Most birth control pills consist of a combination of synthetic hormones - estrogen and progesterone. Birth control pills primarily prevent pregnancy by inhibiting egg production. With no egg to be fertilized by sperm, pregnancy cannot occur. It is very important to recognize that the Pill helps protect you from pregnancy but offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections.
ACTUAL USE EFFECTIVENESS is approximately 96-99%. Incorrect use, such as skipping a pill or taking one late may increase your chance of getting pregnant on the birth control pill.
For Sunday Start pills:
Start your first pack on the first Sunday after your period begins. If your period begins on Sunday, start the pill that day. You will always start your pill pack on Sunday. You must use a condom for back-up protection the first month and also to prevent STDs.
Find the day label strip that starts with the day of the week your period begins. The first day of your period is the day you begin bleeding or spotting (even if it is almost midnight when bleeding begins).
Peel the label strip and place it on top of the pill pack card where it says, "Place Day Label Here". Make sure each day of the week is above a row of pills. Throw away the strips you are not using.
Sunday start birth control pills do not protect you for the first month; therefore, a second form of birth control must be used during that entire first package of pills. Choose a backup method of birth control (such as condoms and foam) to use with your first package of pills and in case you:
Use of condoms and nonoxynol-9 spermicide with the birth control pills will help to protect you from AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Please consider a condom whenever there are questions about your partner's sexual activity, past or present.
Pills must be taken every day at the same time (i.e. within one half hour of the same time) in order to maintain a specific hormone level in your body which prevents egg production. Each time you miss a pill or take it at a different time you increase your chance of becoming pregnant. Always take the last row of pills; they may contain important hormones (i.e. Mircette). To help your memory, associate taking your pills with one of your daily activities such as brushing your teeth or eating dinner.
If you miss 1 pill, take it as soon as you remember it. You are not protected; therefore, use a backup method of birth control for the rest of that package. You may have bleeding or spotting until your next package of pills is started.
If you miss 2 pills, take 2 pills as soon as you remember and 2 pills the next day. You are not protected; therefore, use a backup method of birth control for the rest of that package. You may have bleeding or spotting until your next package of pills is started.
If you miss 3 or more pills, stop pills and use another form of birth control until your period starts. Restart your birth control pills as described on the first page.
Periods may be shorter and scant on the pill. You may have no fresh blood at all. If you only have a drop of blood or a brown smudge on the tampon or pad, that counts as a period.
If you have missed one period but have not missed any pills and have no signs of pregnancy then you should continue the pills. If you are worried about pregnancy call the office. If you miss one or more pills in a cycle and then miss your period you should stop the pills, use your backup method of birth control and call the office.
NOTE: SOME WOMEN TAKE 12 WEEKS STRAIGHT OF PILLS AND ONLY GET A PERIOD ONCE EVERY 12 WEEKS. THIS IS THE "SEASONAL METHOD". DISCUSS THIS OPTION WITH YOUR PYSICIAN. THE MOST COMMON PROBLEM WITH THIS IS SPOTTING OR WHAT IS CALLED "BREAK THROUGH BLEEDING". IF YOU BEAR WITH IT, IT WILL GO AWAY. IF IT DOESN'T, YOU MAY NEED FURTHER TESTING.
ALSO: BIRTH CONTROL PATCHES AND VAGINAL RINGS ARE NEW METHODS. THE SAME RULES APPLY FOR STARTING--EITHER SUNDAY OR SAME-DAY START. YOU CAN ALSO USE THEM FOR 12 WEEKS STRAIGHT IF YOU DISCUSS THIS WITH YOUR DOCTOR.
SOME WOMEN TAKE CONTRACEPTIVES CONTINUOUSLY--WITH NO PERIOD!!! DEPO-PROVERA SHOTS ADMINISTERED EVERY 3 MONTHS WILL EVENTUALLY CAUSE YOUR PERIOD TO CEASE. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, ASK YOUR DOCTOR. *****
For patients on regular monthly pill cycles: If you miss 2 periods in a row call to set up a pregnancy test, even if you have taken your pill every day.
If you decide you want to get pregnant, stop your pills at the end of the package and use your backup method of birth control until you have at least 1 normal menstrual period off the pill. This is to allow for accurate calculation of your due date.
Always tell your health care provider that you are on birth control pills, especially if you are admitted to a hospital or need surgery.
If mood changes, depression, irritability, or change in sex drive continue for three months or more on the pill, please let us know. Switching to another brand of pill may help. Vitamin B6 up to 100mg/day may help your moods, as well as calcium 1000 mg/day.
If you smoke more than 14 cigarettes per day, you should watch carefully for pill danger signs and stop taking the pill at age 35. We HIGHLY recommend you NOT SMOKE AT ALL while taking the pill. We offer smoking cessation treatment if you desire. Please ask us about these treatments.
High cholesterol, certain blood diseases which cause clotting, gall bladder disease, and severe migraines may prohibit you from being on the pill. Discuss this with your physician.
NOTE: rarely a woman carries a hereditary factor which predisposes her to a blood clot which can lead to a DVT (deep vein thrombosis, usually in the leg), a PE (pulmonary embolism; clot in lung), strokes, or other serious complications. If you have a history of any of these, you should NOT be on hormonal contraceptives. If you have a family history of any of these conditions, tell us at once so we may do blood tests to screen you for the presence of the factors. If you would like to be screened even without the presence any risk factors, please discuss it with your physician. Your insurance may or may not want to pay for the tests in this case, but we will try to help you.
Learn the pill danger signs; any one of these could mean a serious problem:
See your health care provider if you have these problems or if you develop depression, yellow jaundice or a breast lump.
Certain medications may decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills and cause break through bleeding. If you need to take any other medication (see list below), you should use a condom for extra protection. Only condoms protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
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