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Birth control for beginners: Things to know before using birth control pills

All of us have our dreams and ambitions. Having said that, you may have your life mapped out – you may want to start a business, become a writer or painter, or just wish to have your career soaring to new heights. These may be your growth years, Hence, the last thing you’d want to get in the way of your dreams is an unexpected pregnancy. 

There are many contraceptive methods you can try – from condoms to UIDs. But we recommend taking birth control pills for 99% protection and other additional benefits such as less painful periods, reduced mood swings, prevention of ovarian cancer and a lot more. 

If you are just a beginner, it’s only natural to have a few questions about birth control pills. Are they safe? Will they affect my fertility? Would there be any side effects? 

Well, we are here to offer you more clarity about birth control pills. Consider this blog post a beginner’s guide. Here are a few things you must know about birth control. 

The working of birth control pills 

Before you know how birth control pills work, you must know this. You get pregnant when the egg in your ovary is fertilised by a sperm. This fertilised egg gets attached to your uterus where it develops into a baby. The hormones in your body are responsible for ovulation and preparing your body to receive and nurture the fertilised egg. 

The hormones present in a birth control pill prevent the pregnancy from happening by stopping ovulation. Consequently, they may alter the cervical mucus or change the lining of the womb to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg or prevent the fertilised egg from being implanted on the uterus wall respectively. 

Birth control may take some time to work

It must be noted that birth control pills don’t offer immediate protection. It may take some time to work. This time window depends on your cycle and the type of birth control pill you are taking. 

There are two types of birth control pills: 

  • Combination pills containing estrogen and progestin, 
  • Progestin pill 

If you are taking a combination pill at the start of your period, it will start working right away. However, if you start later, the birth control pill will take at least a week to come into effect. If you are only taking a progestin pill, it will take 48 hours to come into effect. 

How often do you have to take birth control pill

How often you take birth control pills depends on the brand. If you are on a 21-day pill pack, then you must take the pill every day for 21 days, preferably at the same time. Once this window is over and you have exhausted your pill pack, you must wait a week before starting another pack. You may get your period when you stop taking birth control. 

For other types of packs, go as per the instructions on the pills and that of your gynaecologist. Do not take birth control pills without having a word with your doctor. 

There may be some side effects of the pill

There’s no hiding the facts and sugar coating here. There may be some side effects of taking birth control pills. You may experience headaches, nausea, sore breasts and a modified period cycle when you start taking birth control pills. 

You may experience these side effects for 2-3 months as your body adjusts to birth control pills. These side effects will disappear in some time. However, you must watch out for some serious, but rare side effects. These include blood clots, chest pains, trouble breathing, severe leg pain or abdominal pain, sweating, or vision changes. Seek medical help immediately if you experience these symptoms. 

Birth control pills are 99% effective 

No birth control methods offer you 100% protection. Be it condoms or birth control pills. Birth control pills are 99% effective when taken according to the doctor’s directions. 

Birth control affects your periods

Two things happen to your menstrual cycle when you begin taking birth control pills. Either you get lighter periods or do not get periods at all. This may depend on your body and the type of birth control pill you are taking.  

Contrarily, you may also observe your periods become regular in the long run and less painful. Birth control pills affect period cycles differently. It’s best to consult your gynaecologist in this regard. 

You may also experience spotting

You don’t need to panic if you expect spotting or light bleeding when you are taking birth control pills. As said before, your body takes time to adjust to birth control. However, if you experience unusual bleeding, you should definitely consult your gynaecologist. 

Closing thoughts 

Before you make a decision to take birth control pills, you must be informed and make choices that work for you. Whether it’s understanding the different types, or considering potential side effects, it’s all part of the journey. Birth control is a personal decision, so take the time to get the lowdown and make choices that fit your lifestyle and health needs. Being in the know empowers you to take charge of your reproductive health and make decisions that are right for you.

Whatever you decide, it’s best if you talk to your gynaecologist first. They will offer you personalised opinions, backed with knowledge, experience and expertise. 

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