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Birth Control Pills - Frequently Asked Questions

Published on Apr 30, 2019 and last reviewed on Jun 22, 2022   -  5 min read


Birth control pill is a hormonal conception method used by women to prevent pregnancy. These pills are taken orally and are 99.9 % effective.

Birth Control Pills - Frequently Asked Questions

Birth control pill is a hormonal conception method used by women to prevent pregnancy. These pills are taken orally and are 99.9 % effective. There are a number of birth control pills, and choosing the right one for you can be daunting. Here I have tried to answer the most commonly asked questions that may arise in your mind if you are trying to decide which birth control pill you want to try.

What Are the Types of Birth Control Pills?

The two main types of birth control pills are:

  1. Combination Pills - Contains both estrogen and progesterone. It is the most effective type.

  2. Mini-pill or Progestin-Only Pills - Contains only low doses of progesterone. As it does not contain estrogen, it is slightly less effective.

How Do Birth Control Pills Work?

These hormonal pills prevent pregnancy by the following three ways:

  1. By preventing ovulation, that is the process by which an egg is released by the ovaries during a woman’s menstrual cycle.

  2. By thickening the mucus that surrounds the cervix, making it difficult for the sperm to reach and fertilize the released egg.

  3. By altering the uterine lining (lining of the uterus), making it difficult for the fertilized egg to get implanted.

What Are the Major Brands of Birth Control Pill?

Combination Pills:


How to Use Birth Control Pills?

Combination pills:

One pill has to be taken every day. It is not necessary to take it at the exact same time every day, but if you do, you will form a habit and never miss a pill. The combination pills are available in 28-day, 21-day, and 91-day packs.


Mini-pills come only in 28-day packs. Take 1 pill within the same 3 hours every day. All the 28 pills contain progestin, and there is no hormone-free pill. You might get your periods on the 4th week of taking this pill. Start the new pack on the 29th day.

What to Do If I Miss a Pill?

Birth control pills are most effective when taken every day on schedule. If you miss 1 pill, take the pill as soon as you remember, and take the next pill on its usual time. If you have missed taking 2 or more pills from the same pack, then read the instruction leaflet for what needs to be done next.

And whenever you miss a pill, use other birth control methods like a condom for 7 days, as there are chances that you might get pregnant. If you vomit within 2 - 3 hours of taking a pill, it has to be considered as a missed pill. Consult your doctor to know if you should take another pill or on what needs to be done.

When Is the Best Time to Start Taking Birth Control Pills for the First Time?

You can start taking the pill as soon as your doctor prescribes them. But it is more effective when started at a particular time in your menstrual cycle. Always use a condom or other birth control method for the first week. Depending on the type of pill you choose, the best time to start taking them are:

When Can I Start Taking Birth Control Pills After Pregnancy?

Breastfeeding naturally prevents the mother to get pregnant again for some months, but this is not always true. You can still get pregnant shortly after delivery. Birth control pills are generally started 3 weeks after giving birth, but always consult your gynecologist as you will be breastfeeding at the time.

Some amount of hormone gets into breast milk, but it has shown no side effect on the baby.

What Are the Side Effects While Taking Birth Control Pills?

Some of the common side effects while taking OCP are:

To Get Pregnant, How to Stop Birth Control Pills?

If you are on the pill and have decided to conceive, you can stop taking the pill after the pack gets over. It is possible to get pregnant as soon as you stop taking medicine. But for some people, it might take a few months. Your periods might take some time to go back to normal, but even during that time, you can get pregnant.

Do Birth Control Pills Protect Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

No, birth control pills do not protect against STDs. To reduce the risk of STDs like HIV and syphilis, always practice safe sex.

Birth control pill is one of the most effective and safest ways to prevent pregnancy. Start taking it only after consulting your gynecologist. You can consult gynecologists online, who will help you choose the best birth control method depending on your condition.

Last reviewed at:
22 Jun 2022  -  5 min read




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