How Contraceptive Pills Prevent Pregnancy
Contraceptive pills prevent women from getting pregnant by releasing synthetic hormones that have the same effect as estrogen and progesterone. They bring about such changes in the woman’s body that pregnancy is prevented. There are three different ways in which pregnancy is avoided and the contraceptive pills that you take may use one or all of these methods.
Combination of estrogen and progesterone in a contraceptive pill has two effects which prevent pregnancy –
- It thickens the cervical mucus.
- Thins the lining of the uterus.
The level of estrogen in a combination pill is not as much as it used to be and ovulation may occur in about 10 % of women. To guard against this, you need to take the pills correctly, i.e. at one fixed time daily. This is important as otherwise the fluctuation in your hormones may not be easy to contain and lead to ovulation.
As ovulation is suppressed, the egg is prevented from being released and get fertilised by a sperm. Chances of ovulation are very little with thickened cervical mucus as it does not allow the sperm to enter into the cervix. Moreover, the fertilised embryo is prevented from getting implanted in the wall of uterus because its walls are thinned. The stats from Planned Parenthood, USA’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider, confirm that 92 % women are able to prevent their pregnancy with this pill.
Another pill used for preventing pregnancy contains only one synthetic form of progesterone called progestin. Since this pill does not contain estrogen, it is important that you take it at the same time everyday to be effective. This pill can prevent ovulation though it is not suppressed for all. Women may experience irregular bleeding or while others may miss periods. It has also been found to thin the inner uterus lining of some women. This pill is not as effective as the combination pill if not taken at exactly the same time every day.
You need to be careful about the possible bleeding with this pill and contact your immediately if you do start bleeding. You might be recommended to switch to the combination pill or use some other measures to prevent yourself from getting pregnant.
The progesterone-only pill is needed for nursing mothers who risk the estrogen to affect their breastfeeding babies. If they find complications with this pill, they can consult their doctor for recommendations on another pill or different birth control measures.
Read more articles on Getting Pregnant.
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team May 16, 2011
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