However, we should point out three things.
The POP’s great advantage is that its health risks are less than those of the combined Pill.
It doesn’t control your periods, in the way that the combined Pill does. It’s slightly less effective than the ordinary Pill. It’s not always effective in preventing ectopic pregnancies. It may not be as effective in women who weigh over 70 kilogrammes (11 stone). You have to remember to take it at roughly the same time each day (within three hours.
Also, Cerazette does seem to have an even lower accidental pregnancy rate than the older types of mini Pill do.
What are the side effects?Many women won’t get any side effects at all.
But the following side effects can sometimes occur. Your doctor or family planning nurse will advise you about this.
Also, if you are very big, it’s possible that the mini Pill might not be strong enough to give you protection against conception.
How effective is it?It’s not quite as efficient in protecting you against pregnancy as the combined Pill, but it is pretty good.
If 100 sexually active women took the mini Pill regularly for a year, less than three of them would get pregnant. This makes the POP about as effective as the coil (IUD).
However, Cerazette and the others in its group probably have a failure rate of only about 1 per cent per year. But take care: much depends on your ability to take the tablet every single day at about the same time each day. If you can’t manage this (and it isn’t easy!
), you’ll increase your risk of pregnancy.
An attack of diarrhoea or vomiting can also prevent the mini Pill from working effectively.
How do I get it?Begin by going to a doctor or a family planning clinic and asking them about the mini Pill. In practice, family planning clinic staff tend to know more about POPs than almost anyone else.
Discuss whether the mini Pill would be suitable for you. Ask about the latest situation regarding side effects.
If you decide to go ahead with the mini Pill, you’ll be given a prescription for several packs. Read the leaflet inside the packet.
Then start taking the tablet on the first day of your next period this will give you immediate protection. However, if you’re absolutely sure that you’re not pregnant, you can start taking the mini Pill on any day of your cycle but you may not be protected immediately.
Take the doctor’s or nurse’s advice about this.
If you’re not having periods at the moment because you’ve recently had a baby, then you can start taking it immediately. (Don’t do this if there’s any suspicion that you might be pregnant again.)
What brands of mini Pill are available?In the UK, there are now 10 brands which could be available, depending on where you go for advice.