Q: I was previously on birth control for almost 2 years and in the middle of April I stopped taking birth control pills. At the begining of June I started back on birth control again. Is it safe to have protected sex now with just the pill and without using another form of birth control, or do I have to wait an entire month after starting on birth control?
A: You will be protected from getting pregnant after 7 days of consistent use of birth control pills. Consistent use means that you’re taking the pill every day at the same time (plus or minus 2 hours). So basically, one week of birth control pills is enough to put the ovaries to sleep and keep you from getting pregnant.
However, having the phrases “protected sex” and “without using another form of birth control” in the same sentence makes us a little nervous. We can not stress enough that birth control pills (or patches or shots or IUD’s) only protect you from getting pregnant. They do NOT protect you from contracting sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, syphillis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, etc. So please, please, please make sure that you are using other forms of barrier protection (condoms, dental dams) to protect yourself from contracting an STI.
Any Ohio State student (even thsoe without Student Health Insurance) can be seen at Student Health Women’s Services. We now have 3 full-time health care providers (1 doctor and 2 nurse practitioners) who are available to consult with you for any concerns related to your reproductive health. We encourage you to see us during your time at Ohio State wo we can help you maximize your health!
Li-Chun Liu, CNP – Ohio State Student Health Services