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“Is it safe to skip my period?” and other common birth control questions

We gathered some of the most common —  and not so common — questions about birth control. And we’ve got answers for you.

Popular questions and answers about your period and birth control

Your unanswered questions about periods, birth control, and ovulation.

Do you still ovulate on birth control?

It’s unlikely. Hormones play important roles in many of our bodily systems. The pill, the patch, the ring, and the birth control shot all suppress ovulation by blocking certain hormone signals that cause an egg to be released every month. This is why hormonal birth control is so effective at preventing pregnancy. 

If you’re on the IUD, however, you typically will ovulate. Hormonal IUDs work by making the uterine lining a hostile environment for a fertilized egg to implant into and copper IUDs are simply toxic to sperm.

Is it really safe to control if and when you get your periods?

In many cases, yes, it’s safe to skip a period. However, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider before doing so.

Anyone who has chosen to skip a family reunion can back us up on this: just because something regularly happens, doesn’t mean you’re obligated to participate. Periods often are no exception. Menstruation is part of how the body prepares for pregnancy, so if you’re not trying to get pregnant, you might not need to shed your uterine lining every month.

Some healthcare providers discourage (or at least don’t recommend) purposefully skipping periods, so it’s important to speak with your provider about whether or not this would be right for you.

Are IUDs and pelvic infections linked?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) occurs when bacteria enter and infect the reproductive organs. Though individuals are at risk for bacteria to enter their vagina after an IUD has been inserted, the risk is lower than commonly believed. Undetected and untreated STDs are more likely to put someone at risk for PID than an IUD insertion.

Do you need birth control while breastfeeding?

Wasn’t pregnancy fun? Want to do it again? Like, in a month? If your answer is no and your baby is still breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to get on some form of birth control. Even though you may not be menstruating, as soon as three weeks after labor your body could start releasing an egg again. This makes you fertile! Speak to your healthcare provider to decide what’s best for you.

  • Murry, Mary. “Birth control after pregnancy: Think ahead.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. December 14, 2010. Web.
  • “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – CDC Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. May 23, 2016. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Choosing a birth control pill.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. January 22, 2015. Web.
  • Lopez, L.M.; Grimes, D.A.; Chen-Mok, M.; Westhoff, C.; Edelman, A.; Helmerhorst, F.M. “Hormonal contraceptives for contraception in overweight or obese women.” PubMed. NCMI. 2013. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Mirena (hormonal IUD).” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. January 10, 2015. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Delaying your period with birth control pills.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. February 10, 2015. Web.

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