Birth Control Pill Basics

Close-up of birth control pills in two plastic tablet dispenser cases( — The birth control pill was created in 1960 as a way for women to control their menstrual cycle, help alleviate hormonal imbalance symptoms and, of course, to prevent pregnancy.

These small pills, loaded with progesterone and/or estrogen, work together to prevent ovulation (the monthly release of an egg from the ovaries to the uterus where it prepares for fertilization). The pill also makes the lining of the uterus unreceptive to the implantation of a fertilized egg (necessary to get pregnant).

The 4 Types of Birth Control Pills

Progestin-only Pills: They contain no estrogen and are ideal for women who have just given birth.

Combination Pills: The most common form of oral contraceptive. Most packages contain three weeks of hormone pills and one week of sugar pills (or spacer pills). They come in two different doses: monophasic and multiphasic.