Commonly Asked Questions About Birth Control

Dr. Angela Seabright
Elise LaPointe

| 3 min read

Female doctor writing a prescription for female patient
Making the decision to go on birth control can be stressful. You may have a million questions swirling in your head prior to your first doctor’s visit or maybe you don’t even know where to begin. Here’s a list of the most asked questions to make the decision to go on birth control a stress-free process.
How easy is birth control?
There are many different birth control methods with different levels of involvement. IUDs are a method with little interaction that can be effective for years. There is an option of a pill, patch or shot that must be taken on a schedule.
The pill must be consumed around the same time every day, the patch must be replaced around the same time every four weeks and the shot must be administered every 12 weeks. An alarm set for the same time every day or a reminder is helpful to stay on track with birth control methods that require a higher degree of involvement.
How do contraceptives work?
There are two hormones that play different roles in preventing pregnancy. Progestin thickens the mucus on the cervix and thins the walls of the uterus to prevent sperm from reaching an egg to fertilize it. Estrogen and progestin work together to also stop ovulation, which means an egg won’t be released each month during your menstrual cycle. No egg means no fertilization.
Most birth control methods are extremely effective if followed correctly (99% effective).
Does my partner still have to wear condoms?
You should continue to wear condoms if you have a new sexual partner because none of the birth control methods protect against sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
Your partner should wear a condom if you missed a pill, as well.
What should I expect?
Most birth control methods can help reduce acne and PMS. They can also help regulate periods and make the flow lighter during your period. Many women are actually prescribed birth control not as contraceptives but rather to help regulate periods or help with acne.
Just like every medication there are some side effects that include mood changes, spotting between periods, weight gain, nausea, breast tenderness and headaches.
What if I’m not happy with the method I choose?
Have a chat with your doctor; there are an abundance of other methods to choose from. However, if you don’t want to be on birth control, you can stop taking contraceptives at any time or have an IUD removed with no questions asked.
Will I have to pay for anything?
Your birth control can be fully covered depending on your insurance plan. Check with your health care provider before making a final decision.
Are there any long-term effects on fertility?
It may take a few months for ovulation to begin once you stop taking birth control and up to a year for the cervical mucus to thin to allow sperm to reach an egg. This may be something to think about for women starting a family later in life. However, there are no long-term effects on fertility.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your next doctor’s visit. Your doctor is there to help you make the best decision and is an expert on the topic. They will help you decide what the best birth control option is for you.
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Photo credit: nortonrsx

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