How Do You Know You Re Pregnant On Birth Control

Does It Matter What Pill You Miss

Birth Control 101: Everything you need to know about the pill

Many birth control pill packs have three weeks of active pills that contain either progestin and estrogen or only progestin. They also have one week of placebos, which are sugar pills that have no hormones.

With these packs, forgetting to take a pill if your first, second, or third week can affect your pregnancy risk. Forgetting to take a placebo pill does not affect your pregnancy risk, as these pills are only there to help you remember to take a pill each day.

There are also packs with 24 active pills and four placebos or 84 active pills and seven placebos. You can determine whether a missed pill is a concern by applying the same knowledgea missed active pill affects your risk, while a missed placebo does not.

Early Signs Of Pregnancy While On Birth Control

September 11, 2017 by Madison Pados

No matter what type of birth control you use, you still have a chance of getting pregnant. Abstinence is the only 100-percent effective method of birth control. Rates of pregnancy occurring while on birth control range from 0.09 percent to 9 percent, depending on the type of birth control used, according to a chart provided by Birth control itself can make it difficult to know if you have become pregnant some forms of birth control create pregnancy-like symptoms, and others cause the menstrual cycle to be irregular. If you have two or more of the following symptoms, go ahead and take a pregnancy test to find out for sure.

Lighter Period

Even if your period is irregular, watch for a change in duration or intensity , as both can indicate that you are experiencing implantation bleeding rather than a normal period. Implantation bleeding often occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus, and can result in spotting or bleeding similar to a light period. Implantation bleeding, according to, is one of the earliest noticeable signs of pregnancy it occurs 8 to 10 days after fertilization.

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Taking Pills As Birth Control

About 62 percent of women of reproductive age use some form of birth control, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Twenty-eight percent of those women who use contraceptives use birth control pills.

Many of these women have questions about their birth control, but forget to bring up their questions to their healthcare provider. If you are sexually active and want to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, here are answers to what you want to know about birth control pills.

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How Does It Work

The pill alters the menstrual cycle using man-made versions of the female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone.

It works by:

  • Stopping ovulation
  • Thickening the cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to penetrate the womb
  • Thinning the lining of the womb to minimise the chances of a fertilised egg being able to grow

There are different types of contraceptive pills available, which work in slightly different ways.

Common pill brands include:

Getting Pregnant With The Patch Ring Or Shot

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There are a few more options when it comes to birth control, and these include the patch, the vaginal ring and the Depo-Provera shot. Black says the failure rate for typical use of the patch and the ring is the same as the pill: eight percent. The Depo-Provera shot has a failure rate of just six percent with typical use.

With all three types of contraception, adherence is the biggest risk factor. They need to be used as directed to work effectively. Costescu says with the patch, which you replace once a week , one issue is that it may accidentally fall off. With the ring, he explains that replacing it on time is key. And it can only be removed for short periods of time if you want it to remain effective. Some women choose to remove the NuvaRing when theyre sexually active, and we recommend that it only be removed for up to three hours so, it cant be taken out, for instance, for an overnight date, he says.

Black adds that the same medications that make the pill less effective would have a similar effect on the patch and ring.

With Depo-Provera shots, Costescu notes, you must visit a health-care provider every three months to get the shot. He also says that the shot may be a good option if youre on anti-seizure medication, as the high dose of hormones that come with this type of birth control means those medications may not interfere with its effectiveness.

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Barrier Methods And Natural Methods

If you were using a barrier method, there is good news. These methods do not interfere with fertility. Barrier methods include:

Barrier methods block sperm from reaching your egg. These methods do not stop ovulation. Whether you are using them or not, your monthly cycle does not change.

As an added bonus, condoms also protect you from sexually transmitted infections . Left untreated, some STIs can lead to infertility.

Some people use natural family planning methods. If this is you, you may be able to get pregnant faster. Many of these methods have you keep track of your most fertile days. So now, just do the reverse. Instead of avoiding sex around those days, go try to make a baby.

Some Women Can Improve Breakthrough Bleeding On Their Own

Quitting smoking can help. So can taking birth control pills at the same time each day.

If youre getting continuous hormones with birth control pills or the ring, try scheduling a period every few months. This gives the uterus a chance to shed any built-up lining. It can help reduce irregular spotting and bleeding.

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Types Of Birth Control Pills

A common type of birth control pill is one that comes in a 21-day pack. So you take one pill every day for three weeks straight and then have a one-week break where you get your period.

However, there are other options, according to The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology , including packs of 28-days, 90-days, and 365-days.

The main difference between types is how often you get your period. Moreover, studies show that larger packs are equally effective as 21-day or 28-day packs.

It is not medically necessary to have a period every month if you take these birth control pills the right way. However, it is important to know that women who take the pills continuously might be more likely to have irregular spotting.

