How to Know if Birth Control is Working?

How to Know if Birth Control is Working?

April 24, 2021
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Birth control pills, also known as “the pill,” is a very popular oral contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy. The pill is a very effective form of birth control when taken regularly. It is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy with perfect use, and approximately 91% effective with almost perfect use — which is a more realistic number for most women. 

The better you are at taking the pill every day, the more effective it will be, but no method is 100% perfect so it is important to learn more about the pill and proper birth control. This article answers some FAQs about the birth control pill and how to know if the pill is working for you.

What is the Birth Control Pill?

The birth control pill is type of hormonal birth control that needs to be taken orally at the same time every day. It is a very small, round pill that is easy to swallow. Some pills are even chewable!

Combination birth control pills work by delivering a small dose of estrogen and progestin that signals to the body to reduce or stop ovulation, to thicken the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus, and to thin the lining of the uterus to reduce the likelihood that an egg would be able to attach to the uterine lining if it were fertilized. 

There are also progestin-only pills, known as the mini-pill, that are a better option for some women, including women who are breastfeeding, are at high-risk for blood clots, or who cannot otherwise take estrogen.

In addition to preventing pregnancy, the pill can lighten or stop your menstrual cycle, help reduce hormonal acne, reduce painful cramping, reduce the risk of ovarian and cervical cancer, treat endometriosis, as well as other reproductive health benefits.

Birth control pills often come in a pill pack that includes four weeks of pills. There is usually three weeks (21 days) of active pills and one week (7 days) of inactive pills or placebo pills. Some pill packs can include 24 days, 90 days, or even up to 365 days of active pills. The active pills and inactive pills are often different colors so it is easy to keep track of where you are in the cycle.

Most women will have a menstrual cycle or spotting while taking the inactive pills and may experience some spotting if taking a pill pack with a longer active pill section.

How Do you Know if the Pill is Working?

Based on what type of pill you are taking and when you start, your doctor can help you figure out how long it will take for your pill to start working.

It can take up to seven days for the combination pill to be effective and up to two days for the progestin-only pill to be effective at preventing pregnancy after you take the first dose. If you have intercourse during this time period after starting the pill, be sure to use another form of contraception to be sure you are protected against unintended pregnancy. 

There might not be any obvious external signs that the pill is working, but if you are taking it at the same time every day and not experiencing any adverse side effects then the pill should be effective.

If you are using the pill for other reasons, such as controlling irregular bleeding or hormonal acne, it can take up to four months to see signs that the pill is working. Be patient as your body adjusts to the new treatment and stay consistent with taking it regularly.

Long-term signs that the pill is working might include clearer skin, regular periods, and lighter and less painful periods.

Is it Possible for Birth Control to Not Work?

With perfect use of the birth control pill, it is possible but very unlikely to have an unintended pregnancy. Unintended pregnancies while on the pill can be serious and in case of ectopic pregnancy life-threatening, so call your NYC gynecologist or women’s health professional right away if you have missed a period or think you might be pregnant. Your doctor can discuss emergency contraception and pregnancy test options with you.

Of course, sometimes you forget a pill. If you forget a pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you missed a whole day, take the previous day’s pill plus your regular dose. Be sure to use a backup method of contraception or abstain from intercourse until you’ve gotten back on a regular regimen with your pill pack. It is a good idea to set calendar reminders or an alarm on your phone to help you remember to take your pill each day.

It is recommended to always use a backup birth control method while on the pill, such as condoms, especially if you have any missed pills. It is also important to use a barrier method of birth control, such as condoms, to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 

How Do you Know if your Birth Control isn’t Working for You?

There are many different types of birth control pills so it is possible you will need to try a couple different kinds before you find the one that is right for your body. If you’re experiencing negative side effects from the pill, you may need to switch to another type of pill with different hormone dosages.

If you are experiencing any side effects, such as headaches, nausea, irritability and mood swings, breast tenderness, or abnormal spotting or breakthrough bleeding, speak with your health care provider about your birth control options. These side effects are common and can usually be resolved by a doctor.

If you don’t think birth control pills are working for you and you are interested in trying another method, ask your health care provider about other birth control options such as a hormonal intrauterine device (hormonal IUD), a non-hormonal copper IUD, or a vaginal ring such as the NuvaRing. These options are great for women who struggle with taking the pill on a regular daily basis because they are inserted into the body rather than taken orally. The vaginal ring can be used for three weeks at a time and IUDs can last for years.


