Birth Control

Showing 169 posts tagged Birth Control

I’m on the birth control shot (Depo Provera) and also use the pull-out method. Can I still get pregnant?


Someone asked us:

I am on birth control (depo) and I always get my shots on time. If I don’t use condoms and use the pull out method am I still at too big of a risk to get pregnant?

The birth control shot (aka Depo Provera) is one of the most effective methods of birth control out there. If you always get your shot on time — every 12 weeks — Depo is more than 99% effective.

Doubling up on your pregnancy protection is a great idea just in case — which you’re already doing (good for you!). Using the Depo shot combined with the pull out  method (aka withdrawal) gives you excellent pregnancy prevention powers. If no sperm gets on your vulva or into your vagina, pregnancy can’t happen. But using the pull out method correctly is tricky, so the shot protects you from pregnancy in case there’s sperm in your partner’s pre-cum or they don’t pull out in time. 

It’s important to remember that neither the birth control shot nor the pull out method protects you from STDs. Condoms are the only method of birth control that also prevents the spread of STDs, and they’re more effective at preventing pregnancy than pulling out.

So while your Depo + withdrawal combo method is really, really good, you could up your protection game even more by throwing in some condoms. 

-Kendall at Planned Parenthood

Why isn’t my birth control covered for free under Obamacare?

*** post updated on 7/23/14 to include new information 


Someone asked us:

I heard that birth control is free under Obamacare but I’m still paying for my pills every month. Why isn’t my insurance giving it to me for free?

There are a couple of reasons why this may happen. Here’s the deal:

Obamacare (sometimes called the health care law or the Affordable Care Act) is awesome because it recognizes that birth control is basic, preventive health care. It makes it so that most health insurance plans have to cover birth control for free without a copay.

At a minimum, health plans have to cover the full range of birth control methods without a copay if they are prescribed and FDA-approved. This can include:

  • birth control pills
  • vaginal rings
  • the patch
  • the shot (Depo)
  • implants
  • IUDs
  • female sterilization (plans are not required to cover vasectomies, but some might)
  • diaphragms
  • cervical caps
  • emergency contraception (aka the morning-after pill) if prescribed
  • spermicides if prescribed
  • sponges if prescribed
  • female condoms if prescribed

Most health plans must also cover your visit to the doctor to talk about your birth control options as well as services related to contraception — like follow-up visits, management of side effects, and IUD insertions and removals. This is with no out-of-pocket costs to you.

But, there are a few reasons why your insurance may not cover a type of birth control or may still charge a copay for your specific birth control.

Your health insurance plan is only required to cover one type of each birth control method (e.g., implant, IUD, sterilization, and hormonal birth control), but not necessarily all of the products in that category.  For example, if you use birth control pills, you might be able to get Ortho-Tri-Cyclen with no copay, but not Loestrin (another brand of birth control pills). Or the plan may cover a generic version of birth control pills with no copay, but charge a copay for the brand-name version.  

Plans must cover a brand name drug or a specific generic version if the version the plan covers with no copay is medically inappropriate for you. You and your nurse/doctor can talk about the methods that are best for you, and they’ll help you find the birth control that best meets your needs. 

If you and your nurse/doctor decide you need a specific birth control product that isn’t covered without a copay, you can request a “waiver” from your insurance company — this will allow you to use the brand name or specific generic without a copay. You can check with your insurance company for more information about the waiver process.

Another reason your birth control might have a copay is if your insurance plan is “grandfathered.” In other words, the plan doesn’t have to comply with certain standards under Obamacare because the plan already existed when the law was passed. So preventive care like birth control, STD screenings, and cervical cancer screenings might not be covered without a copay.

The good news is that more and more insurance plans will lose grandfathered status over time, usually when they make big changes to benefits, costs, and policies under the plan. If your plan loses its grandfathered status, your new plan must cover the full range of birth control methods for free without a copay.

