When taken correctly and consistently, the birth control pill (combined oral contraceptives) is highly effective in preventing pregnancy. The typical failure rate for the pill is around 9 pregnancies per 100 women in one year of use. However, with perfect use, the failure rate can be as low as 1 pregnancy per 100 women in one year.
To achieve the highest effectiveness with the pill, it's crucial to follow these guidelines:
Take it at the same time daily: Taking the pill at the same time each day helps maintain a consistent hormone level in your body, reducing the chance of ovulation and pregnancy.
Don't miss doses: Missing even one pill can increase the risk of pregnancy, especially if it happens in the first or last week of a pill pack.
Use a backup method: If you vomit or have severe diarrhea within a few hours of taking the pill, its effectiveness might be reduced. In such cases, use a backup method (like condoms) for additional protection.
Avoid medications that interact with the pill: Some medications, like certain antibiotics and anticonvulsants, can interfere with the effectiveness of the pill. Always inform your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking.
Start each new pack on time: Be sure to start your new pill pack on time, even if you haven't finished the previous one. This ensures continuous protection against pregnancy.
It's important to understand that the pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For protection against both pregnancy and STIs, it's recommended to use condoms or other barrier methods in addition to the pill.
While the birth control pill is highly effective when used correctly, no method is infallible. If you have concerns about your birth control method or experience any issues with it, consult your healthcare provider to explore other options or ensure you are using the method correctly.