Planned Parenthood is good not only for parents but also for the children. If you have gone thr ough the birth control procedures mentioned in one of our previous articles and are planning to select oral contraceptives as your birth control method, here is all you need to know about the pills.

Also read: Your complete guide to contraception( birth control)

What Is It?

Birth control pills are one of the simple means of birth control. They contain synthetic hormones estrogen and progestin which are two of the hormones found active in human body during menstrual cycle.

How Do They Work?

The synthetic estrogen and progesterone in the pills prevent the release of other hormones in the body which cause pregnancy. Combination pills (containing both hormones) have better effect than mini pills (containing only progestin). However, females not tolerant to combination pills can go for mini pills.

How to Use the Pills?

Conventional pack: Contains 21 active pills and 7 inactive pills or 24 active pills and 4 inactive pills. Bleeding occurs when you take the inactive pills.

Continuous dose/ extended cycle: Contains 84 active pills and seven inactive pills. Bleeding occurs four times a year on ingestion of inactive pills.

Which Pills to be Selected?

Depending on your health status and lifestyle, your health care provider will guide you regarding the selection of the pills suitable for you. Combination pills are not recommended in certain cases such as for breast feeding mother, females above 35 years of age, smokers or if you have some other medical problem.

How Soon Do the Birth Control Pills Act?

Birth control pills are usually effective from the first month you begin taking them. However, during the first month, it is recommended to also use some other birth control method such as condom.

Also read: Other alternative methods of contraception along with thier pros and cons.


  • Decreased risk of cancer of certain organs of reproductive system
  • Improvement in acne
  • Reduction in severity of menstrual cramps
  • Improved bone mineral density
  • Reduction in heavy bleeding
  • Relief from premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Shorter, lighter and more predictable periods, or fewer or no periods
  • Avoidance of certain risks associated with pregnancies which include blood clots, ectopic pregnancy and increased nausea and breast tenderness.



  • No protection against sexually transmitted infections  (STDs), including HIV
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Irregular bleeding, bloating, breast tenderness, nausea, depression, weight gain and headache

Some Points to Remember:

  • Keep another form of birth control such as condoms, in case you miss a pill.
  • Carry your birth control pills with you if you don’t always sleep at the same place.
  • Take your pill at the same time every day.
  • Get new pack before the previous one ends.




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