IMPORTANT: Thorough counseling about bleeding changes and other side effects is an important part of providing the method. Counseling about bleeding changes may be the most important help a woman needs to keep using the method without concern.

Describe the most common side effects
  • In the first few months, bleeding at unexpected times (irregular bleeding). Then lighter, shorter, and more regular monthly bleeding.
  • Headaches, breast tenderness, weight change, and possibly other side effects.
Explain about these side effects
  • Side effects are not signs of illness.
  • Most side effects usually become less or stop within the first few months of using COCs.

  • Common, but some women do not have them.
Explain what to do in case of side effects
  • Keep taking COCs. Skipping pills risks pregnancy and can make some side effects worse.
  • Take each pill at the same time every day to help reduce irregular bleeding and also help with remembering.
  • Take pills with food or at bedtime to help avoid nausea.
  • The client can come back for help if side effects bother her or if she has other concerns.

Understanding Side Effects