?

You need to visit your doctor or nurse practitioner to get a prescription. If you do not have money to pay for it, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about the Compassionate Pill Program.

Breastfeeding and the Oral Contraceptive Pill

With today’s low-dose birth control pills, you can take the pill while you are breastfeeding. It is best to wait until you have a good milk supply and you are settled into breastfeeding before you start the pill. There is still some concern about this, and you will need to talk to your doctor if this is what you want to do. Some birth control pills are better than others for the breastfeeding mother.
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