Dr Yelena was amazing, she really made my visit easy and comfortable. Loved her, highly recommend!
Valentina M.
Valentina M.
18:12 24 Jun 22
Amazing customer service! Friendly and efficient! Made it fun going to the GYN!
Clara M.
Clara M.
23:28 16 Jun 22
I received the best medical treatment and follow up services at this clinic.
Dshea Kinta M.
Dshea Kinta M.
13:22 20 May 22
I was in need of a new GYNECOLOGIST. I found Great City Medical in a Google search. I spoke with a staff member after hours via live chat an was scheduled the earliest appointment very quickly. All my basic questions were answered. I was sent to patient portal link to pre-register and fill out the forms. Upon arrival I was greeted with a smile and checked in quickly, wait time was short before the nurse called me in to be triaged. I was placed in a room, which was very clean. Dr. Tsyba greeted me with a smile and was very polite and Thorough with the examination. She explained to me in detail what procedures were going to take place and what testing will be done. The staff was very Knowledgeable and helpful as a first-time patient I enjoyed my visit I highly recommend this practice.
Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.
19:00 16 May 22
The place is very nice, and people are kind and professional. The only downside is that I have waited more than I expected (even though I arrived way earlier than the scheduled time), but maybe it’s been just a coincidence. That being said, nothing else to complain about!
Elena F.
Elena F.
02:02 13 May 22
I waited about 30 min to see the Tech, then spent like 20 min with her as a new patient, then about 10 min. more to see Jaime, the NP who was available, since Dr. Tsyba was in surgery. Jaime then consulted with Dr. Tsyba. I was very satisfied with the gentle, compassionate and thorough care I received by Jaime, and the technician who performed the 2 ultrasounds I needed. I’m happy I found this OB/GYN doctor. I hope to meet Dr. Tysba soon.
Awilda R.
Awilda R.
17:44 12 May 22
They was wonderful, the front desk and even my doctors very gentle with everything they do..I felt very comfortable to open up to them about my needs and I definitely felt like I was in great hands, when it’s comes down to OBGYN’s it’s very hard finding loyalty ,honesty, and security with your doctors THIS WAS WONDERFUL..i found out everything I needed to know and I will definitely enjoy being a new patient here !!!
Londaisha :.
Londaisha :.
12:43 12 May 22
Place was valid … 💯 very respectful and calls patients in a timely manner
Leenia M.
Leenia M.
19:44 02 May 22
Me encantó la atención del personal, y sobre todo la ginecóloga Yelena Tsyba, quien fue la Dra. que fui a consulta, bueno ella es muy profesional, muy amable y gentil ; también la persona que me hizo el sonograma,todos me trataron con mucha gentileza; fue mi primera vez y quedé muy contenta satisfecha…
Sovilek O.
Sovilek O.
02:35 29 Apr 22
The doctor is brilliant!!!
Tyrone H.
Tyrone H.
19:15 21 Apr 22
Very nice always very professional
Madeline C.
Madeline C.
15:38 19 Apr 22
I have known Dr.Tsyba for many years, she sees my friends and my sister gave birth to three children with her, personally in my practice there were moments when I had to urgently go to other doctors, after which I kept returning to her. She, as like a mother, will not advise bad things and will do everything possible to help. The staff is also very responsive and polite professionally fit every patient. You feel at home confidentially. Thank you doctor for your professionalism. I wish you more assistants so that you do not get tired.
Fatima A.
Fatima A.
03:19 06 Apr 22
Great people who made me feel very comfortable for my first appointment at this establishment. Much appreciated.
Nicole De L.
Nicole De L.
16:40 04 Apr 22
Great place to get checked. The staff very professional, they take care of you on your appointment time and the clinic is very clean. My Doctor was great!!
Katty R.
Katty R.
10:43 18 Mar 22
My 1st time going here. All of the staff was friendly and helpful. I loved that I didn’t have to schedule an appointment to go somewhere else for ultrasound. I did 3 things in 1 day and the wait was ok
ivy b
ivy b
20:48 10 Mar 22
good service and everything was very fast no complaints I liked the place
Carmen W.
Carmen W.
18:50 07 Mar 22
It is great office with a best gynecologist Dr Yelena Tsyba
Simon L.
Simon L.
18:40 04 Mar 22
Very good. Attentive staff
Alla T.
Alla T.
22:26 01 Mar 22
Wonderful staff and excellent service
Ramar A.
Ramar A.
22:08 01 Mar 22
Very Professional
Ashlee W.
Ashlee W.
17:35 24 Feb 22
Very amazing service.
Natevia H.
Natevia H.
21:47 23 Feb 22
A++ Service. Great atention to issues and promt call at appointment time👍🏻
Ludo A
Ludo A
16:02 23 Feb 22
My first time visiting this practice. They were very through, from intake, which was done by a Dr. that I assumed was a nurse because he was so young lol. I wound up seeing Jaime who is a GYN NP, she was awesome. They asked a lot of questions about my history, which I really appreciated. Labs and Sonogram are done on-site. I will be returning.
