What happens when I go to Planned Parenthood to get birth control pills?


Someone asked us:

I want to go to my local PP to get birth control pills. What is the first step? What will they ask? What will they do?

We’re so glad you asked! Getting birth control can feel  intimidating if you aren’t sure what to expect.

The first step to getting birth control at your local Planned Parenthood health center is calling to make an appointmentThe person you speak with will help you schedule an appointment (just tell them you want to come in to get birth control), and can answer any questions you may have about how to prepare for your appointment and/or what to bring with you.

We can’t tell you an exact play-by-play of what to expect during your appointment — a lot depends on your health situation and your nurse or doctor. But we can tell you that your health care provider will want to talk with you about your medical history and check your blood pressure. You may also get a pelvic exam, although it’s usually not necessary for getting on birth control—for more on what to expect during a pelvic exam, click here.

Your nurse or doctor may also want to know about your sex life and sexual history: how many partners you’ve had, what kind of birth control you currently use, if you may have been exposed to any STDs, etc. (Here’s a more detailed list of the kinds of questions asked during an appointment.) You can (and should!) ask him/her any questions you have about birth control, sex, bodies, periods, STDs, etc. You may want to write down a list of questions you want to ask before you go to your appointment. The two of you can talk about what type of birth control would work best for you based on all the things you discuss. It’s important to be honest with your nurse or doctor so she can get an accurate picture of your health and needs.

If you decide that the pill is right for you, your nurse or doctor will give you a prescription. You can fill your prescription at a drugstore or sometimes they have pills on site that you can buy right there. Prescription birth control pills can cost about $15-$80 a month. A pelvic exam may cost an additional $35-$250. If you have insurance, or if you qualify for Medicaid or another state program, the amount you’ll have to pay could be a lot less — it could even be free. If you’re going to your local Planned Parenthood health center for birth control, you can ask about costs and payment when you call to schedule your appointment. Some health centers are able to charge according to income, and most accept health insurance.

-Nina at Planned Parenthood