Does the contraceptive pill affect your fertility? I heard it causes weight gain? We will address some of the common myths that you may have heard.
Birth control pills get a bad reputation, mostly because they are not well understood. Your friends, relatives, and even your yoga teacher probably have opinions about the pill, whether they’ve taken them or not and this can fuel your fears. But modern birth control pills are extremely safe – they have been tried and tested over multiple studies to confirm that they work without harmful side effects. To clear your doubts, we answered some of your most common queries.
Are There Any Health Risks of The Contraceptive Pill?
Modern contraceptive pills are generally very safe. But as with any medication, you could experience some side effects The most common side effects are nausea, headaches, temporary elevations in blood pressure, breast pain, bloating, mood changes, low libido and spotting blood in between periods. Often these side effects improve after a few months of use. There are certain factors that may make the pill not a good option for you such as if you’re a smoker, greater than 35 years old, have heart conditions, or a personal or family history of blood clots. Ask your Veera doctor if the pill is right for you.
Does the Pill Affect Your Weight?
You’ve probably heard this myth because older types of birth control pills contained relatively high amounts of a certain oestrogen, which can result in weight gain. However, today’s birth control pills are formulated differently and contain lower amounts of hormones so weight gain is rarely a problem. Many scientific studies with these newer types of birth control have proven that weight gain is not a significant side effect. A temporary side effect may be that the pills increase water retention which can ultimately affect your weight, however, this is usually temporary and will go away in a few months. The only contraceptive method with weight gain as a significant side effect is the Depo Shot injection with an average weight gain of ~2kgs.
Do Contraceptive Pills Give You Acne?
Actually, doctors actively prescribe birth control containing oestrogen to help with acne and make your skin better – two benefits in one! Only certain types of pills that only contain the hormone progestin (progesterone-only pills aka POP)can make your acne a little bit worse temporarily. Talk to your gynaecologist if this is something you’re concerned about.
Can You Get Pregnant as Soon as You Stop Taking the Pill?
If you would like to get pregnant or if you stopping taking the pill, you can potentially become pregnant quickly. It will take you around two to four weeks to get back to your normal menstrual cycle, however your fertility may take a few months to return to normal. If you do not want to get pregnant, it is essential to use condoms or another source of contraception after you stop taking pills.
Does the Pill Increase Your Chances of Being Infertile?
Nope! Many studies have shown that even long-term use of the contraceptive pill does not affect your fertility. It might take a while for your periods to settle down, however, the pregnancy rate 1 year after discontinuation of birth control pills is the same as if you didn’t take any, meaning taking pills does not reduce your chances of having a baby in the future.
Are You Still Protected Against Pregnancy If You Forget to Take the Pill?
Your chances of getting pregnant depends on three things: what type of pill you are taking, how late you are with the tablet that you have missed and what week you are in your pack of pills. General rule-of-thumb, for combination pills (containing both oestrogen and progesterone) missing one pill isn’t a big deal, but if you miss 2 pills or more use a back-up contraceptive method like a condom for the first 7 days and take emergency contraception if you had unprotected sex. For progestin-only pills, if you’re late by more than 3 hours, take it as soon as you remember, and use a back-up method like a condom for 7 days; if you miss 2 pills or more use a condom for 7 days and take emergency contraception if you had unprotected sex. Here’s more details about what you should do if you miss taking your birth control pill. <link pending>
What Happens When You Accidentally Take the Pill Twice in a Day?
You can chill about your pills if you took one extra. It may make you feel a bit nauseated or give you a headache, but it is not going to do you any harm. Just make sure that you take your next pill on time the following day.
How Can You Get Your Hands on The Contraceptive Pill?
You will need a prescription, but you can get your pills from a Veera provider in our virtual clinic! You can also get them from any women’s health clinic, a hospital or even a sexual health centre. Once you have a prescription, you can pick it up at any pharmacy.
Hopefully, you found all the information about the contraceptive pill easy to swallow. If you have any more questions or are ready to start the pill, you can book an online appointment with one of the experts on our portal.
Reviewed by Dr. Shailly Prasad, MD/MBA. Resident Physician, Obstetrics & Gynecology.Disclaimer: Content on Veera is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice given by a physician or trained professional.
References: Gallo, M. F., Lopez, L. M., Grimes, D. A., Carayon, F., Schulz, K. F., & Helmerhorst, F. M. (2014). Combination contraceptives: effects on weight. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (1), CD003987. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD003987.pub5 Girum, T., & Wasie, A. (2018). Return of fertility after discontinuation of contraception: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Contraception and reproductive medicine, 3, 9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40834-018-0064-y Lopez, L. M., Ramesh, S., Chen, M., Edelman, A., Otterness, C., Trussell, J., & Helmerhorst, F. M. (2016). Progestin-only contraceptives: effects on weight. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 2016(8), CD008815. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD008815.pub4