Ask a VWC Nurse: Answers to Your Commonly Asked Questions
Once a month, we feature answers to commonly asked questions that our Valley Women’s Clinic medical staff receives. Our nurses provide answers to these questions here on the blog.
Q. Can I Still Get Pregnant When I’m Taking Birth Control Pills?
If taken as directed, birth control pills are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. That means that fewer than one woman out of 100 who use the pill for birth control will get pregnant in one year.
A. The fact is it IS possible to get pregnant no matter what type of birth control you are using.
No method of birth control is 100% effective. Birth control pills are very effective in preventing pregnancy when taken as directed. However, if you take the pill incorrectly, or not as directed, your chances of an unexpected pregnancy increase. Also, there are several factors that can lower the effectiveness of the pill. Below are some answers to common questions about these things that can make the pill less effective:
What do I do if I missed a pill?
If you miss a pill, have a plan. Ask your doctor how you should proceed if you miss a pill. He/she will tell you exactly what you need to do in case this happens. During this time, use an alternative form of birth control such as condoms to help prevent pregnancy.
Can I get pregnant if I’m taking antibiotics while on birth control pills?
There are only a couple of antibiotics that decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. Make your doctor aware that you are taking birth control pills when he/she prescribes you antibiotics. They will let you know if the one you are being prescribed will alter the effectiveness of your BCPs and what you should do in regard to taking your pills (and an alternative birth control you can use) while on the antibiotics.
Can I get pregnant if I have vomiting and diarrhea while on the pill?
If you vomit around the time you take the pill or have vomiting and/or diarrhea for more that 24 hours after taking the pill, the effectiveness of the pill can be affected. If this occurs, consult your doctor on how to proceed with taking your pills.
Free Pregnancy Testing at Valley Women’s Clinic
Have you missed a period or are you experiencing some other common symptoms of early pregnancy? If you are using birth control, you may be wondering if the symptoms you’re experiencing might mean you are pregnant.
Valley Women’s Clinic provides free lab-quality pregnancy testing to help you find out whether or not you’re pregnant. If your pregnancy test comes back positive, our nurses can answer questions you may have about the pregnancy and one of our client advocates can consult with you about your options.
We also provide free STI testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea. While we do not prescribe or dispense birth control, one of our nurses can consult with you about the different types. All of our services are free and confidential. Request an appointment today for our Blacksburg or Radford clinic or call one of our offices.
Do you have a question for one of our VWC nurses? Fill out the form below to anonymously ask your question and it could be featured on one of our future Ask a VWC Nurse blog posts!