Pregnant on Birth Control? Can It Happen? 4

pregnant on birth control

Naturally, the point of taking birth control pills is not to get pregnant, but even with proper and devout use you have a 1% chance of getting pregnant on birth control. Missing a pill, taking the pill at a different time of day, or throwing up within a half hour of taking the pill can increase this chance. Being that nearly 80% of all women have at some point used the birth control pill to prevent pregnancy, even 1% is a lot of women.

How will I know if I’m pregnant on birth control?

One of the primary ways most women discover they are pregnant is to miss a period. The catch with the chance of becoming pregnant on birth control is that many women experience missed periods or lighter periods while taking birth control. As a result, when they miss a period or experience light implantation bleeding, they don’t suspect pregnancy.

The only way to know if you are pregnant on birth control is to take a pregnancy test. Contrary to some belief, a pregnancy test will not be affected by birth control. This is because pregnancy tests detect a hormone not present in birth control. You will, however, need to know when your period should be so that you don’t test too early.

This is why even if you are taking a birth control designed to make you no longer have periods each month such as Seasonique, you should note the time you previously had a period and track it on your calendar. For example, if when you did have your period you found marking it on the calendar it was 5 days every 28 days continue to note this time frame each month so that you know roughly when your period should be if you had one.

This doesn’t mean you need to take a pregnancy test every single month. It’s rare that pregnancy comes without other symptoms such as nausea and fatigue.

Should I stop taking my birth control pill if I think I’m pregnant?

Even if you just suspect you may be pregnant on birth control, you should stop taking your birth control until you confirm you are not. Remember, if you miss even one pill you are more likely to become pregnant if you have unprotected sex assuming you are not already pregnant. Missing more than a day can lessen the effectiveness of birth control up to seven days even after resumed use. You should use a back up method in the meantime.

Are there any risks to my baby if I become pregnant  on the birth control?

While there are no known birth defects caused by becoming pregnant on birth control, it has been shown to possibly increase the chance of low birth weight and premature labor. In rare cases involving certain types of birth control, irregular development of female sex organs is possible.

Becoming pregnant on birth control can come as a big surprise, but if you do decide to keep your baby, try to relax, chances are very high if you were not aware you were pregnant and continued birth control use your baby will be fine.

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4 thoughts on “Pregnant on Birth Control? Can It Happen?

  • J.

    Hi! I’m on an ultra-low-dose combined pill (Yaz). This month I’m sure I took every pill at the exact same time, except for the 8th pill on the pack, which I took around 3 hours late (still, the Yaz guidelines say that less than 24 hours late doesn’t count as a missed dose). That same day, some hours prior, I had had sex using the withdrawal method. That was the last time I had sex (I don’t know if that’s important). Now, the placebo pills start after the 24th pill, and the withdrawal bleeding (the ‘period’) should start then. However, I started bleeding the morning after taking the 20th pill. I used to have light breakthrough bleeding all month long during the first few packs, but that had stopped. This is the 4th/5th pack I’m on, so it shouldn’t be normal. I experienced mild PMS symptoms as usual (swollen and slightly tender breasts, constipation, very mild cramps), and nothing else. The bleeding is dark red at times and dark brown at others, as my usual period, and it is rather thick and viscous and with very small clots (also as my usual period). Both the appearance and the volume (a few pads a day) were consistent with the beggining of a period, but three days have passed and today it stopped. As of today, I’m still two active pills away from starting the placebo pills. I’m concerned about the timing and about the fact that it has stopped (maybe it continues later, or when I actually start the placebo pills, I don’t know). Could this be implantation bleeding? Could I be pregnant? From what I’ve read, this is unusually red, thick and abundant to be implantation bleeding, but I don’t know. I’m terrified. I have no access to a pregnancy test (too long to explain). This month I started a weight loss plan and therefore made big changes in my diet and exercise, and shed some weight. Could this have anything to do? Opinions? Thank you!

    • unwirklich admin

      I’d agree this doesn’t sound like implantation bleeding. Exercise in particular will cause some hormonal flux, and as Yaz is so low dose, that flux could still affect your cycle. It’s very likely that’s what happened here. I do have a page on exercise and fertility here.

  • zoey

    I recently had sex with my bf 3 days ago. Today and yesterday I experienced small amounts of blood and it’s kind of concerning me…. I have an implant in my arm and I’m not sure when I’m supposed to have my period. Can this be implantation blood or am I just being too nervous? I also have been cramping in one spot in my stomach. If I can get answers soon I would appreciate it.

    • unwirklich admin

      3 days is too soon for implantation bleeding, it could be cervical or vaginal wall bleeding from the intercourse, normal mid-cycle spotting, or ovulatory bleeding. In the last case, pregnancy is possible, but the probability is exceptionally low with an implant and intercourse 3 days before. We’re talking a less than .05%.