In this day and age, it seems like every one of my friends is on the birth control pill. However, unlike most girls, most of my friends went on the pill to have sex at the end of high school, and simply stayed on it to enter college. And while most people know the basics of birth control, few people ever bother to read the fine print. So here are some of the most important things that you should know (i.e. all the stuff that’s on that little packet of info you throw out every month):
1. Being on antibiotics can make the pill less effective
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This is something that most girls do not know, but is often the most common mistake that girls on the pill make. Even if you are taking your pill at the exact same time every day, if you are on antibiotics, they are working so hard to fight viruses that they can sometimes fight the effects of the pill. If you are taking antibiotics, but are still healthy enough to be having sex, use a backup form of birth control. 10 Things You Should Know About Sex
2. You may not get your period every month
As I personally learned from being on Loestrin 24, sometimes the pill may make your period so light that it will disappear for months at a time. While you should probably get a pregnancy test just to be on the safe side, missing your period for a month or two DOES NOT mean that you are pregnant.
3. Missing one pill means that you should use a backup form of birth control for the next SEVEN DAYS
Even though you might think that missing a pill in the first week of your pack isn’t a big deal, everybody has a different cycle and not using an additional birth control method, like a condom, can lead to pregnancy. And the effects last longer than the 24 hours that pill was good for. To stay completely safe, use an extra form of birth control for a full week. The only time it is okay to miss a pill and not risk pregnancy is if it is one of your placebos. Forget 16 and Pregnant -- What About 21 and Pregnant??
4. The pill does not protect against AIDS and other STDs
While this might be obvious to a lot of us, many people think that the pill has the same effects as a condom. This is completely and totally wrong. While the pill protects you against pregnancy, it offers you 0% protection against STDS, so using it doesn’t give you an excuse to have a drunken one-night stand and know that you’re protected. You might be protected from a future child, but that doesn’t mean that you are immune to everything your sexual partner has. True Story: I Have HPV
5. Generic versions are basically the same
Many people pay up to $30.00 a month for the pill, meaning that they will spend $360.00 a year on birth control. For those people on a tight budget, ask your OB-GYN about generic versions. While they might not look as fancy, they are just as effective, and most importantly, they will protect you against pregnancy and give you a chance to splurge on an extra pair of shoes.
6. Heat and moisture make the pill less effective