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7 tips to keep in mind before starting oral contraceptive pills (OCPs)

Bookmark this page if you are using oral contraceptive or birth control pills.

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : September 14, 2017 2:00 PM IST

OCPs (oral contraceptive pills) are not just used to prevent unwanted pregnancy. OCPs may also be prescribed to maintain the hormonal balance for women suffering from hormonal disorders such as PCOS. As these pills come with their share of pros and cons, it is important to talk to your gynaecologist beforehand if you are planning to use one. Read about things your gynaecologist wants you to know. So if your gynaecologist has recommended OCPs or if you are taking OCPS for the first time, here are few things you must take into consideration says Dr Nandita Palshetkar, Medical Director, Bloom IVF.

1. If you are taking OCPs as a measure to prevent unwanted pregnancy, then do remember to keep another form of birth control handy, like spermicidal cream and condoms, in case you forget to take a pill. This is because, in the heat of action, you might forget about pills. Hence, it is wise to be safe than sorry. Also, pills do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Did you know you can get pregnant even when you are on birth control pills?

2. If you are taking OCPs, then make sure you take your pills at the same time every day. This is because it is important to maintain the hormonal levels in the body. If you take a pill at odd times in a day, then the hormone levels will fluctuate, which might lead to an unwanted pregnancy.

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3. Get your refills soon after you start the last prescription. It can prevent you from missing the birth control pills and the last minute hustle and bustle. Read about will I get pregnant if I miss taking the birth control pill?

4. Some medicines can interfere with OCPs. Before taking any medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it would interfere with the pill from working properly.

5. If you miss a pill, take it immediately as you recall. This may mean taking two pills in one day. If you still have a doubt, then do consult your gynaecologist about the same. Here's what should you do when you miss a birth control pill?

6. After every 3 months on OCPs, you should take a gap of at least a month before continuing it for the next 3 months. You should not use OCPs for long periods as it might lead to a severe hormonal imbalance in the body.

7. OCPs are not only recommended to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but also to treat acne (due to an underlying hormonal problem) and other conditions. The dosage, duration and the types of the pills might vary accordingly. Inform your gynaecologist if you are already taking any hormonal pills so the doctor can make any changes in the dosage and the type of OCPs prescribed. Also, read about what to expect when you start OCPs (oral contraceptive pills)?

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