FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Many women have heard that it's good to have a break from hormonal contraception. Women might want to check that their periods are still normal, or to give their bodies a rest.3
It does no harm to be on contraception for many years. There is no medical need to have a break from hormones, and it's safe to be on hormonal contraception as long as a woman wants to (unless her health changes).3
Even if hormonal contraception changes the pattern of periods, fertility will come back once contraception is stopped.3
Most combination pills come in 28-day or 21-day packs. Take 1 pill every day for 28 days (four weeks) in a row, and then start a new pack on day 29. The last pills in 28-day do not have hormones in them called "reminder".4
Take 1 pill every day for 21 days (3 weeks) in a row. Then don’t take any pills for seven days (week 4). There is no reminder (hormone-free) pills.4
Progestin-only pills only come in 28-day (4 week) packs. All 28 pills have hormones. You must take every pill in a progestin-only pack to be protected from pregnancy there is no hormone-free week.4
Having an IUS fitted can be uncomfortable, but you can have a local anesthetic to help. Discuss this with a GP or nurse beforehand. Some women experience headaches, acne and breast tenderness after having the IUS fitted. Some women experience changes in mood and libido, but these changes are very small.5
Pulling out is exactly what it sounds like: pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation. If semen (cum) gets in your vagina, you can get pregnant. So, ejaculating away from a vulva or vagina prevents pregnancy. But you have to be sure to pull out before any semen comes out, every single time you have vaginal sex, in order for it to work. The best way to make the pull- out method effective is to use it with another type of birth control.6
If you have taken all pills correctly and have a very light or miss a period, keep taking your pills. If you miss two periods in a row, call the clinic. If you miss any pills and miss a period, call the clinic. You may need a pregnancy test.7
Douching is not an effective method of contraception. After ejaculation, the sperm enter the cervix and are out of reach of any douching solution. Also, douching is not recommended as it can disrupt the delicate bacterial balance of the vagina, causing irritation or infection.8
1- Queens Land Health. 9 types of contraception you can use to prevent pregnancy. Available at: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/types-contraceptionwomen-condoms-pill-iud-ring-implant-injection-diaphragm. Last accessed 18 Jun 2020.
2- The National Health Service (NHS). What is contraception? Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/what-is-contraception/. accessed 18 Jun 2020.
3- University College London. Contraception Choices.: Taking a break. Available at: https://www.contraceptionchoices.org/did-you-know/taking-break#:~:text=Contraception%20is%20incredibly%20safe%20for,safely%20used%20continuously%20without%20breaks). accessed 18 Jun 2020.
4- Planned parenthood. How to Use Birth Control Pills | Follow Easy Instructions. Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-pill/how-do-i-use-the-birth-control-pill. Last accessed 18 Jun 2020.
5- The National Health Service (NHS). Intrauterine system (IUS). Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/ius-intrauterine-system/ . accessed 18 Jun 2020.
6- Planned parenthood. Pull Out Method | Withdrawal Method | What is Pulling Out? Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/withdrawal-pull-out-method#:~:text=What's%20the%20withdrawal%20method%20(pulling,vulva%20or%20vagina%20prevents%20pregnancy. Accessed 18 Jun 2020.
7- University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. Birth control pill fact sheet. Available at: https://uihc.org/health-topics/birth-control-pill-fact-sheet . accessed 18 Jun 2020.
8- Cleveland Clinic. Contraception Myths. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9137-contraception-myths . accessed 18 Jun 2020.