PhD. Over the years, Ahmed has seen many of her own patients take oral contraceptives simply because it was what was recommended and available to them when they first needed birth control. “They just decide to stick with it because it’s what their friends are doing and they don’t think about anything else,” Dr. Ahmed said. “Many of them changed over time as they learned about other options, [some of which] didn’t require their daily pills.”
Your Birth Control Failed .
A good sign that you need a new birth control method: Your current birth control is failing. Like, you’re using it and still pregnant. In some cases, the failure may be due to not being able to take it as recommended; in other cases, Dr. Ahmed says, the failure may occur despite perfect or near-perfect use.
Quick Reminder – No birth control is 100% effective. For example, the pill is 99 percent effective when used properly, but the actual effectiveness (“typical use,” or how most people actually use it, which may include the occasional missed dose) is closer to 91 percent, according to Planned Parenthood. If you become pregnant while using birth control, discuss it with your doctor to find out why this method has failed so you can choose a method that is better for you.
Are there any risks in switching birth control methods?
In most cases, there are no serious risks associated with switching from one method of birth control to another. Just make sure your doctor has all your current health details so you don’t switch to a method for which you have contraindications.
Some side effects, such as irregular periods, are normal when you switch birth control pills. They’re just one example of your body adapting to a new way, which can take as long as six to eight weeks, Samantha M. Dunham, M.D., clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Health, tells SELF. If you still have side effects after several months, talk to your doctor.
“The biggest disadvantage of frequent switching is that different types of birth control have different mechanisms of action and when switching, the new method may not be effective for a period of time,” Dr. Ahmad said. Some forms of birth control work instantly, such as the copper IUD, which can even be used as emergency contraception if inserted within five days of unprotected sex. Other medicines take longer to work, including birth control pills, IUDs, implants, and hormonal IUDs, depending on when in your cycle you start taking them.
use as your body adjusts to your new contraceptive and you adjust to your new routine Reliable backup Methods like condoms can prevent pregnancy, says Dr. Baick. Depending on your current birth control method and the type you want to switch, you may need to start using a new birth control method before you stop using the old one, she adds. The overlap time depends on the specific type of method used – your doctor can tell you exactly what you need to do.
What to do if you decide to change your contraceptive method
Before changing your contraceptive method, the most important thing is to meet the Discuss your options with your doctor. “Make sure your doctor is up-to-date with your medical history and understands your preferences in terms of frequency of use, hormone vs. no hormone, permanent vs. reversible/temporary,” says Dr. Ahmad. “With this information, you and your provider can determine the best type of birth control for your specific needs and goals.”
Dr. Dunham, testing a new method It probably doesn’t hurt to see if it’s a better fit for you and your current priorities. “The method that’s right for you is the one you’re comfortable using and will use regularly.” If you want to do some research before your doctor’s appointment, Dr. Dunham recommends checking out Bedsider, an online birth control support designed to help prevent unwanted pregnancies network.
Finally, keep up with your yearly annual checkup to ensure you are still using the method that works best for you, despite any sudden life or health changes. Like any other aspect of your overall health, your birth control needs your attention. Even if checking in is just to confirm that you’re on the right track, it’s great to know.