Pill Power: How effective is the contraceptive pill?

Pill Power: How effective is the contraceptive pill?

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01 December 2023 . 2 min read

What is a Contraceptive Pill?

Navigating the world of contraceptive pills might seem daunting at first, but don't worry – this blog will break it all down!

So, what are oral contraceptives and how many types are there? Great question! In simple terms, contraceptive pills are a type of short-term method primarily used by women. They function three-fold: halting ovulation, thickening the cervical mucus to stop sperm, and thinning the uterus lining.

Here are the three main types:

  • Combined pill/Combined oral contraceptive (COC): This pill is a bit of a powerhouse, with both oestrogen and progesterone. It's the go-to choice for many doctors.
  • Progesterone-only pill: As the name suggests, it's all about progesterone.
  • Non-hormonal pill: A unique pick, this one’s free from hormones.

Consistency is key if you're planning to take OC pills! Aim to take it daily, ideally at the same time. And don’t fret about the pill pack duration – you'll find them in 21-day, 28-day, or 90-day varieties.

A heads up: Starting on the pill might cause a bit of irregular bleeding initially. And while it’s a fantastic tool against unplanned pregnancy, remember it doesn't shield you from STIs like HIV. That's where other precautions, like condoms, step in.

How to use a contraceptive pill?

Before we learn more about the effectiveness of contraceptive pills, it is essential to understand how to use one.

  • Begin with the first pill in the packet, as recommended by your doctor
  • Take one pill every day till you finish the packet.
  • Take the pill at the same time every day. Do not miss any pills.
  • Always have a new packet of pills handy before you finish your ongoing one.

How effective is the contraceptive pill?

Overall, contraceptive pills are 91% effective in preventing pregnancy. This means 9 pregnancies are reported out of every 100 women due to missed doses. The combined oral contraceptive pill (COC) is said to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. This means fewer than 1 pregnancy is reported in 100 women who use the pill.

It is important to know that you still have to use a barrier method of contraception that protects you from STIs.

Contraceptive pills are popular because they give you control over the method and don't disrupt sexual activity. If you're planning to get pregnant, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor and follow their advice to stop taking the pills.


Contraceptive pills are a fantastic tool in your reproductive health toolkit, granting you autonomy and not getting in the way of intimacy. If baby plans are on the horizon, chat with your healthcare provider about the next steps. Remember, whether it's missing a pill or feeling a bit off after taking one, always keep the line of communication open with your doctor. Your health and well-being are paramount!