Once people talk about birth control pill and pregnancy, they usually think about the effect that birth control pill has on pregnancy. Despite taking birth control pills, women occasionally end up being pregnant. A question often arises is whether the birth control pills can be harmful for the baby. Many women continue to take birth controls not knowing that they have fallen pregnant. The effects of birth control pills on the unborn baby have been addressed by several researchers.
How Do Birth Control Pills Work?
1. Combination Pills
To prevent ovulation from occurring, a combination pill, composed of estrogen and progesterone, is used. Since ovulation does not occur and the egg is not fertilized, a woman cannot get pregnant. The birth control pill also causes the mucus in the cervix to become thicker so that the sperm is not able to travel up the vagina, enter the uterus and reach the egg that could be released. The pill also prevents the uterus from lining in the right manner, so the egg does not stick to the uterus.
The pack of birth control pills is usually composed of 21 or 28 pills which are taken daily at around the same time. For the pack which contains 21 pills, seven pill free days are observed, whereas in the case of the 28 day pack, hormone free pills are taken in the last seven days of the month. Once the hormone pill is stopped, a woman will have her period. For those who find it difficult to keep track of taking pills, the 28 day pack is more preferable as the pill is taken on a daily basis.
Some combination pills are also prescribed to control the frequency of the period where the pill is taken for duration of twelve weeks and then a gap is taken for seven days. This way a period occurs every three months rather than every month.
2. Mini Pills
Another pill, known as the mini pill, lowers the dosage of progesterone and reduces the number of monthly periods. This is different from other type of birth control pills because it contains only progesterone and no estrogen. This pill acts on the uterus lining and impacts the thickening of the uterus and occasionally affects ovulation as well. By using this pill, there are more chances of getting pregnant rather than using combination pill.
The mini-pill must be taken on a daily basis; it will result in no period or irregular periods. For the pill to work properly, it is essential to avoid skipping doses. To achieve the desired results, it is very important to take the birth control pills at the same time every day, irrespective of whether you are sexually active or not, especially in the case of the progesterone pills.
During the initial seven days of consuming this pill, it is important to use other ways of contraception to avoid getting pregnant. After that, the pill alone will be effective in preventing pregnancy.
In case you forget to take a pill, it is important that you use other forms of contraception. Here is a video to tell you what's the relationship between birth control pill and pregnancy:
What Are the Side Effects of Birth Control Pills?
You know the general relation between birth control pill and pregnancy, you should also pay attention to the side effects of the pills. With the decrease in the dosage of hormones, the risk linked with birth control pills has also reduced to a great extent. The following are some of the side effects experienced with birth control pills:
- They can occasionally cause weight gain, nausea, breast tenderness, mood changes, irregular spotting or even headaches.
- One major risk associated with the pills is blood clots. However, the chances of clots are around 2 in 10000 as compared to women who may get blood clots but do not use birth control pills.
- For women with a history of heart problems, breast cancer, blood clots, liver diseases and strokes, oral contraceptives should be avoided.
- For women who may have diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, it is important to discuss with the doctor regarding alternative use of birth control.
How Likely Is It to Get Pregnant with Missing Birth Control Pills?
There are several reasons why one can end up having a pill at a later time or skipping it altogether. The most common reasons include changes in the daily routine, the absence of a partner, observing spotting, or just forgetting to take a pill. Missing pills are rather common. In a recent study, it was found that around 45% women end up skipping one or more pills and around 22% women end up missing two or more pills in a cycle. Despite the fact that people skip pills, chances of pregnancy are still very low as missing pills more than ten days will minimize the chances of ovulation to one in ten.
Some may worry that they would get pregnant when pills are skipped. However, feel reassured that if you go back to taking the pill, you won’t fall pregnant.
Would It Affect the Baby If I Get Pregnant on Birth Control Pills?
Previously, the hormones present in the pill were significantly higher, so there were greater chances of becoming pregnant while taking the pill or right after the pill was stopped. Some women ended up being pregnant while taking the pills, but there was no evidence found regarding miscarriage or abnormalities in pregnancy while they were on the pill. Same was the case for women who came off the pill and got pregnant right away. Thus, the chances of harming the baby if you get pregnant while taking the pill, or coming off it are close to none.
What to Do If I Want to Get Pregnant
When it comes to birth control pill and pregnancy, another issue that people are concerned about is whether the use of birth control will affect future chances of getting pregnant.
Wait for Your First Natural Period
When you want to get pregnant, stop taking the pill and you can start trying for a baby, but it may be better to wait until you get your first natural period. If you wait for the first natural period, it will be easier to determine the ovulation period and also the exact due date of the baby once you conceive. It will also help to track your pregnancy.
The menstrual cycle takes a couple of months to regulate properly once you come off the birth control pill as the natural hormones are adjusting to the changes in the body. The time it takes for a woman to become fertile, once she stops taking the pill, may vary. In most cases, a maximum period of three months is required for periods to return to normal.
Determine Whether You Are Healthy Enough for Pregnancy
Another reason to wait before you start trying for a baby is that you can determine whether you are physically fit. Change your lifestyle, eating habits, and overall fitness so that you can conceive a healthy baby and maintain a healthy pregnancy. It is advisable to take folic acid when you start planning a baby.