Skip Nav
Yes, You Can Be a Disney Princess — Here's How!
Game of Thrones
30 Game of Thrones Costumes For Couples Who Want to Rule the 7 Kingdoms Together
Why Life Wouldn't Be So Magical If Disney Princesses Were Millennial Women

How Does Hormonal Birth Control Prevent Pregnancy?

Many women use hormonal birth control to prevent pregnancy because it is considered to be the most effective method. The Pill is just one kind — the Patch and the NuvaRing contain hormones too.

The NuvaRing, the Patch, and some types of oral contraceptives contain a combination of 2 hormones - estrogen and progestin. Some pills can contain only progestin, but these tend to be less effective.

Estrogen and progestin are hormones that are already found in the female body but when a woman uses hormonal birth control, her body sees that there is already enough hormone in the bloodstream, so it decides that it doesn't need to produce anymore.

These kinds of birth control give your body a stable dose of hormones each day, so the levels in the body don't change. It's the fluctuation of hormones that make ovulation happen. The reason hormonal birth control works so well is because the stable levels of hormones prevent you from ovulating. If your ovaries don't release any eggs, then sperm can't fertilize them and you can't get pregnant.

Dear's Advice: If you're using hormonal birth control and you don't want to get pregnant, be responsible and remember to use it properly and consistently. Missing pills, or forgetting to change the NuvaRing or the Patch can cause you to ovulate resulting in an unplanned pregnancy.


t0xxic t0xxic 10 years
also some bc's make your cervical mucus thickerwhich helps prevent sperm from going past the cervix, i believe its the progestin.
t0xxic t0xxic 10 years
the bill is diff for every woman i nevergained on pills but i did with theshot its best to talk to your dr sometimes it takes several tries to geta bc that is right for you. just curious if theres no scientific evidence why do the majority of the hormonal bc's forewarn possible weight gain?
jenintx jenintx 10 years
so menopause has nothing to do with ovulation? but your period stops after you reach menopause, right? i consider myself a fairly knowledgable person when it comes to sex ed--i took a human sexuality course in college--but we never discussed menopause, or at least not in detail, and it's never come up with my grandmothers/godmother. my mom is too young to go through menopause, so i've never really thought about it. i'm just curious.
LittlePinkStar LittlePinkStar 10 years
the pills you take for the last week are placebo..meaning theres no allows your ovaries to shed old eggs (like a normal period)..and no theres not scientific evidence that proves you will gain weight while on the pill...if you do its probably related to something else :) hope that helps!!
katie225 katie225 10 years
i don't think that's a stupid question, jenintx! i'm not a doctor, but i don't think that menopause starts when a woman just runs out of eggs. i think it has to do with hormone levels changing due to age. my mom is going through menopause right now and is actually taking the pill to regulate her hormones more and i guess that alleviates some of the symptoms or something.
jenintx jenintx 10 years
i have a really dumb question for dear: since the pill prevents you from ovulating and a woman has a supposedly has a set number of ovum, by taking the pill, are you postponing menopause? you would ovulate longer (time-wise) than you normally would if you aren't ovulating while taking the pill, right? does that make sense?
facin8me facin8me 10 years
sweetkisses- what you're describing is normal when you switch birth control pills (although it doesn't happen to everybody). give the new kind of pill a chance for two or three months- if you're still having problems with breakthrough bleeding after that it's time to call the doctor.
SweetKisses103 SweetKisses103 10 years
I just switched to a new set of pills.. since the last ones caused insane mood swings. I've only been on them for about 10 days. My period went on for 6 days when it's usually 4 or 5.. And then after one day of nothing, I'm spotting. It's not a continuous flow like normal and it's not light light either. It's just enough to barely see and get annoying. Do you think this is normal since I just started the pills or should I contact the doctor? The last type of pills didn't do this so I'm concerned.
allthingsgrow allthingsgrow 10 years
I've been on the pill for 3 weeks - and I've actually lost a few pounds. Mostly, of course, it's due to the fact that I've been incredibly nauseous at least once a day, but that has been getting better.
DearSugar DearSugar 10 years
mcjuga - Certain antibiotics can have an effect on the Pill and reduce its ability to prevent pregnancy. If you are given a prescription for an antibiotic be sure to tell the DR that you are on the Pill. During the time you are taking the antibiotic, use a back up method of birth control like condoms while you're on the antibiotics. You may also need to continue using condoms for 7 days after you finish your course of antibiotics - ask your DR or pharmacist to be sure.
facin8me facin8me 10 years
mcjuga- some antibiotics (and some antifungals too) inhibit the enyzme that break down the hormones in the pill.
ccsugar ccsugar 10 years
Hmmm. Once again left with more questions than answers...
mcjuga mcjuga 10 years
Does anyone know why some antibiotics make the pill less effective and is this actually proven?
facin8me facin8me 10 years
ccsugar- the period you get when you're on birth control isn't a real period- it's shorter and lighter. The bleeding that you have on the pill is due to the withdrawal of hormones and not a result of the need to shed the uterine lining.
ccsugar ccsugar 10 years
Of course when I said ON the uterus, above, I meant IN ;)
ccsugar ccsugar 10 years
QUESTION!!!!!: If the Pill prevents you from ovulating, how come you still bleed once a month when you're taking it? I thought the bleeding was the lining that develops on the uterus from the egg... Or am I totally wrong and was this what was covered the day I fell asleep in sex ed? ;)
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
the above was for windynini, btw :)
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
NOOOOOOOOOO I've been on the pill for a year and haven't gained weight at all. I've actually lost weight due to a lot of walking during the day and trying to eat properly. I know a friend who put on weight after starting the pill, but she also ate horribly, never exercised, and drank alcohol most every weekend. Another friend went off birth control b/c it made her fat and ya know what? SHE GOT PREGNANT WHICH MAKES YOU FAT TOO! lol So I say do birth control and just exercise and make healthy eating options if you are concerned about that specific side effect. Anyone else in the same boat as me? I'm no doctor but this is just my situation.
windynini windynini 10 years
I'm not sexually active yet, but I've been curious about the birth control methods out there. Interesting stuff, Dear. But I'm curious, is it true that, well, specifically the pill will make you fat or at least make you gain some weight?
What Makes Birth Control Pills Less Effective?
Should Men Get Vasectomies?
How Does the Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill Affect Women?
Side Effects of Mirena
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds