Safe and Suitable for Nearly All Women

Nearly all women can use POPs safely and effectively, including women who:

  • Are breastfeeding (she can start immediately after childbirth)
  • Have or have not had children
  • Are married or are not married
  • Are of any age, including adolescents and women over 40 years old
  • Have just had an abortion, miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy
  • Smoke cigarettes, regardless of woman’s age or number of cigarettes smoked
  • Have anemia now or had in the past
  • Have varicose veins
  • Are living with HIV, whether or not on antiretroviral therapy 

Avoid Unnecessary Procedures

(see Importance of Procedures)

Women can begin using POPs:

  • Without a pelvic examination
  • Without any blood tests or other routine laboratory tests
  • Without cervical cancer screening
  • Without a breast examination
  • Without a pregnancy test. A woman can begin using POPs at any time, even when she is not having monthly bleeding at the time, if it is reasonably certain she is not pregnant (see Pregnancy Checklist).
Blood pressure measurement is desirable before starting a hormonal method. However, where the risks of pregnancy are high and few methods are available, a woman should not be denied a hormonal method simply because her blood pressure cannot be measured. If possible, she can have her blood pressure measured later at a time and place convenient for her.