How to Get Birth Control Pills: A Guide for Canadians
Birth control pills are a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy and manage various health conditions. But how can you get them in Canada? Here are some options and tips to help you access this important medication.
What are birth control pills?
Birth control pills are a type of hormonal contraception that contain synthetic versions of the hormones estrogen and progestin. These hormones prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries) and thicken the cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to reach the egg. There are different types of birth control pills, such as combination pills (which contain both estrogen and progestin), progestin-only pills (which contain only progestin), and extended-cycle pills (which allow you to have fewer or no periods).
Why do people use birth control pills?
People use birth control pills for various reasons, such as:
Reducing menstrual cramps and bleeding
Regulating irregular periods
Managing acne, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and other conditions
Lowering the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer
How effective are birth control pills?
Birth control pills are very effective if taken correctly and consistently. According to Planned Parenthood, the pill is about 91% effective with typical use, meaning that about 9 out of 100 people who use it will get pregnant each year. However, the pill can be up to 99.7% effective with perfect use, meaning that less than 1 out of 100 people who use it will get pregnant each year. To achieve perfect use, you need to take the pill every day at the same time, without missing any doses or taking any medications that may interfere with its effectiveness.
How much do birth control pills cost?
The cost of birth control pills depends on several factors, such as:
The brand and type of pill you choose
Whether you have health insurance or not
Whether you qualify for any government programs or subsidies that cover the cost of birth control
Where you get your prescription and refill
In Canada, birth control pills can cost anywhere from $0 to $50 per month, depending on these factors. However, many people can get low-cost or free birth control pills through their health insurance plans, provincial health plans, or local sexual health clinics. For example, in British Columbia, people under 19 years old can get free birth control pills through the BC PharmaCare Plan G program. In Ontario, people under 25 years old can get free birth control pills through the OHIP+ program. In Quebec, people under 25 years old can get subsidized birth control pills through the RAMQ program. To find out more about your options, you can contact your health care provider, pharmacist, or local sexual health clinic.
Where can I get birth control pills?
To get birth control pills in Canada, you need a prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner. You can get a prescription from:
Your family doctor or regular health care provider
A walk-in clinic or urgent care centre
A sexual health clinic or Planned Parenthood centre
An online service or app that connects you with a licensed prescriber
Once you have a prescription, you can fill it at any pharmacy or online retailer that sells birth control pills. Some pharmacies may also offer delivery services for your convenience. You will need to refill your prescription every month or every few months, depending on how many packs of pills you get at a time.