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OCPs are highly effective when taken exactly as prescribed. However, OCPs do not prevent STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Using condoms while on an OCP can help prevent STIs.
Ask your health care provider about the possible side effects of the OCP you may be prescribed. Be aware that it can take 2–3 months for your body to adjust to changes in hormone levels.
Birth control pills contain the hormones estrogen and progestin (synthetic progesterone) or progestin only.
The combination pill
This type of pill is often called the mini-pill and contains the progestin hormone only. It comes in packs of 28 pills. In some packs, the last 4 pills are placebos. The pill must be taken at the same time every day. This is very important to prevent pregnancy. Menstrual bleeding may not be regular or predictable.
Follow instructions from your health care provider about how to start taking your first cycle of OCPs. Depending on when you start the pill, you may need to use a backup form of birth control, such as condoms, during the first week. Make sure you know what steps to take if you forget to take the pill.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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