Starting Birth Control

If you have chosen oral contraceptives as your birth control method, you may be wondering when you can start taking the pills. Many options are available -- a day 1 start, a Sunday start, or an immediate start. The option you choose largely depends on your personal preference. However, some options require a backup method of birth control when first starting the package.

An Introduction to Starting Birth Control

Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) are a type of birth control taken by mouth to prevent pregnancy. Unlike some other birth control methods that are only used when intercourse occurs, oral contraceptives are taken on a daily basis. If you are new to taking birth control pills, or have used them in the past and are considering using them again, you may be wondering about the best way to start.
The first step is to see your healthcare provider. Birth control pills are only available with a prescription. A pelvic exam is normally not required before starting oral contraceptives; however, your healthcare provider may ask you questions to make sure birth control pills are the best birth control method for you. This is because some people should not use them.
If you and your healthcare provider decide that birth control pills are right for you, you have several options when considering how to start taking them. The best option will depend largely on your personal choice. However, you should also consider other factors, such as whether you were recently pregnant.

Starting the First Cycle of Birth Control Pills

There are several different ways to start taking birth control pills. Most commonly, women begin the pills either on the first Sunday after their period starts or on the first day of their period. However, another option is to start taking the birth control pills as soon as you receive your prescription, or any day you choose.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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