The Pill

Parent Q&A

  • Can't find any recent recommendations. My teen daughter wants to get on the pill, so I wanted to find a recommendation of an OB-GYN that might be good for teens.

    Her primary care physician/pediatrician can prescribe these, as well as recommend an ob/gyn if necessary. My daughter has horrible cramps and has been on the pill for about a year to help manage the cramps. She first got them prescribed by the health center at school, and then got the prescription renewed by her pediatrician. You don't need an exam for a pill prescription, the doctor can just call it in.

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Birth Control Pill - no insurance

Feb 2012

I'm on my last pack of birth control pills; i was laid off in sept and no longer have insurance. is there anyway to get the pill without a prescription? anyone have experience with planned parenthood in the East Bay? Thanks! anon

Definately contact Planned Parenthood. They did have a site opened at the El Cerrito Plaza somewhere in the office spaces, but if that is not there any longer they have a location in Hayward. It may be listed under Planned Parenthood of Mar Monte. It is a wonderful organization, there to help women. You may be eligible for a program that will pay for your birth control, just talk to them and find out. They do offer other options for people who do not want the pill. Dana
if you are able to go to san francisco, women's community clinic ( is one option for you. it provides free/low cost sexual and reproductive care to uninsured or underinsured women from age 12 and up. if you have no income and/or your family income qualifies for the family pact access program in california then your birth control pills may be free. you can find more about income qualifications on family pact website. good luck! free birth control for everyone!
I went to Planned Parenthood a couple of times for different reasons while un or under-employed in the past. They were EXTREMELY helpful. Not free, but reasonable and they got me through what I needed (AIDs tests, gyno exam, etc). I am sure they can help with prescriptions for the Pill, but don't know if they dispense. You may end up having to choose something cheaper like condoms in the meantime. Happy PP patient
I have sent many patients to Planned Parenthood in the East Bay. They will provide all birth control and exams, it will be based on a sliding scale, so no income, no cost. Anna
I haven't used Planned Parenthood in years, but it would be the first place I'd go should I lose my health insurance. It exists exactly for the reasons you need them: low-cost reproductive health care and birth control. I went there for a few years when I had no health insurance and was impressed with the care I received.
I was laid off in 2008 and without health insurance for three years, and Planned Parenthood's MacArthur Health Center was wonderful to me. In 2009, I went in for a pelvic exam, and wanted to look into getting an IUD. Because I was uninsured, they hooked me up with Family PACT (Planning, Access, Care, Treatment). which completely covered my costs. You can read about Family PACT here: It took me literally 10 minutes to sign up, right there in the office, and was effective immediately.

PP MacArthur can seem a little scary - you enter through a parking garage, and have to be buzzed in - but once you're inside, it's a standard doctor's office. Good luck! parenthood planner

If you live in Berkeley, there is a city Clinic for residents that provides affordable birth control. They're great but the wait can be long so get there early. Amanda
My son and his partner just went through this. The Yelp reviews say that El Cerrito Plaza is the nicest, but they went to Hillcrest so they could be seen before her next cycle started. They said it was fine. I think they gave her 4 or 6 months worth of a pill she hadn't used before, but they may give you more if they have what you use. At Hillcrest, according to my kid, they only had two choices, so you may want to ask whether they have your brand or whether another clinic would.

Just stopped nursing, need to switch from mini pill

Feb 2008

Hi, I am a kaiser member who has just stopped nursing. This means I will need to switch from the mini pill to a new oral contraceptive that is stronger. There are so many choices and I don't want to have to keep trying different brands. If you have one you like (hardly any side effects) OR hated that you got through kaiser please let me know. or if you have any experience with: Levora, Brevicon, Trivora, Sprintec
trying to narrow my choices

