Effectiveness of Birth Control Pills

Aug 19, 2022
Effectiveness of Birth Control Pills
If you are sexually active but not yet ready to start a family, there are many contraceptive methods to choose from, including birth control pills. It is universally called “the pill,” even when speaking to your doctor.

If you are sexually active but not yet ready to start a family, there are many contraceptive methods to choose from, including birth control pills. It is universally called “the pill,” even when speaking to your doctor.

If used correctly, birth control pills are effective at preventing pregnancy – but they have a greater risk of user error(and thus ineffectiveness) than other forms of contraception do. For example, if you forget to take the pill every day, or if you take certain other medications, this form of birth control may not work as well.

Let’s take a closer look at the effectiveness of birth control pills so you can make an informed decision about which form of contraception is best for you, and where you can go in DeKalb County for world-class OB/GYN care.

How Effective Is The Pill?

If used as prescribed, the pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, if you forget or miss taking the pill every day, that rate of effectiveness drops to about 91% – meaning that nine out of 100 women who inconsistently take the pill will get pregnant.

There are also other factors that can lower its effectiveness, including:

  • Vomiting or having diarrhea for more than 48 hours.
  • Taking certain medicines or supplements while on the pill, such as:
    • The antibiotic Rifampin (also called Rifampicin)
    • The antifungal Griseofulvin
    • Certain HIV medicines
    • Certain anti-seizure medicines
    • The herb St. John’s wort

If you take any of the above medicines or supplements, be sure to tell your OB/GYN, even if you’re already taking the pill. The doctor will give you some helpful advice and may recommend using a different type of contraception.

If you are taking the pill and are also taking one or more of the medicines or supplements listed above, you should also use another form of birth control in order to prevent pregnancy – such as a condom. You may also consider switching entirely to a different method of birth control, such as an intrauterine device (IUD). Your OB/GYN doctor can help you decide whether or not the birth control pill will work well for you.

When do Birth Control Pills begin to Work?

It may take a little time for birth control pills to be effective, depending on the type of pills you are using and when you start taking them. Your doctor will likely recommend using an additional birth control method for a short period of time until you can rely on its effectiveness.

If you were prescribed and began taking combination pills (combined oral contraceptives, or COCs) – not the mini-pill – within five days after the first day of your period, they will protect against pregnancy immediately. However, if you start taking COCs any other time, you will need to take the pill for at least seven days before it is effective. In the meantime, be sure to also use another method of birth control to protect from pregnancy. If you start taking progestin-only pills (POPs, or mini-pills) at any time during your cycle, you will be protected against pregnancy after just 48 hours.

Birth Control in Decatur, Stonecrest, and Stone Mountain, Georgia

With so many types of birth control to choose from, it can be difficult to know exactly which type is best for your health, lifestyle, and family-planning goals. Fortunately, the gynecology professionals at Dekalb Women’s Specialists can help by providing expertise and personalized recommendations based on your unique needs.

At Dekalb Women’s Specialists, our team of highly trained and experienced physicians provides general gynecology and obstetrical services and support for every stage and moment of your life, including:

  • Well-woman visits
  • Standard screenings, such as Pap smears and breast exams
  • STI (STD) testing
  • Birth control
  • Infertility evaluation and treatment
  • Pregnancy care
  • Menopause support

For more information on the types of birth control available, or for any gynecological concerns, call Dekalb Women’s Specialists today to set up a consultation at (404) 508-2000 or, if you prefer, use our convenient online tool to schedule your appointment. We look forward to being your OB/GYN healthcare provider!