Can The Exact Date Of Conception Be Determined Accurately

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Many women have questions about the date of possible conception, and unfortunately figuring this out is not always so easy. The assumption is that if a woman has pretty regular menstrual cycles, then she will be ovulating during a certain time of the month.

Ovulation is the time when conception can take place because that is when an egg is made available. The problem is that most women do not ovulate on an exact date each month, and many women have a different ovulation day from month to month.

If you also take into account that sperm can live in the body 3-5 days after intercourse has taken place, this can make determining conception very difficult.

Most doctors use the first day of the last period and ultrasound measurements to gauge the gestational age of a baby and determine when the baby was conceived. But these are just tools used to estimate the datesit is very hard for anything to tell what the exact date of conception really is.

Most people do not realize that ultrasounds can be off up to 5-7 days in early pregnancy and up to a couple of weeks off if the first ultrasounds are done farther into the second trimester or beyond.

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How Birth Control Works

Hormonal birth control comes in several forms including:

  • Birth control pill
  • Birth control shot/injection
  • Birth control patch
  • Contraceptive Implant

Oral contraceptives fall into two categories:

  • Combination pills, which are the most common type. This version uses both estrogen and progesterone and requires one pill to be taken at the same time every day.
  • Progestin-only pills, or mini pills, contain only progesterone . This version needs to be taken within the same 3-hour window each day to be effective.
  • Regardless of what type of hormonal contraceptive you use, the main premise is the same. The contraceptive releases man-made hormones into your body to trick your brain into thinking you have already ovulated.

    Typically, your hormones rise and fall throughout your cycle. When you are on birth control such as an oral contraceptive, however, your progesterone and estrogen levels stay more consistent throughout your cycle.

    Hormonal birth control prevents surges in natural hormones as well as pregnancy by:

    • Blocking the signal for the ovary to release an egg
    • Thickening the cervical mucus so sperm cannot reach the egg
    • Thinning the uterine lining, making it inhospitable for implantation of a fertilized egg

    These changes in your normal cycle make it nearly impossible to track your ovulation while on a hormonal contraceptive. If using a fertility tracker such as Mira while on birth control, you wont see a fertile window because you usually will not ovulate.

    Contact Your Obgyn As Soon As You Think You Are Pregnant

    Call your OBGYN clinic as soon as you find out youre pregnant. When you call in, your provider will review your medical history to determine the timing of your first prenatal visit. If you are a woman with no medical problems and under the age of 35, your first prenatal appointment will likely be 3-4 weeks after your missed period.

    Some women should be seen sooner than others. For instance, if a woman has a history of ectopic pregnancy , she should be seen within a couple of days. Certain other medical conditions warrant an immediate visit with the provider.

    Note: Ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus, such as in the fallopian tube. The earliest symptom of ectopic pregnancy is typically light vaginal bleeding soon after a positive pregnancy test. If this happens, call your OBGYN to schedule an ultrasound right away. The ultrasound will identify if the fertilized egg is growing in the uterus or if it has attached somewhere else.

    An ectopic pregnancy cannot be moved to the uterus and requires treatment such as medication or surgery. If the ectopic pregnancy continues growing to 5 or 5.5 weeks after conception, it could cause more serious complications, such as a ruptured fallopian tube, which can result in life-threatening internal bleeding. Symptoms of a ruptured fallopian tube include sudden and severe pain, abnormal bleeding, lightheadedness, and shoulder pain.

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    Do You Ovulate On Birth Control

    Each type of hormonal birth control affects ovulation in a different way. Depending on the hormones and the dosage found in your particular type of birth control, you may or may not ovulate when using birth control.

    In general, combined forms of birth control containing both progestin and ethinyl estradiol work to prevent ovulation as long as you use them consistently and effectively. Progestin-only forms of birth control usually halt ovulation but do not do so in a consistent manner. About 4 in 10 women using progestin-only birth control still ovulate.

    You will DEFINITELY NOT ovulate if you are using:

    • Combination oral contraceptive pills

    You will PROBABLY NOT ovulate if you are using:

    • Birth control shot/injection
    • Progestin-only oral contraceptive pills
    • Contraceptive implant

    Can I Have A Period And Still Be Pregnant

    How Soon Can You Know If You Re Pregnant

    Yes! Fertilized eggs attach to the uterus, where they grow. Sometimes the action of the fertilized egg attaching to the uterus can cause light bleeding. It is easy to mistake this bleeding for a period. Women who typically have very light periods can experience this type of period-like bleeding while pregnant.

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    How Pregnancy Tests Work

    A pregnancy test only reacts to the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin .

    However, if you’re pregnant, this hormone may not be detected in your pee until around 13 to 16 days after the release of an egg , which is around the time you would normally get your period.

    Until this time has passed it is not usually possible to see a positive result in a pregnancy test.

