Hormonal contraceptives – Method of Pregnancy Prevention

Pregnancy contraception

Hormonal contraceptives are the other most popular method of pregnancy prevention. It consists of progestin with or without estrogen. Both progestin and estrogen. These are like the hormones that all women normally produce naturally.

These two hormones work together in a few different ways to control pregnancy. 

They can stop the release of an egg and prevent ovulation to happen.

They make cervical mucus thicker so that the sperm can’t enter the uterus. 


There are two types of oral contraceptive pills available usually women take. 

The pill – This is the combination of hormonal contraceptives which contains the hormones estrogen and progestogen.

The Mini pill – This is named as progestogen-only pill, which contains the only progestogen.

It may be administered orally, transdermally, vaginally, by implantation, or through injection.

What are these pills about?

The combined pill consists of the hormones estrogen and progestogen. You can take this pill every day if you don’t want to get pregnant.

What do they do?

It usually stops the sperms to meet with eggs by thickening the mucus in the cervix. These pills stop the production of eggs or ovulation in the ovaries. So your ovaries cannot make eggs as long as you take them regularly.

How does it work?

This pill can be 99% effective if it’s taken correctly and regularly. When you take the 21 hormonal contraceptives pills continuously and start a new packet straight away. It means if you have missed your periods with non-hormone pills. This way you can take pills most effectively.

When you should take the pills?

It is important to take your pill at the same time every day. You could set a reminder on your phone. If you are less than 12 hours late taking your pill it’s still OK. There are three different ways to take the pill.

There could be few side effects you may experience

1. Nausea

You may feel sick and nauseous if you just started taking the pill. Especially when you take it empty stomach.

2. Breast tenderness

Your breast feels a sore and little pain.

3. Irregular periods

You may notice unpredicted vaginal bleeding. Your period may be lighter than usual, but if you miss your period, keep taking the pill and consult with your health care provider.

Symptoms may subside with time, but if you’re worried about any changes, you can consult with your doctor.

Indication for taking pills

You can take pills safely for years as long as you are healthy. If you are a smoker take it cautiously or ask your health care provider.

If you have stopped taking a pill and you worried if you can get pregnant or not.

Most of the women are worried about taking pills and pregnancy. So yes, if you have stopped taking pills you can get pregnant whenever you want.

But if you are already taking a pill for contraception and you accidentally get pregnant, or if you want to continue your pregnancy. Then don’t worry there will be no extra harm or risk for your growing baby.

Advantages of hormonal contraceptives are:

  • Very effective up to 99%
  • Easy to use
  • Doesn’t get in the way of sex
  • You can choose to have lighter, less campy periods or no period at all
  • It reduces your risk of ovarian and endometrial (lining of the uterus)    cancer by 50%
  • Some pills can help with pimples/acne.
  • There is no link between the pill and breast tenderness, nausea, weight gain, headaches, or your low sex drive.


  • You have to take it every day – even if you don’t have sex that day.
  • You may notice irregular bleeding in the first month or the second month of pregnancy.
  • If it is continuous you can continue taking a pill but its always better to consult with your doctor or nurse.
  • You might get dark patches on your face.

Other possible side effects could be:

It’s very important that if you notice any of these symptoms.  You should get help from a doctor straight away because it can cause any other problem. 

Serious side effects of hormonal contraceptives are rare. If you take the pill and you smoke, you will be more at risk of stroke or heart attack. If you don’t smoke you are unlikely to have these problems. Some pills can increase the risk of pain in lower legs and blood clog in lower legs.

Main side effects of hormonal contraceptives that women may experience are:

  • Nausea/ vomiting
  • Weight gain
  • Have a bad Headache
  • Breast tenderness or sore
  • Spottingoutside the menstrual period
  • Vaginal infections
  • Mild hypertension
  • Depression
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Can cough up blood
  • Pain in lower legs

You should stop taking oral contraceptives if you are:

Breastfeeding mother

Over 35 years of age

chronic smoker and smoking 15 or more cigarettes per day

History of cardiovascular diseases, such as older age, smoking, diabetes, hypertension

High blood pressure

Current or history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism

If you have had any Major surgery that requires prolonged immobilization

Current or history of ischemic heart disease Stroke

Migraine with focal neurologic symptoms, headaches

Diagnosed with Current breast cancer

Diabetes with nephropathy, retinopathy, neuropathy, vascular disease, or diabetes Liver disease.

