Planned Parenthood's birth control and period tracker app for iPhone and Android
Birth Control Pills at a Glance
- Take a pill each day to prevent pregnancy
- Safe, effective, and convenient
- Easy to get with a prescription
- Cost about $0–$50 each month
Are Birth Control Pills Right for Me?
Here are some of the most common questions we hear women ask about the pill. We hope you find the answers helpful.
What is the birth control pill?
Birth control pills are a kind of medicine with hormones that you take every day to prevent pregnancy. There are many different brands of pills. The pill is safe, affordable, and effective if you always take it on time. Besides preventing pregnancy, the pill has lots of other health benefits, too.
How do birth control pills prevent pregnancy?
The birth control pill works by stopping sperm from meeting an egg (which is called fertilization).
The hormones in the pill stop ovulation. No ovulation means there's no egg hanging around for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy can't happen.
The pill's hormones also thicken the mucus on the cervix. Thicker cervical mucus makes it hard for the sperm to swim to an egg — kind of like a sticky security guard.
How do I make the pill work best for me?
The main reason birth control pills fail is because we mess up. Forgetting pills, losing the pack, not refilling your prescription on time — these are common mistakes that can result in pregnancy. It's good to think about these things ahead of time. Here are some ways to help you remember to take your pills every day:
- Use a reminder app or set an alarm on your phone.
- Keep your pill pack next to something you use everyday (like your toothbrush or phone charger).
- Keep your pills in your bag so they're always with you.
- Friends or family members who take medicine every day can be pill buddies and help each other remember.
- Your partner can help remind you.
Do whatever works to help you take your pill on time, all the time.
Want to be extra super duper sure you don't accidentally get pregnant? Also use a condom every time you have vaginal sex. That way you'll also be protected against STDs.
Does the pill protect against STDs?
Nope. While the pill is really good at preventing pregnancy, it won't protect you from sexually transmitted infections.
Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers your chance of getting or spreading STDs. The other great thing about condoms is that they also protect against pregnancy, which means that using condoms + birth control pills gives you awesome pregnancy-preventing power.
MAIL-IN STD TEST YOU CAN TAKE AT HOME
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Find Dr. Cullins' Answers to Common Sexual Health Questions
Q&A with Dr. Cullins