Questions to Ask a Healthcare Professional If You Want to Start Oral Contraception
By Sheryl Kraft
Deciding to use oral contraception is both a personal and complex decision, with no one-size-fits-all choice.
What your sister/friend/co-worker uses may suit them just fine, but may not be the right thing for you. Preferences, personal health habits, health status, and concerns are all as individual as your fingerprint.
Making the right decision all starts with knowing the right questions to ask a healthcare professional (HCP) so you can have a shared and informed decision-making process.
Here are some questions to help guide your conversation.
1. Which Pill is right for me?
There’s not just one type. Some contain just one hormone while others contain a combination of hormones.1 Your HCP will be able to guide you in choosing which hormone level and type is right for you.
2. Is the Pill appropriate for me?
While the safety and effectiveness of birth control pills have been studied in clinical trials, like every medication, the Pill might not be right for everyone. Your health status and history and the medications you take need to be taken into consideration and discussed with your HCP.2
3. Are there any side effects or risks?
Some women experience side effects, some of which can be serious; it’s important to know what to potentially look out for, so be sure to discuss these with your HCP.2
4. How effective is the Pill?
While no birth control method is absolutely 100% reliable, compliance is critical, as birth control pills must be taken at the same time each day in order to help prevent pregnancy.3 Your HCP will be able to talk you through things important to the Pill’s effectiveness, like compliance.
5. Am I protected against pregnancy as soon as I begin taking the Pill?
Depending on when you start it and the type you’re using, you might need to use a backup birth control method (like a condom and spermicide) along with the Pill for 7 days.4 Your HCP will be able to guide you here.
6. What if I take other medications or supplements?
Some medications don’t work well with the Pill and can lower its effectiveness5; be prepared for your visit with your HCP with a list of medications and supplements you take.
7. If I want to start a family, how long after discontinuing the Pill can I get pregnant?
It is possible to get pregnant after discontinuing the Pill, although everyone's timetable is different.6 You should talk to your HCP if you have a timeline for pregnancy in mind, as they will be able to help you formulate a plan that works best for your individual journey.
8. How soon after giving birth can I begin taking the Pill again?
Depending on the type of Pill you take, you may be advised to wait several weeks after giving birth to begin taking the Pill again. Before you start taking the Pill, go to your HCP for a checkup to get a good gauge on your overall health and confirm that your body is ready to go back on the Pill.7
Visit KnowYourBirthControl.com for more information.
This resource was created with support from Allergan.
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Allergan® is a trademark of Allergan, Inc.