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!
Tip 1: Take your pill right before bed
This is typically the first tip that Dr. Yen gives to women who are taking birth control pills for the first time, for a few reasons.
The time you take your pill is very important, so it’s good to find the optimal time for you.
Dr. Yen recommends taking your pill right before bed because it can help dispel nausea some experience when taking the pill. If you take the pill on an empty stomach, you may be more likely to experience nausea. Additionally, taking the pill right after you’ve eaten can decrease the likelihood of experiencing other unpleasant symptoms.
A good time to take the pill is in the evening, either just before you go to bed or around dinner time, says Dr. Yen. Our a 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 you still have nausea after a week of taking the pill before bed, take it around dinner time or whenever you have your largest meal.
Another good reason to take the pill at this time is that it’ll help with consistency. It is advised that you take the pill at the same time every day, or at least as close as you can. This is because their effectiveness can decrease if you skip a pill or take them at completely different times of day, say 8am one day and 5pm the next. Dinner and bedtime happen every day, giving you a good time marker to take your pill.
Tip 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 your first pill on the last day of your period. According to Dr. Yen, this allows the uterus to clean out, as you will have just had your period so you can have a fresh start.
Another benefit to starting birth control at the end of your period is that it should start working right away. That being said, if you have a BMI of 30 or greater, it may take up to a week for your body to recognize the new hormones introduced by the pill. Either way, it is a best practice to use condoms while taking your first pack of birth control to ensure protection against pregnancy and prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs.).
Tip 3: Give your body some time to adjust
Give your body at least 2-3 months for your body to get used to any pill. We know the first few weeks can be bumpy, but it takes time for your body to adjust to the medication and hormones.
Even though you may be getting protection right away, your body may need some extra time to get used to it. For example, you may experience some spotting or bleeding between periods. This is your body’s natural reaction to the introduction of new hormones, and it’s nothing to be worried about.
Contact your doctor if you begin to experience symptoms that negatively impact your quality of living. This will help you determine what could be going on in your body and if you should consider trying another type of birth control. This leads us on to…
Tip 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.
At this stage, it is important to stay in touch with your doctor as they will want to review your reaction and help you find your perfect birth control match if you experience unwanted side effects.
Tip 5: Everybody is unique and may require something different
If you are looking for an indication of what type of birth control will work for you, you can try asking your female relatives, such as your mom, sister, or other blood-relatives, what has worked for them.
However, it is important to recognize that every person’s body is different and thus, may require a different method of contraception.
Plus, if the pill is not for you, you can check out the patch, ring, shot, or IUD.
Tip 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 don’t need to work with an OB-GYN to get a prescription for birth control, that may be a good place to start if you’re nervous. This type of doctor will have more experience helping women improve their reproductive health and will be best placed to answer any questions you may have.
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?
The pill you’re prescribed will depend on many factors, including your health history, BMI and age. At Pandia Health, we pride ourselves on prescribing birth control based on how your body will react.
We’re the ONLY doctor founded and led birth control company and are here to help make your birth control experience as positive as possible.
With extended hours available seven days a week, our expert doctors are on hand to prescribe the right birth control for you.
With just one $20 payment a year, you can get access to our expert doctors for 364 days (available if you live in AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, NV, TX, WA, or WY). That means unlimited questions and advice, which is especially important if you want to change your birth control. Get started to begin your birth control journey today!
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 after starting birth control is it effective?
Birth control typically begins working within five days, though this can take up to a week if you have a BMI of 30 or greater.
How long does it take to adjust to birth control?
While you may be protected from pregnancy at any time up to one week after starting taking the pill, it can take around two to three months for the body to adjust to birth control.
Spotting when starting birth control: Is this normal?
In most cases, spotting — or bleeding between your periods — is not a cause for concern and can be a sign of your body adjusting to the pill. However, it can also occur when you take your pill inconsistently or could indicate other health issues. 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 soon do birth control side effects start?
You may experience nausea within the first few days of starting the pill. However, this should soon ease up, especially if you follow Dr. Yen’s advice on taking the pill after dinner and with a large glass of water. Other side effects may appear after this, such as spotting and mood swings, though these will depend on the type of pill you’re taking and your body’s unique reaction.
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 to 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.