Important message from the Arizona Wellness Center for Women regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

Telemedicine Appointments  Face Mask Recommendations
Office Visits and Patient Safety
Request an Appointment

Gynecology Services


Oral Contraceptive

Your birth control pills will prevent pregnancy and provide many health benefits. This information will help you understand their use.

Health Benefits

The birth control pill will reduce the amount of pain and cramping that you experience with a period. You will bleed less and sometimes not bleed at all during your period.

Women also experience fewer problems with their ovaries and enjoy being able to predict their periods weeks in advance.

Pills usually do not cause weight gain.

Acne will improve or resolve.

And, of course, the pill can prevent pregnancy now, but not interfere with your ability to get pregnant in the future.

Starting the Pill

Start the pill on the first day of your period. Use back-up birth control for 2 weeks.
New pill users can be nauseated on their first pack. Take the pill with food.

Taking the Pill

Because the pill contains such a low dose of hormones, you must take it every day at about the same time for it to be effective in preventing pregnancy and irregular bleeding. Irregular bleeding is common in the first 3 packs and will resolve with continued daily use.
You may take the pill with other medicines such as cold remedies, vitamins, calcium. The use of antibiotics may reduce the effectiveness of your pill in preventing pregnancy. Use condoms while on antibiotics.

Missing a Pill

If you miss one pill, then take one as soon as you remember and then take one pill at the regular time.

If you miss two pills, then take two when you remember and one pill at the regular time. You must use back-up birth control (condoms) for one week to prevent pregnancy.

If you miss the first pill of the pack, you must start the pack as soon as possible and then use back-up birth control for 2 weeks!!. This is a common reason for unplanned pregnancy. Always keep a pack of your pills on hand and monitor your refill number at the pharmacy. You must return to the office yearly to get a refill.

Call You Health Care Provider for:

  • Irregular bleeding after 3 months 
  • Worsening acne or headaches.
  • Chest, leg or calf pain
  • Unusual abdominal pain.

More Information

The pill will not work if you do not take it daily. The drug is gone 24 hours after your last dose.
The pill is safe and beneficial for long term use. You do not have to take a “break” from the pill.

Health Benefits

The birth control pill often reduces the amount of pain and cramping that you experience with a period. You will bleed less and sometimes not bleed at all during. The pill will not cause birth defects or cancer. The pill will not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases.

Some women have a very light or absent period on the pill. This is okay. The pill is working as long as you have not missed a dose.

Smoking increases the risk of heart attack and stroke in pill users. You should stop smoking to protect your health or use another method of birth control.


All medications can have side effects and adverse reactions.  Most women have no concerns in OCPs.  Some women, however, can have side effects such as headaches, water retention & weight gain, breast tenderness, nausea, bloating, and increased appetite.  These side effects usually resolve by 3 months.  If they do not go away, you may need to change the pill you are on.

Birth Control pills have been associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and gallbladder disease.  These risks are extremely low, but nevertheless, can occur.  Smoking can make these risks higher, especially if you are over the age of 35.  Other chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes also increase these risks. 

If you ever have chest pain, difficulty in breathing, numbness or paralysis or significant pain in your leg, arm, groin, or right uper abdomen, call your healthcare provider right away, or go directly to an emergency room for evaluation.