The contraceptive pill is a tablet that a woman takes every day. It releases hormones into your body. This prevents you from becoming pregnant.
Britt Talk about the pill
Is the contraceptive pill suitable for you? In this episode of Britt Talk, Britt and Ellis ask Doctor Rosa everything they want to know about it.
This is how you take the pill
You swallow a pill every day at the same time. The pills come in a blister strip that usually contains 21 pills. Once you've taken them all, you don’t take any pills for 7 days. This is called the pill-free week. In that week you’ll have a bleed. You’re still protected against pregnancy while you’re not taking any pills. After the pill-free week, you’ll start a new blister strip. You can start using the new strip even if you’re still bleeding after the 7 days. The bleeding will stop by itself.
Tips for use
- Take the pill at the same time every day (except in the pill-free week).
- Choose a pill that suits you. There are different types of pills.
- Carefully read the instruction leaflet.
Different types and brands
There are different types of pills with different names. Most pills are combined pills. They contain the hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
Ask your doctor which pill best suits your needs. Contact Sense if you find it hard to make a choice.
Where can you get the pill?
You can ask your doctor or Sense for a prescription or repeat prescription for the pill. With this, you can get the pill from a pharmacy.
You don’t necessarily have to bleed every 4 weeks. It’s possible to skip or shorten the pill-free week. You’ll then bleed less often or for a shorter time. The pill is still reliable and it’s not unhealthy either. Make sure you read about how that works. Have any doubts about it? Go to your doctor or ask Sense.
Not a real period
In the pill-free week you’ll bleed a bit. It looks like a period and it feels like that too, but you’re not really menstruating. How does that work? A proper period happens when an egg that’s left unfertilised in your uterus after ovulation is discarded. But if you take the pill properly, you don’t ovulate. So there’s no egg to be discarded. That's why you’re not really having a period. And that’s also why we don’t say that you’re having ‘your period' but that you are having 'a withdrawal bleed'.
Advantages and disadvantages
- If you use the pill correctly, it’s very reliable.
- You’ll know when there will be bleeding.
- You can plan your bleed whenever you want.
- You’ll often have less pain during a bleed.
- Sometimes you’ll have less acne.
- You might forget to take the pill.
- Sometimes you may have side effects such as headaches and tender breasts.
- The pill doesn’t protect against STIs.
When do you run the risk of pregnancy?
- You’ve forgetten to take the pill.
- You started your new strip too late (so your pill-free week is longer than 7 days).
- You’ve had diarrhoea or vomited.
- You haven’t taken the pill for a while because you haven’t had sex.
Remember: The pill doesn’t protect against STIs. To prevent STIs you must use condoms.