I am a Kaiser member and have had years of luck on Zovia. Prior to this I tried numerous different pills and had horrible side effects. Zovia is the only one that worked perfectly. Shana
Unfortunately, getting others' feedback won't predict how you will do with any particular pill. 3 of the 4 pills you name have different progestins, and 3 of the 4 have different dosages of estrogen. I'd probably choose the lowest estrogen monophasic pill of those choices (Levora) and try it for at least 3 cycles to see how you like it. If you have the option of a 20mcg estrogen, monophasic pill (none on your list), even better. Planned Parenthood NP--I do this all day long :)
I have been taking Trivora for several years with no side effects. Kelly
Find out if Kaiser will cover the IUD (intrauterine contraceptive). It's a small plastic device that is inserted into your uterus and it releases small amounts of hormones for 5 YEARS. IT'S AWESOME!!! You never have to remember to take the pill or fill a prescription. The best part is that most women don't have a period! (Mines is fading away.) When you're ready to have kids again, just visit your OB and s/he will remove it. If you're not planning to have anymore kids, just visit your OB at the 5 year mark and s/he will replace it with a new one. I have the brand Mirena which you can 'google' online fore specific information. I hope this helps! Anon
I know you posted this was a while back, so this may be a moot point. I didn't initially respond because I don't have any experience with the pills you listed. But I saw the response this week where some recommended the hormonal IUD and I feel compelled to add my 2 cents on that subject. I tried a few different pills after I gave birth (I can't remember the names anymore) but I did not do well with any of them - I had most of the common and very annoying side effects with every single pill. So instead I got the Mirena IUD. It was very convenient (nothing to remember), and my periods went away, which was great. But over a period of about 6 months my sex drive went from medium (i.e., sex 1 or 2 times a week) to none. I mean, I literally did not have one sexual thought, not a single inkling of desire, for more than a year. My husband accused me of cheating on him, it was really bad. I initially blamed many other things for this lack of desire - stress at work, taking care of two young children, not enough excercise, not enough sleep, and on and on. But I got a better job, I was getting 8 hours of sleep a night, and working out 1 -3 times a week, so it just wasn't adding up. Oh, and I AM still in love with my husband, so that wasn't the problem. It finally occurred to me that the IUD could possibly have something to do with it, just based on the timing of when I had it inserted. Sure enough, I did some research and found out that there are hundreds, if not thousands of women who experienced the same thing. Just check out the forums on some of the medical sites and you will see. My doctor did NOT warn me about this side effect, although maybe it was listed somewhere in the tiny print that I never bothered to read. Anyhow, I just removed the IUD myself about 3 months ago and within a month my sex drive was right back to normal. Now we are back to using condoms because pills and the hormonal IUD are out, and I really don't want to try the copper IUD because my periods are already heavy, and I don't think I could stand it if they were any worse. So I don't really have any good recomendations for you, but I just wanted to warn you about the IUD option in case you are considering it. Anon, obviously

Birth Control Pill- Yasmin - tried it?

March 2006

Does anyone have experience with the ''new'' birth control pill, Yasmin? I've had hormonal imbalance issues (PCOS) since puberty, and BC pills in the past(13+ yrs ago) made the depression and weight gain worse. My gynecologist insists that Yasmin is much better than the older pills, but I'd like to know more. I've worked hard to balance my hormones naturally, but it's been a challenge since my daughter was born 3 years ago, so I'm actually considering Yasmin. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, especially the effects on weight gain, depression, acne, and PMS. dawn

I have been using Yasmin for a year or so, and I am happy with it. My OB GYN doctor prescribed me for hormon inbalance treatment.

First week was a bit difficult. I had stomach upset and nausea. It was not very serious, so I was able to live with it.

In terms of weight gain, I gained 2 lb since I started, but I am not sure if it comes from my age ( I am 36 years old) or from Yasmin. Acne was my big issue before I started but not any more. My skin looks very good now and one of my friends even asked me why my skin looks so good!

I also feel less tired and more energy. I had have very hard time to get up in the morning. So depression is not the problem for me.

If you want to know more, I will be happy to respond. rie

since you last used birth control pills 13+ yrs ago, they have gone way down on the dosages for the estrogens from 100mcg to 35 mcg (3fold down) and there are even 20 mcg estrogen birth control pills though you have to be more ''religious'' about taking those on time. A lot of women like Yasmin b/c it has a diuretic effect and helps with bloating. though most low-dose birth control pills (35mcg or less) should work to treat PMS and acne. depression - not sure of the effects, each person is different and it depends on the progesterone component.

for weight gain, studies have shown that women on the pill lose on average 1 pound not 1pound/day a week, etc. but just 1 pound total, b/c on the pill they don't bloat up.

give the pills a try again, it might make your world a better place. Sophia, pediatrician specializing in teens and prescribing lots of birth control

Anyone tried the Yasmin birth control pill?

