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How to Know if Birth Control is Working?

6 mins read

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.

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Excellente servicio, buena comunicación con el paciente, todo el personal fue muy profesional.
Elsa A.
Elsa A.
20:04 12 Jul 24
Great and friendly staff my GYN Dr. is very caring I’ve been going to her since 2016..
Josephine S.
Josephine S.
20:10 09 Jul 24
Excelente
Arabesca De La C.
Arabesca De La C.
01:31 02 Jul 24
Me encanta, la doctora es un ángel,,y todas la nena del frente,,son muy amable y muy simpático y muy profesionales💯💯💯💕💕😻😻😻
Yaskana V.
Yaskana V.
18:51 27 Jun 24
El personal siempre es muy atento y servicial! Gracias por su cuidado!👌🏾
Ian S.
Ian S.
20:02 19 Jun 24
Excelente servicio de todo el personal .la doctora yelena es muy buena ,se dedica con amor y apollo a sus pacientes
Yusleini A.
Yusleini A.
19:52 19 Jun 24
The entire staff was very warm and friendly. I really liked the doctor. I will definitely be returning.
Kaye R.
Kaye R.
23:35 13 Jun 24
Elena Tsyba is a great specialist! All personal was very nice!! Thank you.
Anastasiia N.
Anastasiia N.
17:02 13 Jun 24
Thank you,every thing was good the doctor was very friendly and helpful the staff was very polite and friendly .good experience
Ibtissem H B.
Ibtissem H B.
21:08 10 Jun 24
Excellent doctors and all their team.
Marlenny A.
Marlenny A.
15:12 07 Jun 24
Excellent service it’s a lot better than what it used to be and I am grateful for that.. doctor is wonderful.. and the PCA’s that work there are the best all of the women are caring and patient.. they make you feel welcomed.. Dr Marly Granna is the best .. you don’t meet doctors like her anymore these days 🙇‍♂️🙏
Thomas R.
Thomas R.
17:35 04 Jun 24
This place is amazing because of the ladies and doctors that work there. They are an amazing group of people! They are professional, friendly and courteous! I reccomend this clinic to everyone, great place and convenient.To all the staff; thank you for all the hard work that you do!
Elizabeth H.
Elizabeth H.
16:36 17 May 24
I was seen by Dr Marley Grana gentle, attentive listener and warm. Coupled with her knowledge and ability to explain in simple language so that you understand. I would recommend her to anyone.
Carol D.
Carol D.
16:27 17 May 24
Excellent condition and service the nurses and the staff are very friendly and helpful and the doctor are great
Pauline H.
Pauline H.
19:07 08 May 24
Cerca a casa y el personal fantástico muy amable
Olga lucía Bastidas H.
Olga lucía Bastidas H.
18:51 07 May 24
Very efficient…smooth and timely service.The staff was very Professional. I would Recommend this place for GC Medical over another in New York
Von D.
Von D.
21:27 06 May 24
I have been through a lot and not been able to care for myself for a while. Today I saw my doctor and was able to get the care started that I need. The staff made me feel human and even moved my appointment up to see me sooner. Great City Medical thank you and God bless you all.
Chele From The Block (.
Chele From The Block (.
18:03 01 May 24
Exelente como siempre
Vicky I.
Vicky I.
16:49 01 May 24
I love my GYN and her staff
Elsy C.
Elsy C.
16:13 23 Apr 24
Great City Medical you are the bestest best.. Your staff is excellent …Thank you each & everyone for your kind patience ✨️ 💛 mucho ❤️…
Tyra S.
Tyra S.
20:26 17 Apr 24
The stuff was extremely friendly and polite. One of the nicest experiences I had in a medical office.
Anna P.
Anna P.
19:50 17 Apr 24
Great Service
Claudia T.
Claudia T.
20:37 16 Apr 24
My experience has been getting better over the years I’ve been coming to this location!!
Shan S.
Shan S.
18:36 11 Apr 24
Muy buen servicio
Charley B.
Charley B.
17:49 09 Apr 24
Today was my first visit ever .. Everything was so professional from check in to the last .. I will be going here and making this my gyn office 🩷Professionalism is 10/10
Desiree C
Desiree C
18:11 08 Apr 24
DR TYSBA IS THE BEST GYN IN THE WORLD. I HAVE BEEN TO A LOT WITHIN MY 50 YEARS AND SHES TOP SHELF!
Shay H.
Shay H.
15:36 08 Apr 24
Their professionalism makes for a pleasant, medical experience.Grateful to have Dr. Grana, as my primary care physician.
rockerto video R.
rockerto video R.
12:58 04 Apr 24
Clean 🧽 and fresh clinicPoliteness of each employee toward each other and respectability for patientsShort and brief application for new patient
Maria M.
Maria M.
22:57 27 Mar 24
Always a good service and kind people over there. I have been going to there for over 5 years and I had good service with good doctors. Thank you for all the staff.
Yaneth P.
Yaneth P.
18:52 27 Mar 24
My first time at this location, availability is always open. Staff and doctor were very pleasant and attentive. Sign- in was quick and easy! If your looking for a gynecologist this is your place.
