What you need to know about going on the pill for the first time

For those of us who are sexually active, birth control pills are one of the best ways to avoid getting pregnant – as they are 99.9% effective when taken correctly. But for someone who has never used them before, what can you expect when you go on the pill?

You won’t get immediate protection

While the pill is great for avoiding pregnancy, it won’t protect you from the first day that you take them. During the first month, there is still a chance that you ovulated before starting the pill, so there could be an egg ready for fertilization. This is why it’s important that you use additional protection during this time. Then, after your first month, the hormones in the active pills should prevent you from ovulating.

There will be side effects

You can expect that the first three months of being on the pill won’t be easy. This is because your body is being flooded with hormones that not part of its usual cycle. While these side effects will differ from person to person the most common ones are headaches, nausea, bleeding irregularities, spotting, weight gain or loss and breast tenderness. These side effects normally end after the first three months, but if they persist then you should see a doctor.

You may get super emotional

Because of the changes and fluctuations of hormones in your body, you may notice some moodiness and extreme emotions. This is why you should keep a log of your moods from before you start the pill to the first three months that you’re on it. So you know if it’s the pill causing these. If the symptoms get worse or don’t go away after three months, then you may need to speak to a doctor about switching to a different brand or going off them altogether.

Your period may not start on the first day of the inactive pill

If you are on an extended-cycle pill, then you take the pill for 12 weeks followed by one week of inactive pills. When you take the inactive pills, that’s when your menstrual cycle begins. However, during your first month on the pill your period may not come on the first day that you take these pills. But don’t fret! Your body is probably still getting used to this new patterned cycle, so it will come eventually.

There are benefits too!

While your first few months of being on the pill may not be so great, you can rest assured that there are benefits that come with being on the pill. These can include regulating your cycle, reducing unwanted hair growth and acne as well as reducing your chances of endometrial, ovarian, and colon cancer.

It is up to every individual to decide whether or not to go on the pill. If you are interested, make sure to speak to your doctor about your options and what else you could expect if you go on the pill.

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