Are Birth Control Pills 100% Effective?

Are Birth Control Pills 100% Effective?

Being prepared with accurate birth control methods is the first step toward protected and safe sexual intercourse. In fact, opting for birth control pills is one such method that is almost 99% effective. With a wide range of contraceptive methods ranging from hormonal contraception, condoms to calendar methods, it’s important to consider the effectiveness, availability and affordability into consideration before choosing a contraceptive method. 

What Are Birth Control Pills?
Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptives, are medications taken to eliminate the chances of an unplanned pregnancy. For a deeper understanding, what you need to know is that these pills contain hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs during ovulation, and also thicken cervical mucus thereby acting as a barrier between the sperm and eggs, preventing pregnancy.

The cycle of contraceptives varies from 21-day to 28-day packages depending on the type of the pill consumed. Whereas, not every type of pill is good for each woman. Seeking medical opinion while considering various bodily factors holds the utmost importance. 

The cycle of contraceptives varies from 21-day to 28-day packages depending on the type of the pill consumed. While deciding on the birth control pill, there exists a Combination pill and Progestin-only pills or mini-pills which have to be taken one pill at the same time each day. A few things to consider before deciding your method of birth control:

  • Menstrual symptoms 
  • Cardiovascular health 
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Recent childbirth and breastfeeding 
  • Short-term and long-term reproductive goals
  • Other regular medications 

While birth control pills are quite effective compared to other forms of contraceptives, the benefits aren’t just limited to protection against unplanned pregnancy. Many times hormonal birth control pills are also prescribed to regulate irregular menstrual cycles and ease severe menstrual cramps. Contrary to what most people perceive, birth control pills are reversible and do not hinder the process of conceiving when planned. 

A few things to note if you plan to take the pill:

1. Keep a tab on the pill cycle
Be sure to take the pill every day, preferably at the same time. It helps in upkeeping the birth control cycle. In case a dose is missed, it is advised to take another form of contraception for the next seven days to prevent pregnancy.

2. Follow the timeline
An oral contraceptive takes around seven days to enable its birth control mechanism. Maintain a track of your birth control pills. If indulging in any sexual activity in between, make sure to use other forms of contraceptives. 

3. Stay protected against STDs
While birth control pills are quite effective in preventing pregnancy, they do not ensure protection against sexually transmitted diseases. To make sure you stay clear of contracting STDs, use other forms of contraceptives like condoms, permanent sterilization, etc. Also, seamless and transparent communication with sexual partners is the key to eliminate any risk of sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

Not everyone but some people may experience the side effects of birth control pills including headaches, nausea, bleeding between periods or spotting, breast tenderness, weight gain as well as mood swings. While these symptoms will go away as the body gets adjusted to the pill mechanisms, be sure to seek medical help if it persists. 

For birth control, no one-size-fits-all, what works for others might not work for you. A lot of women seek hormone-free birth control methods to steer clear of any side effects caused by hormonal contraception. 

What Are Some Non-hormonal Methods of Birth Control?

The most common form of birth control, condoms act as a barrier against pregnancy. It comes in two versions, the male condom (worn on the penis) and the female or internal condom (inserted into the vagina). Being a natural method of contraception that is almost 85% effective in most cases, they also help in preventing sexually transmitted infections. 

Birth Control Sponge
Another method of non-hormonal contraception is birth control sponge. It is made of soft foam that is placed inside the vagina before intercourse, where it releases spermicide with a small loop for removal. It acts as a barrier that prevents sperm from traveling through the cervix, and the spermicide prevents sperm from moving beyond the sponge, thereby preventing pregnancy. While its birth control effectiveness ranges between 76% and 88%, it shouldn't be left inside for more than 30 hours. 

Calendar Method 
An ancient, yet most used non-hormonal method where the calendar is used as a form of fertility awareness-based birth control. It’s important to ensure time-to-time observation of body temperature, daily changes of cervical mucus as well as the due date of the period. By determining the fertile stages in the menstrual cycle, avoiding sexual intercourse on particular days prevents pregnancy. 

Emergency Contraceptives  
Always be ready with a Plan-B! Also known as ‘the morning-after pill’, emergency birth control pills are available over-the-counter at pharmacy stores. It doesn’t require a prescription and is effective if taken within three to five days after unprotected sexual intercourse.

By: Navreet Kaur | on 2020-09-24

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