Someone asked us:
I love that there’s a tumblr page and all the answers are really lovely and kind and never condescending or judgmental like they might be if answered else where. I was just wondering if you could explain to me how the birth control pill actually works. I use it to regulate my periods but I just don’t know how it all works? Help a sister out? Thanks a million
Oh, thanks friend! We love you all too:)
Lots of people take the pill without really knowing how it works. But a better understanding of the pill can help you remember why it’s so important to take it every day.
First, a quick primer on the parts that about half of y’all are working with. Those of us with a uterus tend to also have ovaries, and in most people they release an egg every month. If that egg comes in contact with sperm, you could become pregnant.
Think of the pill as a guard that stops your ovaries from releasing an egg AND stops sperm from getting to an egg. The hormones prevent eggs from being released. No egg for sperm to fertilize means you can’t get pregnant. These hormones also thicken the cervical mucus (think: goo at the entrance to your uterus) making it harder for the sperm to swim to the egg, just in case that egg gets out.
The pill: like having Gandalf in your ovaries and cervix.
The pill makes your period lighter because the hormones prevent the uterine lining from thickening as much. Since you have several weeks of taking hormones and a few days to a week of placebo pills (when your period comes), the timing of your period is more likely to be predictable than if you weren’t on birth control or if you were on a type of birth control that had a steady stream of hormones (like the shot, implant, or IUD).
-Kellie at Planned Parenthood
You guys, the Planned Parenthood Tumblr, tho