Guide to Birth Control Pills- Types, safety and their effectiveness



Birth control pills or contraceptive pills help to prevent pregnancy by almost 99%. Birth control pills or tablets to avoid pregnancy are considered a safe and effective way to delay pregnancy and have unsafe sex without the risk of becoming pregnant. Pills to avoid pregnancy contain hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers and also help to improve problems associated with acne and endometriosis.

The kind of birth control you choose to use as a pill to prevent pregnancy is an individual choice, although there are several options that one can pick from. If you are sexually active and can get pregnant, then birth control medicines could be an effective method to avoid pregnancy.

What Are the Types of Pills Used to Avoid or Delay Pregnancy?

Tablets to avoid pregnancy, also known as contraception, are called birth control pills. Women often use these pills to have unprotected sex without the risk of becoming pregnant. If you wish to take medicine to avoid pregnancy, it is advisable to seek a gynaecologist online consultation or a face-to-face one to ensure you are doing the right thing.

If you are looking at getting pregnant later, then it is important to seek medical advice about the choice of pill to prevent pregnancy that you will be taking.

Pills to avoid pregnancy contain hormones that stop the ovulation process or egg release from the ovaries. Some of the pills also alter the lining wall of the uterus to reduce the chances of implantation of an egg that has been fertilised.

The birth control medicine to avoid pregnancy comes in a pack. It is a 28-day cycle where you must take one pill daily. The pill must be taken daily, preferably in the same time frame. This helps to regulate the hormones and reduce the chances of getting pregnant. Let us take a look at the different types of birth control pills to avoid pregnancy:

Combination Pills

Combination pills contain synthetic contents of oestrogen and progesterone (hormones). Oestrogen is the hormone that controls the menstrual cycle. Oestrogen levels are high during the middle phase of your menstrual cycle and lowest when you have a period or have just finished it.

The hormone progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy post-ovulation or the release of an egg as it thickens the endometrium. When progesterone levels are high, they help in preventing ovulation. Combination pills or tablets to avoid pregnancy come in a pack of 28. All these tablets contain hormones that control the hormone levels. There are different kinds of combination pills:

  • Monophasic pills- These pills to avoid pregnancy come in a 1-month cycle pack. Every active pill in the pack releases the same dose of hormones. You can skip or take inactive pills in the last few days of your menstrual cycle and still have a period.
  • Multiphasic pills- These pills come in a 1-month cycle pack and send different levels of hormones through the entire cycle. The inactive pills can be skipped or taken during the last week of the cycle, and you will still have a period.
  • Extended-cycle pills- These come in a 13-week cycle pack. Active pills are taken for 12 weeks, and during the last week of the menstrual cycle, the inactive pills can be skipped or taken, and you will still undergo a menstrual cycle. With this pill, you will only have a period three or four times a year.

A few brand names of combination pills are:

  • Azurette
  • Beyaz
  • Enpresse
  • Estrostep Fe
  • Kariva
  • Levora
  • Natazia
  • Ocella
  • Low-Ogestrel
  • Ortho-Novum
  • Ortho Tri-Cyclen
  • Seasonale
  • Seasonique
  • Velvet
  • Yasmin
  • Yaz

Progestin-only Pills

Progestin-only tablets to avoid pregnancy contain progestin, a kind of synthetic progesterone without any oestrogen. This is also called the mini pill. These pills are also prescribed for those who experience heavy bleeding during the period. It is also a wise choice for those who cannot take oestrogen-based pills owing to health reasons. This could include

  • People on anti-epileptic medication
  • People with heart ailments and a history of stroke
  • People who have blood clots or deep vein thrombosis
  • People with peripheral vascular disease.
  • People above 35 who smoke

The pills in a progestin-only pack are all active, and you may have or not have a period if you take these pills. A few brand names for progestin pills are:

  • Camila
  • Errin
  • Heather
  • Jencycla
  • Nor-QD
  • Ortho Micronor

What are the Pros and Cons of Birth Control Pills?

As with any medication, birth control pills come with their own set of pros and cons.

The pros are:

  • When taken correctly, they are very effective and are the best birth control method.
  • They are good for women with irregular menstrual cycles or heavy periods.
  • After complete consumption, your cycle will return to normal.

The cons are:

  • They do not protect you against any sexually transmitted diseases, and hence you and your partner must use condoms.
  • You must be regular when taking the pill and try not to miss it. Take it within a 3-12 hour window; otherwise, it increases the pregnancy risk.
  • You must ensure you have a stock of the pills. Any delays in starting a new pack could increase the risk of pregnancy.

What Are the Side Effects of Birth Control Pills?

Birth control pills are a great way to avoid pregnancy but have side effects. Each individual reacts differently to it. However, some common side effects are:

  • Reduced sex drive
  • Nausea
  • Spotting or bleeding between the period
  • Tender or sore breasts
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headaches
  • Vaginal discharge

Most of these side effects will disappear after a few months. If they do not, then you must consult a doctor.

When to Talk to a Gynaecologist?

Many birth control pills are available today, and it is the best choice for those wishing to delay pregnancy. Seek a gynaecologist online consultation to decide which one is best for you. Make sure you ask the right questions. Below are a few questions you can ask your doctor.

  • Which pill is the best choice for me?
  • Will my medication affect the pill's effectiveness or cause further issues?
  • Is there a possibility of a blood clot if I take the pill?
  • What action should I follow if I forget to take the pill?
  • What are other options for birth control apart from the pill?


Birth control pills to avoid pregnancy are oral contraceptives that help prevent pregnancy. Each pill contains small amounts of the oestrogen and progesterone hormone in synthetic form. They have a 95% chance of success when administered correctly. When taken correctly, they have a 91% success rate. Before taking pills to avoid pregnancy, seek medical advice or a gynaecologist consultation to determine the best pill for you.