Birth control was designed for women to prevent pregnancy, but there are many other uses that include regulating menstruation (your periods), balancing hormone levels, treating acne, and more. There are many different methods of birth control and the most commonly used of these is the birth control pill. Birth control pills are safe, successful, and relatively inexpensive. Today’s oral contraceptive pill (OCP) has a rate of success in the high 90s which makes it a great method of avoiding an unplanned pregnancy.


How the Pill Works

Birth control pills use hormones and work by preventing fertilization of the egg. Ovulation (when an egg pops out) is prevented by hormones. The hormones also cause thickening the mucus on the cervix which makes it difficult for a sperm to reach an egg. The pill has created a mucus wall and blocked the egg from developing or popping out.

“Regular” birth control pills contain a synthetic form of two female hormones. — estrogen and progesterone. Synthetic hormones mimic pregnancy and then the pituitary gland does not release other hormones that tell the ovaries to create and release mature eggs.

Birth control pills work on a schedule. It is essential to take the pills at the same time every day. A schedule creates a stable level of hormones in your body.


How long do birth control pills take to work?

Birth control pills need to be started within 5 days after your period starts. Once you begin taking the pill, you will be protected from unwanted pregnancy right away. For example, if your period arrives on a Monday morning, start the pill anytime until early Saturday and your protection will start right away.

If you start combination pills any other time, you will be protected from unwanted pregnancy seven days after you have taken the pill.  Use another method of birth control for those seven days before the pill becomes effective.

Progestin only pills, also known as “mini-pills” or POPs  can be started at any time. You will be protected after 48 hours or two days from when you start the mini-pill.

However, to be absolutely safe, we always recommend a backup/abstain for 1 month. And to always use a condom to prevent diseases and it’s just cleaner for the woman.