Many women who are exploring their options for birth control consider taking birth control pills (also called oral contraception). They are, after all, one of the most commonly used forms of contraception in many developed countries and – when taken correctly and consistently – are about 97% to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy… though they don’t offer any protection against sexually transmissible infections (STI). However, many women have heard that birth control pills cause women to gain weight – and that concern may keep them from taking birth control pills which are otherwise highly effective at reducing risk of pregnancy.
Considering that these fears of gaining weight are keeping some women from using such effective forms of birth control (and let’s face it – pregnancy weight gain is itself quite high!), it’s worth asking: Do birth control pills actually cause women to gain weight?
The research, it turns out, says that they don’t. Several studies have looked at the issue – since not only women have this perception but some healthcare providers do, too. Some studies have followed pill takers for 6 months and others have studied such women over the course of a year after they begin taking birth control pills. And though some women who take the pill do gain weight, so do some women who don’t take the pill. After all, many young women and men gain weight. It’s just what often happens to people as they grow up and either go to college (hello, Freshman 15!) or take jobs that result in them sitting more than being active.
It’s worth noting that in addition to birth control pills, NuvaRing (the birth control ring) has also been studied in terms of its potential to cause weight gain. Like the pill, the vaginal ring was found “not guilty” of weight gain.
To learn more about which type of birth control might be the best birth control for you, please speak with your healthcare provider about your options. Generally speaking, the best form of birth control will be a birth control method that works well and that you will use correctly and consistently, so it’s important to take things into account such as:
- Can I afford this type of birth control?
- Do I understand how to use it correctly?
- Am I confident that I can use it correctly and consistently?
- Will I feel comfortable using it?
- How effective is it at preventing pregnancy?
To read more about birth control pills, Nuva Ring and weight issues, read this article.
For more MSP articles about birth control, click here.