Jennifer P.
Jennifer P.
15:45 27 Mar 24
A very friendly and attentive staff. Everything was practical and quick. Affordable prices. I’ll definitely be back for more procedures!
Marina P.
Marina P.
15:41 27 Mar 24
Fue un excelente servicio ☺️
Carolina M.
Carolina M.
13:27 26 Mar 24
The staff,Nursees and Doctor is of utmost professional quality and care
Charles J J.
Charles J J.
20:33 25 Mar 24
Today was my first visit to the office. All staff were very pleasant and thoughtful. The level of professionalism is top tier. I feel welcomed and secured in the knowledge given by the physicians. Looking forward to making this my forever gyn office. Definitely different from the rest!
JamilaMoneka
JamilaMoneka
20:09 25 Mar 24
DR.GRANA IS THE BEST
A Luis S.
A Luis S.
18:32 25 Mar 24
The Whole staff were friendly and very helpful, I didn’t have an appointment but they saw me the same day! From the Receptionist, nurses and Doctor… Great Job TEAM!
Raul V.
Raul V.
18:12 25 Mar 24
Muy buenos servicios, tanto en el front desk como en el personal médico . Excelente servicio, mucha amabilidad. 😍🥰
Martha F.
Martha F.
22:18 20 Mar 24
Le doy la Gracias a Dios por a verlo encontrado es la mejor Ginecologa que conozco estoy feliz con ella mi doctora favorita Gracias 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Allalive C.
Allalive C.
17:53 14 Mar 24
Great visit with a great Doctor!She makes time to listen to my concerns and goes even further to answer all of my questions.Overall experience was 10 out of 10!!!
latia H.
latia H.
18:32 13 Mar 24
Everything was great, excellent service
Jose Luis Guerrero G.
Jose Luis Guerrero G.
19:46 06 Mar 24
Great place Dr is very informative and the service is superb they don’t have you waiting for hour’s
Beth H.
Beth H.
23:55 04 Mar 24
Great Doctor and staff
Diana G.
Diana G.
23:15 04 Mar 24
U the best
Tukoy G.
Tukoy G.
17:55 28 Feb 24
Pricing reasonable & appointments quick.
Yolande M.
Yolande M.
22:15 26 Feb 24
It’s good all over and everyone is helpful
Ranjana T.
Ranjana T.
20:01 22 Feb 24
Me encantó la amabilidad d todos muy atentos muchas gracias x todo
Francis F.
Francis F.
20:33 21 Feb 24
Excelente
Dennys O.
Dennys O.
22:25 19 Feb 24
Staffs are awesome, friendly, and calm. Thank you so much!!
Ana B.
Ana B.
15:36 19 Feb 24
Excellent service from the beginning to understand all the process, solve questions and doubts. The CRM is excellent, and the medical exams are really efficient. The doctors and their staff are so kind and professional. I had my first visit on Monday, and on Friday, I got all the results. Excellent service, highly recommended.
Juliana R.
Juliana R.
16:22 16 Feb 24
At first it was hard getting through to Great City by phone. I soon discovered the chat. I was verily informed about everything from the costs right down to the procedure, that being examination for immigration purposes. I was kept up to date by Antony all the way up until it was time to pick up my form. The staff were very friendly as well. I should also mention too that the cost was the most inexpensive out of all the places I checked.
Mitsy D.
Mitsy D.
18:30 15 Feb 24
Escelente
Gilberto P.
Gilberto P.
13:34 15 Feb 24
Amazing!!
Taqazua P.
Taqazua P.
00:08 13 Feb 24
Me gustó muy atentos
Irairis M.
Irairis M.
20:29 07 Feb 24
Excellent service and nice personal🤗
Elizabeth B.
Elizabeth B.
16:03 07 Feb 24
Very safe space , quick and give you all the answer’s you need
Diamond F.
Diamond F.
16:28 01 Feb 24
Great place, nice people. Good attitude Very helpful
Elvin A
Elvin A
20:36 31 Jan 24
I like this little clinic a lot! Very friendly stuff, Dr. Grana seems to be a very professional. Been going there for almost a year now. Highly recommend!
Yulya Y.
Yulya Y.
19:35 31 Jan 24
Staff was professional, courteous and informed me of anything along the way. I would definitely go back. I also waited 5 min before being seen on a Monday morning.
Sabrosa V.
Sabrosa V.
22:22 29 Jan 24
Great experience each time I go . Professional clean and very respectful office. Staff always pleasant. Doctors very caring.
Juanita R.
Juanita R.
19:30 24 Jan 24
I am so appreciate Dr. Tsyba and the whole team. You are the best 👌
Alla M.
Alla M.
23:05 22 Jan 24
Las atenciones excelentes, desde informacion y registro, tanto como el personal medico, solo deben mejorar el tiempo de espera para ls citas.
Wanda R.
Wanda R.
00:10 17 Jan 24
Excellent Service
Sathyanarayana Rao Mallur Venkata R.
Sathyanarayana Rao Mallur Venkata R.
01:04 11 Jan 24
From the front desk to the medical assistant, to the lab, and down to the doctor and whoever you passed by, it was excellent customer service. It was topnotch. I think the entire staff took extra customer service classes.
ibro D.
ibro D.
12:52 05 Jan 24
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