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Health Matters Fact Sheet

Is the Pill Right for You?

(Updated June 2014)

The pill is a medicine that keeps you from getting pregnant. It comes in many different types.

The pill works because of the hormones in it. They make the mucus in your cervix thicker. This keeps sperm from getting into your uterus (womb). They also stop your ovaries from releasing eggs.

Here are some facts to help you decide if this form of birth control is right for you.

The pill works very well — if taken at the same time each day

  • In a year less than 1 out of 100 women get pregnant who use the pill the right way. That means they take it each day. And they always take it at the same time of day (for instance, 12 noon every day).
  • In a year 8 out of 100 women get pregnant who use it the wrong way. That means they may miss some days. Or they may take it at different times (for instance, 9 in the morning on Monday and 5 in the evening on Tuesday).

Remember: Use backup birth control (like a condom) for the first week you get on the pill. The pill takes a little time to start working after you start using it.

The pill gives you control and peace of mind

  • You choose what time of day to take it.
  • You choose how often you get your period. This can be once a month, once every 3 months — or even once a year. It depends on how you take the pill.
  • You don’t need to think about birth control each time you have sex.

The pill is safe for most women

  • The pill can lower your chance of getting cancer of the uterus or ovaries, getting acne, PMS symptoms, and migraine headaches.
  • You may have bleeding between periods and tender breasts. You may also feel sick to your stomach. These problems will likely go away after a few months.
  • Use a condom to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • You should not use the pill if you smoke — especially if you are older than 35.
  • Ready to have a baby? Most women can get pregnant quickly once they stop using the pill.

Ask your health care provider if the pill is right for you. To compare it to other forms of birth control, go to

This fact sheet was made possible by an educational grant from Teva Pharmaceuticals.