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’re 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. 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.
If you do find need to test, it’s also important you don’t test too early. As birth control is designed to prevent ovulation and artificially regulates cycle length, rather than testing based on ovulation/cycle length, it’s more ideal to use intercourse timing. Test no earlier than 14 days after the last sexual act. You can read more on when to take a pregnancy test for accurate results here.
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 aren’t. Remember, if you miss even one pill you are more likely to become pregnant if you have unprotected sex assuming you aren’t 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 weren’t aware you were pregnant and continued birth control use your baby will be fine.