The birth control pill is the oldest and most common method of contraception. Most women who choose birth control for the first time choose the birth control pill. This method of contraception works well for those who remember to take the pill every day.
The birth control pill overrides the body’s menstrual cycle by mimicking it. It protects against pregnancy by preventing ovulation. The lining of the uterus becomes thinner so that a fertilized egg has nothing to attach itself to. Your period will become shorter and lighter than usual. The cervical mucous thickens so that the sperm cells will be blocked from entering. Birth control pills can reduce PMS and menstrual cramps, and you can control when you want the bleeding to start.
How to use it
Take a pill every day for three weeks (one tray). Continue with a pill-free week. Start taking the pills again for three weeks and continue with a pill-free week. You are protected from pregnancy during the pill-free week and your period will start. Some trays have seven sugar pills. These pills don’t contain hormones; they’re there to make it easier to remember when to start a new packet.
If you start with the birth control pills the first or second day of your period, you will be safe from the first pill. When starting outside of this time frame, you’ll have to wait a week until you’re protected from pregnancy. So the first week you will also have to use additional contraceptives.
Postponing your period
To postpone your period, skip the pill-free week/sugar pills and start a new packet right away. It’s not dangerous to skip your period, and you can do it for as long as you want. If you delay it long enough, you will experience some spotting. Have a pill-free week to trigger a bleed that will expel the mucous membrane. Start a new packet and postpone your period until the next bleeding. Some people think it’s good to have a “control bleeding” from time to time to make sure they aren’t pregnant. This is not necessary if you have taken the birth control pills correctly.
The first 3 to 6 months may cause unpleasant but harmless side effects. These will almost always pass. You can’t know in advance whether or not and what side effects you will get. The only serious side effect of using oral contraceptives can be blood clotting.
Uncomfortable but harmless side effects:
- Mood swings
- Tender breasts
- Decreased sex drive
Today’s birth control pills are considered safe. The person who prescribes the pills should ask questions about your health and lifestyle. If you answer the questions honestly, the risk of blood clots will be minimal. Ask at home whether parents or grandparents had blood clots before they turned 45.
The pill is 99% effective when used correctly.
- You can have unprotected sex without worrying about pregnancy
- Prevents pregnancy after the first pill if you start taking the pills the first or second day of your period
- You can regulate your periods
- PMS, ovulation and period cramps are reduced or alleviated
- Some brands are free for women between 16 and 20 years
- The pills can create mild side effects in the first few months
- You have to remember to take the pills every day
- Does not protect against diseases