Certain employers may also be permitted to refuse to cover birth control in their health insurance plans.  Churches and other religious houses of worship that are opposed to birth control do not have to provide employees birth control coverage. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that two for-profit companies could refuse to cover birth control in their health plans due to religious objection. 

At this point, it’s unknown how many employers will use this Supreme Court decision to refuse to cover birth control or if the federal government will create another way for people employed at these companies to receive coverage. If your employer has indicated that it may refuse coverage of birth control, please contact the Planned Parenthood helpline by texting “birth control” to 69866.

Please note that some religiously affiliated nonprofit organizations (such as universities, hospitals, and charities) can refuse to cover birth control in their health plans, but the health insurance company must provide birth control without copay to employees.  As such, you should still receive no-cost birth control.   

This is all to say that insurance plans can vary a lot, so the best way to find out what’s covered is to call your insurance company. You should call the number on your insurance card and ask them questions directly. If you’re not getting the answers you need or access to the benefits you should, you can contact the Planned Parenthood text helpline by texting “birth control” to 69866.

And remember: whether you have insurance or not, you can always come to Planned Parenthood for the care you need, when you need it.

-Adriana at Planned Parenthood


Timeline: 100 Years of Birth Control

Since Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger coined the term “birth control” in 1914, contraception has truly revolutionized women’s lives in the United States, and around the world. Brush up on your birth control history, and see just how far we’ve come in 100 years.


I don’t want kids for at least three years. What birth control should I use?


Someone asked us:

What’s the best birth control for a couple that plans on starting a family in three years, that’s not the pill?

Your best bet is to go with an IUD or an implant, which are the most effective forms of birth control available, last for a long time, and don’t require you to do anything once they’re in place. The implant and Skyla IUD last for three years, and the Mirena IUD lasts for five. If you’re trying to avoid hormones, the ParaGard IUD gives you up to 12 years of hormone-free pregnancy protection. Even though these methods last for a long time, you can get them removed whenever you want, and you’ll be able to get pregnant soon after.

If an IUD or implant doesn’t sound like your thing, there are other methods that use hormones similar to the pill, but you don’t have to deal with them daily. Birth control patches are changed once a week, NuvaRings are changed once a month, and the Depo shot is given once every three months. One of the greatest thing about birth control these days is that there are so many options!

 -Mylanie @ Planned Parenthood

Am I abusing the system if I use birth control to stop having my period?


Someone asked us:

I was wondering, is it considered abusing the system if the main reason I’m on birth control is to not have a period because of dysphoria? (I’m a trans male) My doctor doesn’t know I’m mainly using it for that but I feel kinda bad. The state I’m in doesn’t accept transgender people so I have to lie.

Oh dude, please do NOT feel bad about using birth control to get rid of your period — that’s a super common reason people use hormonal birth control methods in the first place! And as anyone with problematic periods will tell you: anything that eases troublesome menstrual symptoms is critical and necessary medical care.

Birth control has so many benefits besides, well, birth control. Lesbians use it. People who don’t have sex use it. Trans guys use it. In fact, up to 58 percent of people on the pill rely on it for reasons other than preventing pregnancy. Clearing up acne, easing PMS symptoms, controlling the timing of your period, and reducing menstrual flow are all perfectly legitimate reasons people use contraception. And you are just as entitled to these benefits as everyone else.

Now, about lying to your doctor. I totally understand how it’s tough to be open when you’re expecting and fearing discrimination. But it really is important to be honest with your doctor (if possible) so they can give you the best care. 

You may be able to find a trans-friendly doctor in your area — Planned Parenthood health centers are a good place to start.

Being clear about what you want out of your birth control helps your doctor prescribe the best method for you. But even if you’re truly not okay with coming out to your doctor and can’t find a trans-friendly provider, you don’t have to lie about wanting to use birth control to get rid of your period. 

So PLEASE stop feeling guilty about this right now, okay?

-Kendall at Planned Parenthood