Women take birth control for a variety of reasons. The primary reason is to prevent pregnancy, but there are also many health conditions that are treated with oral and other types of contraceptives. Most women get their birth control from their reproductive health care provider, but women can also get birth control from other types of doctors and specialists.
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Gynecologists and Obstetricians
Gynecologists and obstetricians are doctors who specialize in reproductive health and pregnancy. These are the doctors who most often prescribe birth control. It's usually prescribed in conjunction with a pelvic exam, pap test and breast exam as part of a woman's yearly reproductive health checkup. Gynecologists and obstetricians usually work in their own offices, but also have offices in hospitals and clinics, such as Planned Parenthood. They may prescribe birth control for pregnancy prevention, but they may also prescribe it to treat other conditions, like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, hormone imbalances or irregular, painful periods.
Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in skin care and conditions. Because birth control is commonly prescribed as an acne treatment, many women, especially teen girls, get their birth control from their dermatologist. Some dermatologists may prescribe an initial course of birth control, then recommend that women switch to their gynecologists to get a pelvic exam and continue with their birth control regimen.
Pediatricians often prescribe birth control to teens because they have established relationships with them. They can prescribe birth control for a variety of reasons, ranging from contraception to acne, to health conditions, just like other types of doctors. Teens often feel comfortable talking to their pediatricians about health concerns and begin their reproductive health care there.
Your regular doctor can often do double duty, providing your general medical needs as well as your gynecological needs. If your family doctor doesn't do pelvic exams, she can still prescribe you birth control on a regular or temporary basis, though she's likely to insist you see a gynecologist at some point for your routine pelvic exam.