Birth Control Options

There are many different type of birth control. There are options that include hormones and options that are non-hormonal. Ask your health care provider to review options with you so you can decide together what option is best for you.

The major forms of contraception include:

  • Oral Contraceptive Pills (Birth Control Pills)
  • Nuvaring
  • Patch
  • Injections
  • Implants
  • Intrauterine Devices
  • Barrier Methods
  • Sterilization

This decision will take into consideration many things including but not limited to:

  • Chronic health conditions
  • Personal preference
  • Whether you are breastfeeding
  • Side effects
  • Efficacy

Oral Contraceptive Pills

There are many types of oral contraceptive pills (OCP). Most include a hormone called progesterone and a hormone called estrogen. There are different types of estrogen and progesterone and they can come in different doses. Every type of pill has a specific combination of estrogen and progesterone in a specific dose. When choosing an OCP, your personal medical history and preferences will be taken into consideration. Every pill affects every person differently so you may experience side effects on a pill that your friend may not.  Click here for more information on Oral Contraceptive Pills

Contraceptive Injection

Depo Provera is an injection that contains medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) which is a type of progestin.  The injection is given in the office every 12 weeks.  Click here for more information on Depo Provera

Implantable Contraception

Implanon is a flexible rod that is placed under the skin of your arm by a healthcare provider. It contains a hormone called etonogestrel. It can be used for up to three years but can be removed at anytime.

For more information, please contact our office and/or visit

Intrauterine Devices (IUD)

There are two types of IUDs available (see below for details). Both require insertion in our office. If you are interested in having an IUD placed please contact our office for more information. We will need to verify that your insurance will cover the IUD and the insertion. The best time to have an IUD placed is at the very end of your period.  Click here for more information on IUDs

Mirena (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) is a hormone releasing system placed in your uterus to prevent pregnancy for up to 5 years. It may also be used to treat heavy periods.

For more information, please contact our office and/or visit or call 1-888-84-BAYER

Paragard is an intrauterine copper device placed inside your uterus to prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. It prevents pregnancy primarily by stopping sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg.

For more information, please contact our office and/or visit

Barrier Methods

A Diaphragm is a barrier form of contraception. A diaphragm must be fitted in the office and a prescription is necessary. Please contact our office for more information or to set up an appointment for sizing.  Please view “How to Insert a Diaphragm” for more info.

Condoms are another type of barrier form of contraception.  Click here for more information on Barrier Methods


Sterilization is a permanent form of contraception.  There are many types of sterilization procedures for both women and men.  Click here for more information on sterilization

Frequently Asked Questions About Oral Contraceptive Pills

Why am I having irregular bleeding on the pill?

It can take 3-6 months for your body to adjust to the hormones when first starting on an OCP or when switching from one pill to another. Your body can have irregular bleeding or “break through bleeding” during that adjustment time. This can be alarming to many patients but it is considered a normal side effect of the OCP. Taking your pill at the same time everyday and making sure not to miss any pills can decrease the incidence of this. If the break through bleeding persists into the fourth or fifth pack of pills or if you experience any heavy bleeding (Soaking super pads/tampons every hour or more for more than 2 consecutive hours) you should call the office and speak to a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant.

When will my pill be effective?

Chicago Women’s Health Group recommends patients use a back up form of birth control (ex: condoms) for the first pack of pills when first starting a pill or when switching from one pill to another.

Oral Contraceptive Use Instructions

How do I start my pills?

Take your first pill on the Sunday after your next normal period starts. If your period starts on a Sunday, take the first pill on that day. Most pill packs have 21 or 24 “active” pills with hormones, and 4-7 “reminder” pills without hormones. If you take one pill each day, you will always be on a 28 day cycle, and you will always start a new pack of pills on Sunday.

How do I take my pills?

Take one pill daily about the same time every day until the pack is empty. Do not skip pills for any reason. If you feel sick or have bleeding or spotting, still take your daily pill. At the end of the pack of pills (including the “reminder” pills), start a new one, without skipping any days.

Do I have to take the seven “reminder” pills?

If you choose not to take the reminder pills, just take the active hormone pills and take those days off before starting a new pill pack. You will still be protected from pregnancy during the days off, as long as you start the next pack of pills at the right time.
Note: There is one type of pill which has some active hormone pill in the 4th week. There is also a type of pill which contains iron in the “reminder” pills to help with iron loss during your period. Your provider will give you specific instructions if you have been prescribed either of these types.

What if I miss a period?

As long as you have taken your pills correctly, the chance of being pregnant is very small. If you have skipped any pills during the month and then miss a period, you should check a home pregnancy test and/or call the office. If you have taken your pills correctly but miss two periods in a row, call the clinic. Remember, while taking the pill, your periods may be much lighter and shorter than they were before.

What should I do if I forget to take a pill?

Missing pills can cause spotting or light bleeding, even if you make up the missed pills. You might be somewhat nauseous on the days to take extra pills to make up for missed ones.

  • If you miss one pill: Take it as soon as you remember and take the next pill at the usual time. This means you may take 2 pills in one day. You do not need to use an additional back-up form of birth control.
  • If you miss two pills in a row in week 1 or 2 of your pills: Take two pills on the day you remember, then two the next day. Finish the remainder of the pill pack as previously. Use back-up birth control (condom/foam) until you have taken 7 pills in a row correctly.
  • If you miss two pills in a row in week 3 of your pills or three pills at any time during the month: Immediately start a new pack without having a pill free interval.  Use a back up method for 7 days.  

What if I have bleeding between my periods?

In the first few months of taking the pill, breakthrough bleeding or spotting is very common. It can also happen if you don’t take your pill at the same time each day. Do not stop taking your pill! Continue taking the pills as instructed. If the bleeding is heavy or lasts past the first 2 or 3 cycles, call the clinic to discuss this with the nurse, practitioner or physician assistant.

Is it all right to take other medication(s) while I am on the pill?

There are some drugs which may interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control pills. If you are on the pill, ask your provider or a pharmacist if the medicine, which has been prescribed, will interfere with the pill’s effectiveness.

What if I run out of pills?

Try not to! When you open a new pack of pills, check that your prescription is current and mark your calendar to pick up your next pack. If your prescription expires before your next appointment to get pills, call the clinic so arrangements can be made for you to remain on the pill.

What if I want to stop taking the pill?

It is best to finish a whole pack before you stop. Any time you stop taking the pills you’re no longer protected from becoming pregnant. Your first period after stopping the pill may be on time or it may be late. Call the clinic with any specific questions.


  • Light bleeding between periods
  • Breast soreness
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Skin changes (acne)

These changes may happen in the first two or three pill cycles. Most women have very few side effects, if any. If the symptoms last longer than two or three pill packs, call the clinic nurses or practitioners to discuss a possible pill change.


  • Blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Elevated blood pressure

Pill users have an increased chance for these side effects, although the potential is very small in healthy women. Smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes increase this risk and should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

To contact our office with questions or pill related concerns, please call and ask to speak with one of the physician assistant’s/nurse practitioners.