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How to Tell if Birth Control Is Working: Signs to Watch Out For

How to Tell if Birth Control Is Working: Signs to Watch Out For

Many women wonder if it is possible to get pregnant after using birth control? This is where knowing how to tell if birth control is working comes in. By recognizing the signs and side effects of birth control, you can see if the pill you’re taking is right for you.

How to Tell if Birth Control Is Working

Birth control pills work by inhibiting the ovulation process, and in a way hinders the movement of sperm by thickening the cervical mucus, thus, preventing the egg and sperm from meeting.

The use of oral contraceptives is up to 99% effective when used perfectly. Perfect use of contraception here means that you use birth control at the same time every day, never missing a dose. But if you take the pill at different times each day or accidentally skip a day, it’s only 91% effective at preventing pregnancy.

Although the percentage of effectiveness of birth control pills is very high, you can still get pregnant. Contraception failure is usually the result of missing a pill or more in the same course. If your body doesn’t get a constant supply of hormones, you may start to ovulate. Then, if you have sex without using a backup birth control, your chances of getting pregnant will increase.

When in doubt, it is best to take emergency contraception as soon as possible, ideally within the first 12 hours after sex for better protection against unwanted pregnancy. If you use birth control pills every day, you should also pay attention to your menstrual cycle. A sign that your contraception is working is when you still have your period every month or it is only a few days late. In case your period does not appear after more than 1 month, you should see a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis of the cause.

What are the side effects of birth control pills?

How to Tell if Birth Control Is Working

In order not to confuse the signs of successful contraception with signs of pregnancy, you also need to be aware of the side effects of birth control pills. Because the side effects of oral contraceptives have many similarities with the first signs of pregnancy. Some common side effects of oral contraceptives include:

1. Birth control pills cause missed periods

The use of oral contraceptives can affect the menstrual cycle. Your period will bleed less than usual, which happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus. Using birth control pills can cause you to bleed suddenly in the middle of your period or it can also delay your period. A missed period is a sign that can easily be confused with a sign of pregnancy.

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2. Some birth control pills cause nausea

Status morning sickness makes you nauseous is a very common symptom of pregnancy. However, the use of birth control pills can also cause similar symptoms. If your nausea doesn’t go away, you need to see your antenatal clinic right away.

3. They can cause breast tenderness

As your pregnancy progresses, your breasts will become softer. However, hormonal birth control pills can also cause this symptom.

4. Certain birth control pills cause fatigue and headaches

Fatigue is an extremely common symptom of pregnancy. However, when you use birth control pills, it will also change hormone levels in the body, causing similar symptoms of fatigue and headaches.

What are other possible causes of these side effects?

In addition to being aware of the signs of successful contraception and the side effects of birth control pills, you should also be aware of some possible causes of your side effects, including:

1. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs)

Birth control pills help prevent pregnancy in most cases but cannot protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some illnesses can cause cramping, bleeding, and nausea.

2. Cancer

Some cancers, including cervical or endometrial cancer, can cause symptoms that are easily confused with pregnancy. These symptoms include:

  • Bleed
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Tired.

3. Uterine fibroids or cysts

Fibroids or cysts are abnormal tumors that can grow in the wall of the uterus or ovaries. Most people with either condition experience unusual and often very heavy bleeding. However, other symptoms such as nausea, pain, and increased urination may appear before bleeding occurs.

Hopefully the information above has given you a clearer picture of the side effects of taking birth control.

Key Takeaways

Knowing how to tell if birth control is working helps women know if they can avoid getting pregnant. Taking note of the possible symptoms and side effects can also help women decide which birth control method is right for them.

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

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Written by Hello Bacsi Updated just now
Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, MD