Family PACT

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        All about the Birth Control Pill

        The Birth Control Pill is a small pill a woman takes
        every day to keep from getting pregnant.

        The pill has two kinds of hormones like the ones made in a
        woman’s body. These hormones keep the woman’s eggs from
        leaving her ovaries. There are many kinds of birth control pills
        with different amounts of these hormones in them.
        Department of Health Care Services Family PACT logo
        Birth Control Pills Packet

        There are many types
        of birth control pills.

        How does the Pill work?

        Every day at the same time the woman takes one pill. The pills
        she takes for the first three weeks have hormones in them. The
        hormones stay at the level needed to keep her from getting
        pregnant. With some kinds of pills, the pills at the end of the pack   
        have no hormones. In others, all of the pills have hormones.

        How well does it work?

        The pill is very good at keeping women from getting pregnant.
        Only about 9 women out of 100 who use the pill for a year
        get pregnant.

        How do I get the Pill?

        A Family PACT provider can help. Tell your
        provider about:

        • Any health problems you may have.
        • Any medicine you may be taking.

        Your provider can help you decide if the pill is
        right for you. There are many kinds of pills. If
        one is not right for you, another one might be.

        What do women like about using
        the Pill?

        • It does not interrupt having sex.
        • It can help a woman know when she is
          going to have her periods.
        • It can lessen the cramps and heavy
          bleeding that some women have during
          their periods.
        • It can also help lessen acne and prevent
          breast cysts.

        Woman Taking Birth Control Pill The woman takes a pill every day.

        What do some women dislike?

        • You must remember to take the pill        
          at the same time every day.
        • Some women may have problems
          with side effects.

        The Pill may not be safe for some
        women to use.

        Talk with your Family PACT provider
        about medications that you take or health
        problems you may have. For example:

        • ‹‹Migraine headaches
        • You are over 35 years old and smoke  
        • Have a history of blood clots, heart
          disease, stroke
        • Are being treated for high blood
          pressure or diabetes
        • Have a history of breast cancer or liver

        How do I use the Pill?

        Start taking your pills the day your Family
        PACT provider says. Your provider may tell
        you to take the first pill on the same day of
        your visit.

        • Take one pill every day until the
          whole pack is gone.
        • Take your pills at the same time every

        Find a way to remember to take your pill
        every day. For example, you could take your
        pill right after you brush your teeth in the

        For the first 7 days after you start to take the
        pill, use another method, like condoms, every
        time you have sex. This will help protect you
        while you get used to taking the pill.

        You may not want to get your period each
        month. You can choose to skip the week of
        hormone-free pills. When you finish your
        third week of pills, you would start a new
        pack of pills. Or you can use pills packaged
        to do this. Talk to your provider to learn more.

        What about side effects?

        Some side effects of the pill are:

        • Spotting and bleeding between periods
        • Nausea
        • Breast tenderness
        • Mood changes
        • Changes in sex drive

        Watch for these warning signs.

        Call your provider right away if you have:

        • ‹‹Sudden headaches
        • Eye problems (blurry vision)
        • Sharp, sudden pain in the leg,
          chest, or abdomen

        What do I do if I miss any pills?

        One late or missed pill (up to 48 hours):

        • Take late or missed pill as soon
          as you can
        • Also, keep taking a pill every day
          at the regular time
        • ‹‹No need to use a back-up method
        • You may want to use emergency
          contraception (EC) if you have
          missed pills earlier in the same pack,
          or if you missed pills during the last
          week of the previous pack.

        Two or more missed pills:

        • Take only one pill as soon as you
          can, throw away other missed pills
        • Also, keep taking a pill every day at
          the regular time
        • Use a backup method like condoms       
          until the hormonal pills have been
          taken for 7 continuous days
        • If you missed pills during the third
          week of the pack, finish the hormonal
          pills, then go right to the hormonal
          pills of the next pack. In other words,
          when you get to the spacer pills, skip
          them altogether and start the next pack.
        • You may want to use EC if:
          • You missed two or more pills
            during the first week of the pack
            AND had unprotected sex during
            the previous 5 days
          • You should not use UPA (Ella)
            EC pills and birth control pills
            at the same time

        The Birth Control Pill does not protect you from
        HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and other
        infections that people get from having sex.
        Use condoms (for men or women) along with
        the Pill to protect yourself from these infections.

        2012 Department of Health Care Services, Office of Family Planning. All Rights Reserved. Revised 2017                                                   
        For additional copies, go to:
        OF2577 Pill ENG