When it comes to discussing family planning options, most women turn to their OBGYNs first. Women who do not want to get pregnant, or women who may wish to wait until later in life to have children, often consider birth control. There are a variety of birth control options on the market, and factors such as lifestyle and budget play a role as to which birth control option is ideal for you. Of course, the million-dollar question is, “Can I still get pregnant while on birth control?”
Effectiveness of Birth Control
When used correctly, birth control pills are 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy; however, improper use of birth control pills can certainly decrease its efficacy. It’s important that you know exactly how to take birth control to protect against pregnancy. Here are some tips to protect yourself from getting pregnant while on “the pill”.
Don’t Miss a Dose
For birth control pills to be effective you must take them every day. So, what happens if you miss a day? Well, your hormone levels won’t remain consistent, which can increase your chances of getting pregnant. Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to take the pill. If you find that you keep forgetting to take your pill, you may want to talk to your gynecologist about other birth control options such as the patch, injection, or intrauterine devices (IUD) that you can “set and forget”.
Take the Dose at the Same Time
It’s also important that you are taking the pill at the same time every day to maintain proper hormone levels. This means taking the pill within a 3-hour window. If you miss that 3-hour window, you should use backup birth control such as condoms for the next two days. Setting an alarm on your phone can also ensure that you take the pill at the same time every day and that you also don’t miss a dose.
Certain Medications and Supplements May Interfere with Birth Control
Some medications can make birth control less effective and it’s important to know this to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Certain medications that can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills include,
- Anti-fungal medications
- Epilepsy medications
- Certain anti-viral medications
Make sure to talk to your OBGYN about your current medications, vitamins, and supplements to make sure that nothing interferes with the effectiveness. Even supplements and certain herbal treatments such as St. John’s Wort can decrease the effectiveness of birth control.
If you are interested in your family planning options and would like to talk to a qualified medical professional about which type of birth control is right for you, call your OBGYN today to schedule a consultation.