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Frequently Asked Questions on Contraception Pills

Medically reviewed by Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Jul 14, 2022

    Frequently Asked Questions on Contraception Pills

    Taking birth control pills for the first time can be daunting especially if you are unsure of what side effects to expect. What is a contraception pill and how does it work? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to using this particular birth control method.

    Frequently Asked Questions on the Contraception Pill

    What is a birth control pill?

    A birth control pill is a medicine containing hormones. Each day, you take one pill of birth control. The pill not only prevents pregnancy, but is also used in the treatment of various conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. 

    What kinds of birth control pills are there?

    Contraception pills come in two types: combination pills and progestin-only pills. Combination pills, also known as oral contraceptives or COCs, are the most common birth control pills available. Each pill contains both estrogen and progesterone. The other type is known as POPs or mini pills which are birth control pills that only contain the hormone progestin

    What is the effectiveness of the contraception pill?

    As long as you remember to take the pill as instructed, the pill has the potential to be 99% effective against pregnancy. In reality, however, taking the pill correctly is often difficult; 9% of women who take the pill will still get pregnant unintentionally. 

    The best way to get the best results from the pill is to be consistent. Doing so helps regulate hormone levels. 

    How do birth control pills stop pregnancy? 

    Preventing pregnancy with contraception pills is done by:

    • Stopping or reducing the process of ovulation. Ovulation is the release of the egg from the ovaries.
    • Making cervical mucus thicker so that sperm cannot enter the uterus
    • Thinning the uterine lining to reduce the likelihood of an egg attaching

    When should one take the contraception pill?

    To be effective, the pill should be taken every day. Drinking it at the same time of the day helps in remembering to take it. Setting an alarm on your phone can also help. 

    What are the side effects associated with the contraception pill?

    Taking the pill can cause these side effects:

    • Irregular vaginal bleeding
    • Bloating 
    • Mood changes
    • Nausea 
    • Headaches
    • Breast pain or tenderness

    It is common for these side effects to subside over time.

    What serious health problems can the pill cause?

    To a very small percentage of women, the pill may cause deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, you may have a slight increase in your risk of breast cancer. One in 50,000 people under the age of 35 are at risk of developing breast cancer because of the use of  the contraception pill.

    Who is discouraged from taking the contraceptive pill?

    There are some people who might not be suited for contraception pills. If you have one or more of these signs, consult your doctor to explore other alternatives. 

    • Not being able to remember to take a daily tablet
    • If you suffer from headaches or migraines
    • If you have family members who have deep vein thrombosis
    • Taking certain medications that may cause the pill to not work
    • If you have health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or liver diseases
    • If you are over the age of 35 and smoke
    • Have undergone breast cancer treatment
    • Inability to move for an extended period of time

    Is it safe to take the contraception pill after giving birth?

    Consult your doctor for when you can resume birth control after birth. Using the pill while breastfeeding may decrease your milk supply and increase your thrombosis risk, so your doctor may ask you to wait until your baby is six weeks old before using the pill. When you reach six weeks ask your doctor if you can start using the pill. There might also be other better types of contraceptive methods you can use. 

    It is generally safe to begin using the contraceptive pill three to six weeks after your child is born if you are not breastfeeding. Consult your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for more information.

    During the week when I am taking inactive pills, am I likely to become pregnant?

    Unintended pregnancy is not increased by taking inactive pills. 99% of the time, if taken as directed, birth control pills work as expected. However, in the event you miss one or more pills during your cycle, you may have a higher chance of getting pregnant unintentionally. In case you miss several pills during your cycle, consider using a backup form of contraception like a condom.

    If I stop taking the birth control pill and my period doesn’t return, what should I do?

    Post-pill amenorrhea occurs when you go more than a few months without having your period. This is because your body is not producing the hormones needed for ovulation or menstruation while you are on the pill. And your body may need time to start producing these hormones again.

    After stopping taking the pill for three months or so, menstruation usually resumes. But if you took the pill to regulate an irregular menstrual cycle, your period may not come back for several months. To determine if you are pregnant, take a pregnancy test every three months and then consult your doctor.

    Key Takeaways

    Contraception pills are highly effective in preventing someone from getting pregnant, but it takes consistency for it to be fully effective. While generally safe, contraceptive pills may also have side effects, so it is best to consult your doctor when you decide to start taking the pill.
    Contraceptive pills are great but they may not be for everyone. There are other contraceptive methods available and it is best to explore your options first before deciding to use pills. 

    Learn more about Contraception here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Jul 14, 2022

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