When Should You Start Taking The Birth Control Pill?

Hi Heather,

I’m going off to college, and I’m nervous. I’ve never had a boyfriend and my parents have never had “the talk” with me. I really want to start taking the Pill in case, but I don’t know how to ask my mom. I’m not going to college just to have sex, but I want to be prepared. Do you think I should just go to college and not worry about it, or should I consider taking it? Should everyone in college be on birth control? When should you start taking the birth control pill? Please help, I really need your advice.

It’s great that you want to start taking birth control pills just so that you can be safe in case anything happens. When it comes to safe sex, being too careful is always a good thing. But please don’t think that going to college means that you have to start taking the Pill.

This leads to your question of when you should starting the birth control pill. Honestly, it’s completely up to you. There is no specific time that a girl has to start taking the Pill – in fact, you never have to take it at all if you don’t want to! The Pill is probably the most popular form of birth control besides condoms, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one (we’ll get to that in a minute).

I would generally suggest that you start taking the Pill when you start having sex, since it’s main purpose is to keep you from getting pregnant. Another reason to take the Pill would be if you have really bad cramps or PMS, or if you are trying to get rid of stubborn acne. If you’re not sexually active and don’t need anything for PMS, there’s really no reason to take the Pill. Of course, it won’t harm you, but it will mean you have to spend money on both the Pill itself and regular doctor’s visits. The birth control pill also has side effects that everyone feels differently, so you should take that in consideration.

That being said, if you think you’re going to become sexually active and you want to be prepared, you can of course make the decision to start taking the Pill. You mentioned that you don’t know how to ask your mom about that. Here’s something you should know: you don’t have to. It’s your body, and your decision, not your moms. You can talk to her if you’d like, but in the end, you don’t need her permission. You can go to Planned Parenthood or another clinic where you can get the Pill on your own. Or, you can let your mom know you want to start taking it as a preventative measure so that you can see a gynecologist and go through their insurance.

Like I said before, there are other options besides the Pill. You can also look into IUDs, diaphragms, the Depo-Provera shot, or the NuvaRing, among others. Talk to a doctor to find out what is best for you.

In the end, I just don’t want you to feel pressured to start taking a birth control pill simply because you’re going to college. Any kind of birth control will affect your body, so it’s not something you should start on a whim. I would say the best time to start is when you think you’ll be sexually active. Good luck!

take care,

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com


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  • Gbnjhy

    The best birth control is not to have sex that’s a 100% effective

  • Artemis95

    In general, most people don’t plan their first times, so considering birth control as a just-in-case preparative measure is a good thing. Now, I would recommend talking with a doctor to decide what you best option is, especially if you have a higher risk of certain side effects than the average woman or you don’t even know. Also, if you are doing things casually, condoms! You NEED condoms too or you’re still at risk for some really nasty STIs. Get tested anyway just in case. Nothing is 100%. Also, make sure you aren’t thinking about this because you feel it’s your next logical step because sex is so common in college. Not everyone in college needs to be on the pill. All my female college friends are, but I’m not because -shocker- I really don’t want to have sex. I don’t plan to for years, if at all, and I’m OK with that. It’s weird, but I don’t care. Neither should you. There is no situation where normal works for everyone. In the end, you know yourself best so you need to do what’s best for you. So long as you enjoy what you’re doing and aren’t hurting anyone (including yourself) have fun!