Other Types of Hormonal Contraceptives are accessible

1. Oral contraceptives

There are different ways you can use oral contraceptives depends on your needs.  Most contain a mix of estrogen and progestin. You can use it consistently to maintain menstrual cycles or persistently for no normal menstrual cycles. 

2. Vaginal Ring

It is a little flexible ring that contains both estrogen and progestin. this can be constantly used for 3 weeks or can be discontinued for seven days without the ring. for sexual intercourse, you can remove it for a shorter time period. 

3. Implantation

This type of hormonal birth control contains progestin which implanted under the skin. Your doctor can perform this procedure only.  It is successful for as long as 3 years. If you need to remove it you can do it before 3 years. 

4. Form of Skin Patch

 This type of contraception given week after week for 3 weeks followed by a fixed free week. It may not be a good option for women more than 90 kg (200 pounds). Estrogen levels can increase in those who use patches than pills. This can lead to the risk of blood clots. 

5. Injectable contraceptives 

This is a type of progestin and in the form of a shot given every 12 weeks.  if you quit getting the shots, It might take as long as a year for you to begin ovulating again. 

6.  Intrauterine contraception progesterone

A little gadget that a specialist places into the uterine pit that contains progestin. It tends to be utilized for as long as 5 years. you can get it removed whenever you want.

Emergency Postcoital Contraceptive

It often referred to as “morning-after pills,” which are available for emergency contraception. You can take within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse and 12 hours later you can take two additional pills.

This high dose of estrogen almost always causes nausea and vomiting. So please ask your health expert for suggestions before taking those pills.

It usually comes in a kit. This kit consists of a urine pregnancy test to determine whether pregnancy has occurred and four pills that contain concentrations of estrogen/progestin (the first two taken within 72 hours after intercourse and the next two taken 12 hours later).

How effective this method is?

Overall, the rate of effectiveness for this method of contraception is between 75% and 85%. These methods should always be used cautiously because of the potential danger that may cause congenital anomalies in the fetus if by chance pregnancy is not prevented.


What you should know before going to IUD contraceptives

It is a small T-shaped device with bendable arms for insertion through the cervix into the uterine cavity.

The Copper T380A intrauterine device is made of fine solid copper and radiopaque polyethylene, which is clinically approved for 10 years of use.

Primarily it works as a spermicide and inflames the inner layer of the cervix, which prevents fertilization. Levonorgestrel intrauterine device system (IUS) is the other option of IUD.

Sometimes women experience an increase in bleeding and cramping within the first year after insertion, but non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can provide pain relief. 

How does it work?

It impairs sperm motility and irritates the lining of the uterus. It has some ovulatory effects. The IUS is usually effective for 5 years.

What could be the effects of IUD?

Uterine cramping is common.

Uterine bleeding is usually decreased with this device.

Irregular spotting is very usual in the first few months after the insertion of IUD.

Can I get it removed anytime?

Yes, These devices may be inserted immediately after childbirth or following a first-trimester abortion. Its contraceptive effects are reversible. When you feel you want to get pregnant you can visit the health care clinic to removes the device.

What could be the disadvantages of IUD?

1.Pelvic infections

It includes an increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease within the first 20 days after insertion, especially if an infection is present at the time of insertion.

2. Bleeding

If you have the levonorgestrel intrauterine system then you are more likely to experience scant, irregular episodes of vaginal bleeding or no menstruation.

when you became pregnant with the IUD in place, then it should be removed immediately in the first trimester and consult you, doctor, immediately. 

More Interesting Stuff you like to Know :

Contraception – Pregnancy control methods

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I am experienced health professional (B.Sc. Nursing, P.GD Nursing). I am passionate to provide valuable information about  Maternal and child Health. My goal is to provide the right  and trustworthy information about pregnancy and baby care.

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