You have a lot of different options these days when you want to avoid getting pregnant. These options come in a number of forms, which can make it extremely difficult to choose. One of the simplest but most effective types of birth control is oral contraceptives.
Our team at New England Women’s Healthcare helps you decide which type of birth control is right for you. Leading our team are six obstetric and gynecological experts, who offer both the knowledge and experience to get you the best kind of birth control for your body and your needs.
What is oral contraception?
Contraception comes in a number of different forms today, from pills to patches and more invasive forms as well. However, oral contraception is one of the most well-known and popular choices when you want to prevent pregnancy.
Birth control pills, also known as oral contraception, contain small amounts of hormones that help your body prevent pregnancy. The most common types of hormones in birth control pills are estrogen and progesterone.
There are several different types of oral contraception, one of which is combination pills. These pills include both estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is the hormone that basically controls your entire menstrual cycle.
Another form of birth control pills contains only progesterone. This type of birth control helps you when your cycles are very heavy. They’re also a great choice when you need birth control, but you’re unable to take pills containing estrogen for medical reasons.
How does it work?
Most birth control pills work by preventing you from ovulating every month. This prevents an egg from being released from one of your ovaries, so the sperm have nothing to inseminate.
However, the pill also thickens your cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to swim up through your cervix and into your fallopian tubes. This is another way that the pill helps prevent pregnancy.
In some types of oral contraception, the pills also may thin the lining of your uterus. This makes it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant there. This, along with the other ways it works on your body, make getting pregnant nearly impossible when it’s taken correctly.
Can you rely on oral contraceptives?
Oral contraceptives are often very effective when you take them properly. This means taking them at the same time every single day, without skipping doses. When taken regularly, birth control pills are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
However, many things can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives, other than not taking them regularly. Other factors that make it ineffective include:
- Certain antibiotics
- St. John's wort
- Certain antifungals
- Anti-seizure medications
- HIV medication
If you’re on any of these medications, it’s important that you use other forms of contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. This may include male or female condoms, among other options.
While oral contraception is very effective in preventing pregnancy, it’s important to know that it doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases. These diseases are spread through direct contact and body fluids, so if you’d like protection, condoms are necessary.
The best way to keep yourself safe from both sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy is by using condoms along with oral contraceptives. This optimizes both your safety and your goal of avoiding pregnancy.
You can contact one of our offices in Wilmington or Woburn, Massachusetts, to schedule a consultation. You may also request an appointment with one of our providers using our online booking tool.