April 2004

Has anyone tried the new(ish) Yasmin birth control pill? I never had a problem pre-children, but since having my last child 2 years ago I've tried a few brands of bc pills and they all make me feel crazy (feels like pms too much of the time - but maybe that's just how it is with kids? joking!). I understand that Yasmin has a different hormone combo, so I'm hoping people can tell me if they liked it/disliked it, and what the side effects were (I've read the package insert, so I know the basics, but I'd like to know a personal experience). Please, no suggestions of going off the pill; it is not feasable for my situation. Thanks. crazy mama

I have been using Yasmin for about 2 years now, and I am the most satisfied that I have been with any of the preparations I tried (about 2-3, can't remember the names). Although I still have definite PMS symptoms, they are on the mild side, unless I am unduly stressed, then they are accentuated. The bleeding is very low, especially from day 2 on. anon
About a year after having a baby, I asked my doctor to suggest a different pill because of heavy monthly flows. She suggested Yasmin. I also felt like I was having some emotion ups and downs. She also suggested that I skip the sugar pills and take three months at a time to reduce the number of periods I have.

I don't know if it was the pill that made a difference or the skipping of the sugar pills, but I do feel like the emotional changes have been reduced somewhat. It certainly hasn't made things worse. You might want to give it a try. Lori

I've been on Yasmin for the last three months and feel completely normal. I tried other pills (ovcon, modicon) and had the same reaction as you did to them. This is completely different and I am thrilled! Good luck. - happy with yasmin
My teen daughter was prescribed Yasmin to regulate her horrible periods. The doctor chose this particular pill because of its low estrogen dosage, as well as its supposedly low incidence of side effects. Oh well. My daughter still had crazy-making mood swings, depression, and headaches. She stuck it out 2 cycles before stopping. We tried a couple of other pills, too, with no luck. ''They'' say you should try several pills, and wait a few cycles so your body adjusts. Since my daughter wasn't using the pill for birth control, and she felt so miserable, we decided to take her off. It took about 6-8 weeks for her to start feeling like herself again. Some lucky women have no problems at all. anon
I was on Yasmin before I got pregnant (intentionally!) with our son. I hated it. I bloated up, gained 10 pounds and was an emotional train wreck 24/7. I have been on bc pills since I was 14 for medical reasons, and Yasmin one was one of my least favorites. Now, post-baby I am on Allese. And I couldn't be happier--no crazy mood swings, no weight gain, no acne and (my favorite part) I only have my period every three months. Happy Mama
I started using Yasmin about a year ago -- at first it made me *really* nauseous and I was having a hard time eating anything. I'd never had this reaction from birth control pills before (took them for years in my 20s) so I called my dr. and said ''These things are awful! Give me something else!'' but they very calmly said it was just a period of my body adjusting to the hormones. I found that a bit unsettling, but lo and behold -- no more nausea after the first month or so, and since then no side effects whatsoever (except that after several months my periods became lighter, which frankly was a welcome change). Satisfied Yasmin Popper
Hi, I've been on Yasmin since I stopped breastfeeding just over a year ago. I've had no problems with it at all. It's what my midwife gave me when I requested ''The Pill''...I didn't request any specific name brands. My husband is an internist and says he's noticed fewer side effects for his patients who are on it. Best of luck, Heidi
Hi, I was in your situation, too. I did a lot of research on the pill, and it turns out that the hormone formulations are pretty arbitrary in each pill--i.e., there is no reason for the changes in hormone levels that OrthoTriCyclen and others provide each week. I found that taking a pill with a different hormone level each week definitely made me crazy!!!

I have not taken Yasmin, but can highly recommend that you try a pill that has a monolevel dose--that is, it delivers the same amount of hormone every day of every week, except the period week. Also, the doses of hormone tend to be a lot smaller.

I take Nordette, and it has made a HUGE difference for me. A friend of mine is even more sensitive than I, and she uses Mircette, a pill that also delivers a consistent dose every day, and even provides a small amount during the period week, to offset potential symptoms due to the sudden drop in hormone levels. Again, neither of us has used Yasmine, but we both highly recommend our brands, Nordette and Mircette.

One thing to note: because these pills involve less hormone, it is important that the user take them at around the same time ever day. If I miss a pill, I run the risk of spotting for the rest of the cycle. However, the lower dose means fewer hormone side effects, so I make the effort. Good luck with your decision. Formerly crazy mama

I just went back on the pill for the first time since 2000. The dr. prescribed Yasmin & I just bled for the whole month. Not just a bit of spotting, but enough for a 'light' towel. The dr. shrugged it off as a normal side-effect. I was also really crabby for the whole month, but that could have been the bleeding & getting ready for family to visit. It was irritating enough that I tracked down what I used before & am now happily back to Ortho-Cyclen (sp?). Happy now.

