Birth Control Patch

What Is It?

The birth control patch is a thin, beige, plastic patch that sticks to the skin. It’s used to prevent pregnancy. A new patch is placed on the skin once a week for three weeks in a row, followed by a patch-free week.

How Does It Work?

Like other methods of birth control, the birth control patch releases hormones. Hormones are chemicals made in our bodies. They control how different parts of our bodies work. The hormones in the patch are the same hormones as in the birth control pill — estrogen and progestin. The hormones in the birth control patch work by Keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is any egg to join with the sperm.
Making cervical mucus thicker. This keeps sperm from getting to the eggs.

How Long Does It Stay On?

You’ll stick one new patch on the skin of your buttocks, stomach, upper outer arm, or back once a week for three weeks in a row. You won’t put on a patch for the fourth week.

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How Much $$$?

Costs about $0–$80 a month

Effective?

Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they always use the patch as directed. About 9 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they don’t always use the patch as directed.

Side Effects?

Some of the most common side effects usually clear up after two or three months. They include

  • bleeding between periods
  • breast tenderness
  • nausea and vomiting
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