Starting the Birth Control Patch

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The birth control patch is a thin, beige, plastic patch that sticks to the skin. It is used to prevent pregnancy.

To find out what day is best for you to start using the patch, talk with your health care provider. Most often, women start using the patch within the first five days after the start of their periods. That way, they are protected against pregnancy right away. That means that if your period starts on a Wednesday morning, you can apply the patch as late as the following Monday morning to be protected right away.

If you start the patch later than five days after the start of your period, protection will begin after seven days. Use another method of birth control ó like a condom, female condom, diaphragm, or sponge ó if you have vaginal intercourse during the first week of use.

Be sure to follow the instructions about using the patch from your patch package. It will be more effective if you do. Itís also helpful to learn what to do if you make a mistake using the patch.

Starting the Patch After Pregnancy

Itís possible to get pregnant again shortly after being pregnant. Starting birth control after pregnancy is an important concern for many women.

You can start using the patch

  • right after an abortion
  • right after a miscarriage
  • after waiting at least three weeks after childbirth
  • after waiting at least six weeks after childbirth if you are nursing
  • You should wait to start using the patch if you are nursing because it may reduce the amount and quality of milk in the first six weeks of breastfeeding. Also, the milk will contain traces of the patch's hormones. It is unlikely that these hormones will have any effect on your child. But talk with a health care provider about what birth control methods might be right for you after giving birth.

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