Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH – Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team. Updated on February 16, 2021
Are you a birth control newbie and have no idea where to start? Look no further! Dr. Sophia Yen, CEO & co-founder of Pandia Health broke down some of the top tips to keep in mind when starting birth control! So without further ado, let’s get right into it!
1. Take your pill before bed
This is typically the first tip that Dr. Yen gives to women who are taking birth control pills for the first time. If you take the pill on an empty stomach, you may be more likely to experience nausea. On the other hand, taking it after having eaten may decrease the likelihood of unpleasant symptoms. Dr. Yen recommends taking the pill at night either you go to bed or around dinner time. In our recent interview, she said, “In the 19+ years that I’ve been prescribing women birth control I’ve only had 2 women who woke up from sleep with nausea. Everyone else has been totally fine.”
If after a week of taking the pill before bed you still have nausea take it around dinner time or whenever you have your largest meal.
2. Start your birth control on the last day of your period
Although you can start birth control at any time, Dr. Yen recommends taking it on the last day of your period. According to Dr. Yen, this allows the uterus to clean out (a.k.a during your period) so that you have a fresh start.
Another benefit to starting birth control at the end of your period is that it should start working right away. With that said, if you have a BMI of 30 or greater, it may take about a week for your body to recognize the new hormones. Either way, it is a best practice to use condoms while taking your first pack of birth control to ensure protection against pregnancy and prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs.).
3. Your body might take some time to adjust
Give every pill at least 2-3 months for your body to get used to it. If you only give it 1-2 weeks, then you didn’t really give it a try. While birth control may start working right away, it may take some time for your body to adjust. For instance, you may experience some spotting, or bleeding between periods. This is nothing to be afraid of, as it is just your body’s reaction to the introduction of new hormones.
If you notice symptoms that negatively impact your quality of living, contact your doctor. This will help you determine what could be going on in your body and if you should consider trying another type of birth control.
4. There are 40+ different pills
Thankfully, if you dislike the first type of birth control you are prescribed, there are plenty of other options that you can try. Furthermore, it is important to stay in touch with your doctor, as they can help you find your perfect birth control match.
5. Every person’s body is unique and may require something different
You can ask your mom and/or older female relatives what type of birth control they use, as this could provide some indication of a type that will work for you. However, it is also important to recognize that every person’s body is different and thus, may require a different method of contraception – if the pill is not for you, you can check out the patch, ring, shot, or IUD.
6. Consult a doctor for advice on which birth control is best for you
Starting birth control may seem like a scary process! Thankfully, you don’t have to go about it alone. Although you do not need to work with an OB-GYN to get a prescription, that may be a good place to start, as this type of doctor will have more experience helping women improve their reproductive health.
How can Pandia Health help?
Speaking of doctors Pandia Health is proud to be the ONLY #DoctorFounded and #DoctorLed birth control delivery company. Our expert doctors are here to help make your birth control experience be as positive as possible.
If you live in AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, NV, TX, WA, or WY, you can sign up for an online doctor consultation with one of our providers. You can also transfer a current prescription to our pharmacy to get your birth control delivered right to your mailbox.
With Pandia Health, you can #SkipTheTrip to the pharmacy and feel confident that you will never run out of birth control on our watch.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you take birth control?
It’s super simple! Swallow your pill with a large glass of water. In order for your pill to be most effective, it is best to take it around the same time every day (this is especially crucial if you take a progestin-only pill).
What day should you start the pill?
At Pandia Health, we recommend starting your birth control pill on the last day of your period. This will allow it to start working faster and decrease the likelihood that you will experience spotting.
What is the best time of day to take your pill?
Although you can take birth control at any time of day, it is best not to take it on an empty stomach. Dr. Yen recommends taking it before you go to bed or around dinner time (assuming that is when you have your largest meal) in order to avoid nausea.
When should I start my birth control?
You can start taking the birth control pills any time. However, Dr. Yen recommends starting it on the last day of your current or upcoming period to reduce the likelihood of spotting.
How long does it take to adjust to birth control?
It can take about two to three months for the body to adjust to birth control. However, the birth control itself typically begins working within five days.
How long does nausea from birth control last?
If you take birth control after eating, you are less likely to experience nausea. If you try this method and continue to notice symptoms, consult your doctor.
Can taking two birth control pills make you sick?
No! Taking two pills on the same day or even at the same time will not make you sick. In fact, you should take two pills at once if you missed the previous day’s pill.
Can birth control make you vomit?
This is unlikely and typically only occurs if you take your pill first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
When should you start a new birth control pack?
During the final week of a 28-day birth control pill pack, which typically contains a row of sugar (a.ka. placebo) pills, a woman will get her period. This period will end once a new active pill is taken. Furthermore, you should start your next pack as soon as you finish your current pack. If you miss a day, you may experience a bleed. You can also skip the row of placebo pills and switch to a new pack in order to avoid bleeding. Check out our #PeriodsOptional page to learn how to safely skip your period by using birth control.
Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor/primary care provider before starting or changing treatment.