Shay S.
Shay S.
17:25 18 Feb 22
Very nice place with very nice people the place is clean and quiet I love it there
Dj Shabba U.
Dj Shabba U.
01:44 18 Feb 22
Very well cared for. Doctors, nurses, & receptionist are wonderful
Joy H.
Joy H.
21:59 17 Feb 22
Very caring knowledgeable doctor highly recommend!
Alona K.
Alona K.
00:36 05 Feb 22
Great place to come for a Covid test. Everything went pretty quick. Results definitely weren’t ready in 15 min but, the clinic was very, very busy, so it’s understandable. The lady who sits in the middle was very professional, polite and very helpful. Would highly recommend this place!
Lynn In The C.
Lynn In The C.
19:51 03 Feb 22
Actively listened to my concerns and believed me when I said somethings not right. Did not brush me off. And focus on finding the cause to my issues. I definitely recommend. Very clean place.
justina R.
justina R.
16:40 03 Feb 22
Very good Doctor and excellent assistants!
Haydee
Haydee
14:15 29 Jan 22
Hello!Today was our first visit, I liked how doctor Tsyba is explaining to us about my daughter’s women health issue. Also I hope doctor will properly treat her/ my daughter. I’ll update later the results.Thank you,Norah & Maftuna.
Nora K.
Nora K.
19:03 28 Jan 22
Good attention, but they should follow the appointments schedule. I saw the doctor almost an hour later
Umma
Umma
17:17 26 Jan 22
I’ve been going to this doctor’s office for yrs I’m very pleased with my pcp doctor Marly Grana she’s always kind hearted.
Angel's E.
Angel’s E.
20:37 19 Jan 22
Great customer service from the entire team.
Mohammed S.
Mohammed S.
19:27 19 Jan 22
Dr Tsyba is the best doctor I ever knew. Very professional service and so nice stuff!
Vika
Vika
23:36 18 Jan 22
Great doctor and amazing team.
ROEZEN BY R.
ROEZEN BY R.
19:58 14 Jan 22
My experience at your facility was excellent. Your staff members treated me with courtesy and professionalism. Staff members were very friendly and polite. I was contacted within 8hrs of my visit. Thank you for your service.
Alonzo T.
Alonzo T.
23:53 05 Jan 22
Muyyyyyy buena soy una de las primera paciente hace más de 5 años y no voy de hay hasta que dios quiera excelente servicio amabilidad y profecionalismo sigan así
Escarlet C.
Escarlet C.
17:31 05 Jan 22
Great accomodation. Fast and expedient service. Very proffesional.
Jose C.
Jose C.
20:54 03 Jan 22
I had an pleasant experience there . The medical addressed my medical request in an timely manner.
Tyrone M.
Tyrone M.
00:00 28 Dec 21
Great service ! Fast process and no waiting
Fatima S.
Fatima S.
20:47 22 Dec 21
Excellent doctor. Very professional and attentive
Marina Y.
Marina Y.
01:03 22 Dec 21
I’ve been going to Great City Medical for year’s and they are very professional, my Medical and GYN doctors are the best doctors I’ve never had a problem.
Debbie K.
Debbie K.
19:56 15 Dec 21
I thank for finally give my A1C count. I was told I had diabetic in December 2020 at Langone on pine and wall street. I then had a MRI at Corneil Hospital to find out what seizure came back after 15 years while working. I had stress after lost my job. See you January 4 AM hours
Bevelynn T.
Bevelynn T.
15:36 15 Dec 21
La atención de primera recomendado
Martha F.
Martha F.
18:34 09 Nov 21
Came in for immigration medical. Really great staff. They are prompt, proactive and kind!
Aarthi R.
Aarthi R.
23:02 26 Oct 21
They are very welcoming and professional. I can recommend my family and friends.
Bassa N
Bassa N
20:58 14 Oct 21
All the staff members and the doctors are wonderful , competent and kind
Ayne M.
Ayne M.
18:16 14 Oct 21
Front Desk employees are amazing! Very polite, nice and helpful. Dr. Akselrud is the best doctor becausehe LISTENS to all my concert and patiently explains everything to me. Thank you Dr. Akselrud!
Andra T.
Andra T.
21:58 12 Oct 21
Quick, professional and great prices
Jose H.
Jose H.
21:48 12 Oct 21
I was very pleased with this facility. I didn’t have to wait, the nurse and doctor were quite human (vs bureaucratic), and I felt seen and listened to.
Kim P.
Kim P.
17:59 17 Sep 21
Both employees who attended me were very helpful and quick to assist me.
Caro O.
Caro O.
17:26 17 Sep 21
Great City Medical clinic helped me file my green card immigration medical exam form. The team is very knowledgeable and flexible. I scheduled my appointment within one week and got the report quickly. Due to some personal health issues, I had to update my report two days before the interview, and the team helped me correct the form with no extra cost within one day! I really appreciated it and highly recommended having your medical exam report done quickly and professionally with the Great City Medical team.
Hao W.
Hao W.
20:49 16 Sep 21
Very efficient.
Black D.
Black D.
19:12 16 Sep 21
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Copyright © 2020 Great City Medical. All Rights Reserved.