Do birth control pills cause weight gain and infertility? We break down everything you need to know about the hormonal contraceptive pill in Singapore.
There are many birth control methods in Singapore — condoms, patches, rings, injections, IUDs, ligation and even vasectomies — but one of the most popular methods is the birth control pill, an oral contraceptive.
For ladies who are considering this contraceptive option, you’re in luck. In this article, we will discuss all about birth control pills, how they work, their costs, and where you can get birth control pills in Singapore.
Table of contents
What are birth control pills, and how do they work?
Also known as contraception, birth control pills (BCP) are pills designed to be orally ingested by women to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
These pills contain hormones (estrogen and progestogen) that prevent pregnancy by stopping or reducing ovulation. They also thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus and thin the uterus lining so that a fertilised egg is less likely to attach.
BCPs are recommended for women who are sexually active and want to prevent pregnancy.
How effective are birth control pills?
If you use it according to instructions (one pill per day), BCPs are 99% effective. However, some people might forget to take it daily, so the pill is might actually be about 91% effective.
The advantages of birth control pills
One of the most popular birth control methods in Singapore is BCP, and it’s not difficult to see why.
The advantages of taking birth control pills are:
- They are easy to use — simply take a pill a day
- Birth control pills are highly effective when used correctly (99%)
- Easy to reverse — just stop taking them, and your fertility will return immediately
- Controls acne (which is why even sexually inactive people consume BCPs)
- Regulate menstruation (BCPs make flow less heavy and more regular and improves PMS symptoms)
- Reduce fibroids, endometriosis and the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers
The disadvantages of birth control pills and their potential side effects
Like all medications, birth control pills have their disadvantages and side effects.
The disadvantages of taking birth control pills:
- You MUST be consistent in taking the pills daily — you cannot miss a single day
- No protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) — you’ll still need to use a condom
- Other medication or alcohol may interfere with the pill’s effectiveness
The most common side effects of birth control pills are:
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Sore breasts
These side effects will usually go away after a couple of months, and they don’t happen to everyone who takes the pill.
In addition, not everyone can take BCPs.
People who should not be taking birth control pills include:
- Smokers above the age of 35 — May cause blood clots, stroke or even heart attack, which chances increasees with your age and how heavily you smoke
- Breastfeeding mothers
- Women with medical problems such as liver disorders and high blood pressure
Common FAQs and misconceptions about birth control pills debunked
Will birth control make me gain weight?
No! You may have heard from some of your girlfriends that they experienced weight gain while on BCPs. This is generally not true, according to WebMD.
In most cases, this “weight gain” is a side effect due to mild fluid retention and bloatedness rather than increased body fat.
How long can I be on birth control pills? Will it affect future pregnancies?
You can be on BCPs for as long as you like. And no, they won’t affect future fertility. You can stop taking them at any point if you decide you do want to get pregnant — the effects will immediately be reversed.
Can birth control pills make me infertile?
The only permanent form of birth control is sterilisation.
Will birth control pills cause abortions?
No, Birth control does not cause an abortion or end a pregnancy. Birth control prevents fertilisation and/or pregnancy.
Can I get birth control pills without a prescription in Singapore?
The short answer is: No.
BCPs aren’t available over the counter in Singapore. To get any type of birth control in Singapore, you will need to fulfil these two requirements:
- Be above the age of 16
- See a doctor and get a prescription
Birth control pills commonly available in Singapore
The most common brands of BCPs sold in Singapore are Microgynon 30, Yasmin, Yaz and Diane-35.
Depending on the brand, these range from S$30 for a 6-month supply to S$50 for a month’s supply.
The cheapest BCP brand is Microgynon 30 from polyclinics and Diane-35, while Yasmin is the most expensive.
Where can I get birth control pills in Singapore, and how much do they cost?
There are a couple of ways to get your BCPs, which come in 28-day or 21-day packs, in Singapore. You can either get them by visiting doctors or purchasing them online.
Getting pills from GPs/gynaecologist/polyclinic in Singapore
According to this Redditor, you can get six months’ worth of pills for S$30+, including consultation at the polyclinic.
These brands aren’t available at polyclinics, meaning you’ll have to get them from a GP or your gynae or online. One Redditor even mentioned that she was charged S$51 for 21 days worth of Yasmin pills when she visited a particular clinic.
Ordering pills online in Singapore
If you’re embarrassed or just don’t want the hassle of seeing a doctor in person, you can always opt for a teleconsultation with a licensed doctor and get a prescription via these websites:
The procedure for online consultations and getting the BCP is pretty simple:
- Online questionnaire
Answer some questions about your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle
- Doctor's consultation
Attend a video consultation with a doctor to get your prescription plan
Get your prescription delivered to your doorstep in discreet packaging. Some websites even do express delivery within three hours and provide refills.
That being said, getting your prescription online may be cheaper than physically visiting a doctor, depending on the brand of BCP you want. These online websites offer subscriptions starting from S$10 to S$20 a month.
How to save money while ordering your birth control pills online
As you can tell, BCPs are expensive. Here one way you can save money on BCPs:
1. Ship your BCPs in from Malaysia
This helpful netizen on Reddit mentioned that she ships her pills (Yaz) in bulk from Malaysia.
According to her, it costs around S$17 per pack compared to S$36+ per pack in Singapore, excluding consultation.
2. Order them online and pay with a credit card
If you’ve decided to get your BCPs via online consultation, pay with your favourite credit card to get points/rewards/miles/cashback. Don’t have one yet? Sign up here, and you may even score a Dyson V8 Slim Fluffy (worth S$549) or an Apple iPad 9th Gen (worth S$499).
What to do if you’ve forgotten to take your birth control pills?
You should refer to the pamphlet of your BCPs as different types of BCPs may have different schedules and instructions on how to take them should you miss a dosage.
What to do if you miss one pill
If you forget to take your birth control pill at the usual time, take your pill as soon as you remember on the same day. Take precautions by using a back-up non-hormonal contraceptive method such as condoms on that day.
What to do if you miss two pills
If you’ve missed two pills, you should take the last pill you missed now, even if this means taking two pills in one day.
According to Healthline, taking two birth control pills in one day won't have any long-term health effects and probably won't cause any symptoms.
What to do if you miss three pills
According to Cleveland Clinic, if you last ingested the pill three or more days ago, you are no longer protected against pregnancy. You should contact your doctor immediately and discuss the next steps.
What happens if I have sex and I’ve forgotten to take my birth control pills?
You might need to take an emergency contraceptive pill if you’ve had unprotected sex without your BCP.
You should still take your most recent pill as soon as you remember.
Emergency contraception (Plan B/morning after pill)
What is emergency contraception?
Emergency contraception, also known as “Plan B” or “morning-after pill”, is birth control you can use to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Emergency contraception is estimated to reduce the risk of pregnancy by 75 to 90%.
How does emergency contraception work?
Emergency contraception prevents pregnancies either by delaying ovulation or killing the sperm before it reaches the egg.
How long should I wait to use emergency contraception?
You should take one as soon as possible. The earlier you take it after having unprotected sex, the more effective it can prevent a pregnancy.
Where can I get emergency contraception in Singapore and how much does it cost?
If you need emergency contraception, you’ll need to visit a doctor and get a prescription.
Emergency contraception should not be used as your main method of birth control, and it is, as the name implies, for emergencies.
Additionally, Emergency contraceptives are very expensive — at around S$40 to S$50 a pill — we’re sure you don’t want to spend that amount every time you have sex.
When should I use emergency contraception?
If any of the following has occurred:
- You and your partner had unprotected sex
- You think your birth control method has failed
- You forgot and missed taking two or more days of your birth control pills
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