How to Change From the Depo Shot to Birth Control Pills

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Many women who dislike the side effects or administration of the Depo-Provera birth control injection consider making the switch to oral birth control pills. Although women should always discuss the advantages and disadvantages of switching their birth control method with a doctor, doing so is generally a simple and straightforward process.

Step 1

Talk to a doctor about the types of birth control pills. Many birth control pill options are available, including low-dose pills, progesterone-only and extended use options. Discuss the potential risks and side effects of each type, and work with the doctor to make a decision about which option would be best.

Step 2

Talk to a doctor about when to begin taking the birth control pills. Most of the time, women should begin taking the pill on the due date of their next scheduled Depo-Provera injection, explains the Cedar River Clinics website. However, the specific start date for taking the new birth control varies depending upon circumstances, and some doctors may instruct a woman to begin taking the pill before or after that date. If a woman is going to take the birth control pill after the next scheduled injection date, she should talk to her doctor about backup methods of birth control or avoid sexual intercourse during that time.

Step 3

Fill the birth control pill prescription. This will ensure the birth control pills are readily available and will be on hand when needed.

Step 4

Begin taking the pill on the planned start date. Since women using the Depo-Provera method of birth control only have to think about their birth control once every three months, some may find it difficult to remember to take a pill every day at first. Setting a daily alarm on a cell phone or digital clock may prove useful.

Step 5

Communicate with the doctor. Although many women will experience some side effects as their bodies adjust to the medication, they should always report any intense or persistent side effects as soon as possible.

Tip

Take the pill at the exact same time every day. Not doing so decreases its effectiveness and increases the likelihood of breakthrough bleeding or spotting.

Women who forget to take two or more pills in a row should use a back up method of contraception to prevent pregnancy.

Warning

Like Depo-Provera, birth control pills only work to prevent pregnancy and do not protect women against sexually transmitted diseases.

The risk of blood clots increases while taking birth control pills, explains the American Pregnancy Association.

Women who have a history of stroke, blood clots, liver disease, heart attacks, breast cancer and those who are over the age of 35 or smoke should not use the pill. Women with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood factors or who are at risk for cardiovascular disease should talk about their condition with a doctor before using the pill.

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