The Pill

What is the Pill and how do I use it?

The Pill is a hormonal form of oral contraception that contains either progesterone only, or a combination of estrogen + progesterone. The Pill stops ovulation. If no egg is released, there is nothing to be fertilized by sperm, and the female cannot get pregnant. It does not prevent sexually transmitted infections.

You must take the Pill by mouth at the same time every day. If you take it more than three hours past your usual time, use a backup method of birth control for the next 48 hours (two days).

Will the Pill stop me from getting pregnant?

The Pill must be taken correctly, for it to be 99% effective. This means that 1 out of 1,000 women on the Pill get pregnant during their first year of taking the Pill. If you miss a day or don’t take the Pill as directed, the chances of you getting pregnant increase, as the effectiveness goes down to 95% (about 20 women out of 1,000 on the Pill will get pregnant.

What are the side effects from using the Pill?

There are some mild side-effects from using the Pill, and most go away within the first three months. These include

  • breast tenderness
  • nausea
  • moodiness or depression
  • irregular bleeding or spotting
  • slight weight gain
  • change in appetite
  • change in sexual desire
  • yeast infections

What should I know about choosing the Pill?

  • lighter and/or shorter periods
  • less cramping during periods
  • easy to take
  • does not interrupt sex
  • helps prevent pelvic inflammatory disease
  • may lower chances of getting endometrial and ovarian cancers