Going Off The Pill to get pregnant

Dec 2002

After months and months of thinking about having a second child, I'm rather suddenly ready to take the plunge. The only problem is that at my regular check-up earlier this year, my OB said to wait until I had got my period twice on my own after stopping the pill. Since I just started a new cycle of pills a few days ago, this means waiting (at best) three months to start trying. But about four years ago, when we were first starting to talk about having kids, I asked my doc (a GP) if I needed to wait a while after stopping the pill and he said no. What's the truth? Is it just a matter of each doctor's personal opinion with no conclusive evidence either way? For those who advocate waiting a few months, what are the reasons ? Is it simply easier to get pregnant if you wait (in which case I'll take my chances), or is it a matter of possibly harming the baby? A friend said she thought that you produce more eggs when you go off the pill, so not waiting would increase the chances of twins. (Eeek!) Can anyone debunk some of these myths for me? Finally ready for #2

You do NOT need to wait before trying to conceive. Many doctors recommend a wait of two or three months, but the only real reason for this is to determine the length of your cycle, so that once you become pregnant it is easy to figure out the conception date (how far along you are). Whereas, if you haven't had a period between going off the pill and getting pregnant, and you weren't charting ovulation signs, you'll need an early ultrasound to date the pregnancy -- which is not that big a deal.

One thing you should keep in mind, however, is that it is absolutely crucial to take folic acid. The pill tends to deplete this vitamin and your chances of a baby with brain/spine deformities is high if you aren't getting enough of it at the time you conceive. By the time you figure out that you're pregnant it could be too late, so start taking a supplement (either a separate one or as part of a prenatal multivitamin) pronto. It's often recommended to take that supplement for a couple of months before you begin trying to conceive, and that *is* a good reason to wait. Holly

I'm not an MD, but what I understood from my OB-gyn when I was in your position is that the only reason to wait 'until you have a ''natural'' period is so that the pregnancy can be dated easily .Also, it is easier to figure out when you are ovulating. However, it seems that is is very easy these days to date the pregnancy by early ultrasound and the OBgyn will probably do this anyways to confirm that you have your dates correct. And ovulation can easily be figured out by ovulation kits.

Also, from what I understand, it isn't necessary to finish a cycle of pills just because you have already taken a few--you can stop anytime. -been there

My husband and I are trying to have a baby for the 1st time and my husband asked his Dr. (male) about going off the pill and he told us that we didn't need to wait at all. I discusses this with my OBGYN and she told me to wait 3 months as many tests/research etc, has shown that there are more miscarriages from not waiting, and some Dr.'s have their own opinions. She said to go through 3 periods before we started. (I believe there is something with the lining of the uterus not being able to accommodate the egg once it is fertilized, which can cause a miscarriage. I would contact your OBGYN and ask them about it.) Also wouldn't you want to be in the best possible shape 1st before getting pregnant so that no harm would come to your baby? And when you think about it, is waiting 3 months too much when you consider your child's whole future? Hope this info helps and good luck.... Suzanna
Here's what I was told by my doctor's office when I went off the pill to get pregnant: while you were on the pill, the synthetic hormones it contained regulated your menstrual cycle by causing your lining to build and then shed each month. Once you go off the pill, your own body has to reassume this responsibility. In order to maintain a pregnancy, the lining in your uterus has to be sufficiently robust to hold and nurture the egg. If your body has just resumed this responsibility, it's possible that for the first few months, the lining may be too thin, which can raise the risk of miscarriage. Thus, while it's possible to get pregnant right away, by waiting three months you give your uterine lining time to practice building up again to an optimal level. anon.
Just to throw my own experience into the ring. I got pregnant one day off the pill. I had a trouble-free pregnancy (at 36) and have a beautiful healthy 3 yr old. So you never know about Mother Nature. Anon.
I went off the pill the second my husband said he was ready. I didn't wait to start trying and literally got pregnant within 3 weeks. My pregnancy was healthy and so was my baby. Luckily, I didn't wait, because the reason my husband said he was ready was because we were making a lot of money during the dotcom craze. 2 weeks after he said let's do it, we lost our biggest client, yahoo, and he said, maybe we should wait, I said it might be too late, and it was, I was already pregnant! We haven't had money since, but have a beautiful baby boy who fills our life with meaning! good luck. under the gun mama