How To Switch Birth Control Methods


How to Switch Birth Control Methods
No Gaps
What’s the best way to switch from one birth control method to another? To lower the chance of getting
pregnant, avoid a gap between methods. Go straight from one method to the next, with no gaps
between methods.
Do not wait for a period before you stop the old method or start the new one.
Overlap Method
In some cases, you should have a few days of overlap – this means starting the new method before
stopping the old method. This gives the new method time to start working before the old one wears off.
The chart below explains which methods should overlap. It also explains how long the overlap should
be. The overlap length appears in bold print.
Back-up Method
If you prefer not to overlap the old method and the new method, you can use a back-up method
instead. Back-up methods include condoms and spermicide. For example, if you don’t want to keep
taking the pill after you get your first progestin shot, you can use condoms instead. You should use
the back-up method for the same number of days listed in bold print in the chart on the reverse side.
To prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), always use condoms.
Safe Switching Method
Not sure how to use the chart on the other side of this sheet? Do this: safely switch from one type
of birth control to another by going straight from one method to the next one – no gap! – and use
condoms or spermicide for the first 7 days.
Pill Packs
One note about switching from pills: you don’t need to finish the birth control pill pack before
switching. You can stop taking your pill at any point in the pack. If you are switching to pills,
you should start by taking the first pill in the pack.
You may have changes in your period after switching. This is normal and safe.
Reproductive Health Access Project / June 2015


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