Medically reviewed by Dr. Nancy Shannon, MD, PhD on January 13, 2020
You can take birth control pills if you have high blood pressure, but you may be limited on your options. Some types of birth control pills have been known to raise blood pressure in women. This can be especially true in women who are overweight, have struggled with high blood pressure during a previous pregnancy, or have a family history of kidney disease or high blood pressure. Smoking can also significantly increase your risks of developing or exacerbating high blood pressure when taking birth control pills.
The primary concern with birth control pills and blood pressure occurs with combination pills. Estrogen is the hormone that can lead to increased blood pressure and should be avoided if you currently have high blood pressure. Luckily, there are birth control pills on the market that contain progestin-only, often referred to as the mini-pill. The mini-pill is safe to take when you have high blood pressure, but requires taking it at a more consistent time of day to provide the maximum effectiveness. If you have high blood pressure and prefer birth control pills for your method of contraception, talk to your local medical provider about your options. When using birth control with high blood pressure, you should have your blood pressure checked at least every six months. We recommend checking it after 2-3 months on the pill.