    Urine tests require a certain level of HCG to be present in order to indicate a positive pregnancy result. Blood tests are more sensitive because they can detect a smaller amount of HCG, which means that pregnancies can be picked up earlier, usually between 6 to 8 days after ovulation.

    HCG is sometimes used in fertility treatment, which could cause a false-positive result .

    You should wait 14 days after having fertility treatment before taking a pregnancy test. Your doctor can advise you on this.

    Am I Pregnant Did My Birth Control Fail

    Thinking that you may have gotten pregnant while on birth control and do not want to be can be stressful. To add to the confusion, many early pregnancy signs can also be due to other reasons.

    But, in general, the most common cause of a missed period is pregnancy. It is also important to note that many women who are pregnant may have spotting or staining right around the time they are expecting a period.

    Hormones can complicate the issue further. When your period is just late , your body may just be affected by premenstrual anxiety .

    Also, if you begin to stress about a missing period, you can further prevent your period from coming. On the flip side, if you are pregnant, hormones associated with pregnancy can make you feel stressed.

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    Is It Okay To Take All My Medications At One Time

    Probably not. Never mix medications especially when starting a new type of contraceptive. Some prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements can interfere with your birth control. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications and help you decide if you should use a backup method of birth control while you start the new contraceptive.

    Did You Use It Correctly


    Here’s the big question, were you using the birth control correctly? That means, for example, taking a pill every day at the same time or using a condom every time you had sex. If you weren’t using birth control correctly, it greatly increases the likelihood that you could be pregnant.

    Even if you were using birth control correctly, there is still a chance that you could be pregnant, because nothing is 100% effective against pregnancy, except not having sex.

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    Are You More Fertile After Birth Control

    Lawson says that while its not likely, theres information that suggests that being on a combination birth control pill that suppresses your ovaries raises the possibility that you may have more than one ovulation event, meaning two eggs could be released and the likelihood of at least one of them getting fertilized is greater.

    Infertility doctors may also put their patients on birth control pills to keep their uterine lining nice and clean prior to pregnancy initiation, Nathan says. But for the average patient? Thats a myth, she says.

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    Im Pregnant And I Dont Want To Be

    First and foremost, take a deep breath and know were here for you. Many people face an unintended pregnancy at some point. You are not alone, and as many as 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their reproductive lifetime. If think you want an abortion and arent sure which option is best for you, you can research abortion options here as well as learn more about the differences between the abortion pill and thein-office procedure. Call us anytime at SAY-CARA and well help you figure it out.

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    We Don’t Know Whether Most Antibiotics Make Birth Control Less Effective

    There are two antibiotics that researchers have found make birth control pills less effective: griseofulvin, an antifungal used to treat athlete’s foot and ringworm, and rifampicin, which is typically used to treat tuberculosis.

    The reason that happens is that these drugs speed up the liver’s metabolism, which makes the liver metabolize the hormones in the birth control faster. As a result, hormones leave the blood stream faster and are unable to adequately affect the ovaries to prevent ovulation or the cervix to prevent thickening of the cervical mucus.

    Lots of antibiotics, not just the two listed above, come with warnings that they’ll make birth control ineffective and suggest using a backup method of contraception. While a backup method is never a bad idea, there’s actually sparse evidence that these other drugs make birth control less effective. “Uncertainty persists with respect to the other broad-spectrum antibiotics,” researchers in the journal Contraceptionwrote in a review article about interactions between birth control and antibiotics. They argue that in light of that uncertainty, it is completely appropriate for women to use a backup method but not to ditch their antibiotics out of concern over interactions.

    Can You Get Pregnant On Other Forms Of Birth Control

    How Early Can A Doctor Tell If Your Pregnant

    Yes, you can get pregnant on other birth control options. Even permanent methods of birth control such as a tubal ligation or vasectomy have failure rates of 0.5 percent and 0.15 percent. Here are some typical use failure rates for other methods:

    • Vaginal ring: Seven percent. You need to wear one ring for three weeks, take it out for a week, then insert a new ring.
    • Cervical cap: 17 percent. Mistakes include not using it every time, inserting it incorrectly, and neglecting to use spermicide. Needs to be refitted after pregnancy.
    • Diaphragm: 17 percent. Mistakes include not using it every time, inserting it incorrectly, and neglecting to use spermicide. Needs to be refitted after pregnancy.
    • Sponge: 14 percent for women who have never had a baby and 27 percent for women who have had a baby. It needs to be prepared with spermicide and inserted before sex.
    • Spermicides: 21 percent when used alone. Spermicides are best used in conjunction with another method, such as a condom or the lactational amenorrhea method .
    • Fertility awareness: Two to 23 percent. There are several methods for keeping track of your menstrual cycle and ovulation. These methods require commitment and consistency.

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