Which is better for birth control: the pill or the shot?

There are many methods available today which you can choose to prevent a pregnancy. If you are considering taking a pill or having a shot to prevent an unwanted pregnancy you must be wondering which one is the best, which one works better, which one has less side effects, which one is safer, which one is cheaper or expensive, etc? Continue reading and learn everything you need to know about birth control pills vs. birth control shots. 

Birth control is available in different forms, including injectable shots or pills that can be taken orally. When it comes to birth control pills you need to take them every day at the same time. This can be something inconvenient for a lot of women and forgetting to take the pill at the exact time, especially forgetting to take the pill for a day or more will significantly increase the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. When it comes to the shot, you will have to receive a birth control shot every 3 months. 

There are many different brands of birth control pills and mainly they are divided into two groups: progestin-only pills, otherwise known as the mini-pills, or combination contraceptive pills which contain both the estrogen and the progestin. The birth control shot also contains progestin. Progestin is a hormone that prevents the ovaries from releasing the egg, which means that the shot will prevent the normal ovulation. Also, progestin will make the lining of the uterus less favorable for the egg to get implanted if fertilisation occurs. 

The estrogen component in the combination pills actually thickens the uterine lining, which provides stability and controlled bleeding patterns. This is why people taking the combination pill usually have a regular monthly period.

Which one is more effective, the pill or the shot? According to some estimates, the pill when not taken correctly increases the risk of getting pregnant and about 9 out of 100 women will end up being pregnant within the first year of taking free birth control pills. However, when it comes to birth control pills, this likelihood is a little bit different and estimates have shown that about 6 out of 100 women will end up with an unwanted pregnancy within the first year, especially if the shot is not taken regularly every 3 months just as prescribed. 

One thing you should keep in mind is that certain medications can have a negative impact on the pill or the shot, interfering with their normal function of preventing a pregnancy. You should consult your doctor before taking any medication and you should let your doctor know on what type of birth control you are currently before starting a treatment for any medical condition. You definitely would not want to end up pregnant if you have not been planning it. 

How long it will take a woman to get pregnant after stopping the pill or not having a birth control shot anymore? This is something very relative and depends on one woman to the other. However, it is believed that women will be able to get pregnant about 10 months after stopping birth control shots. 

How about side effects? Which one has more side effects, the pill or the shot? As with any other medication, you should know that both birth control pills and the birth control shot can have side effects for your health. Possible side effects of birth control shots include spotting and vaginal bleeding between periods, missed periods, mood changes, weight gain, headaches, sore breasts, bone loss and an increased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis, etc. Possible side effects of birth control pills include sore breasts, headaches, stomach pain, nausea, increased blood pressure, weight gain, mood changes, etc. It is believed that mini pills have less side effects compared to the combination pill if you decide to take birth control pills. However, you should consult your doctor about which one is better and more suitable for you, the mini-pill or the combination birth control pill. 

You should be aware of the fact that combination pills are related to an increased risk of blood clots, heart attacks, stroke, etc. If you have an increased risk for these medical conditions, maybe you should consider the mini-pill or the birth control shot to prevent the possibility of developing these serious medical conditions, which can be life-threatening too. 

Which one is cheaper or more expensive, the pill or the shot? For sure, the cost of birth control will depend on the manufacture. Birth control shots cost about $50-60, once in three months and birth control pills cost about $10-50 every month depending on the manufacturer and type of pill you decide to choose. 

If you still have doubts about birth control pills or birth control shots you should know that there are more options available. Non-prescription birth control pills are male or female condoms, sponges, or spermicides, while prescription medications that your doctor can give to you are intrauterine devices, diaphragms, vaginal rings, patches, implantable rods, etc. 

Don’t forget that both the pill or the shot don’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. 


Deciding which birth control method is better for you is quite challenging sometimes. There is a wide range of options for you to choose, some without a prescription and others that require a prescription from your healthcare provider. However, the decision is all yours and you should know which one works best for you. When in doubt it’s best to consult your healthcare provider and get advice. 

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