To switch birth control methods, you need a prescription for the new type of birth control you’ll be using. In addition, it’s important to determine the best time to switch over to ensure the best protection against pregnancy.
Step 1: Get a New Prescription
Talk to your medical provider about getting a prescription for a new type of birth control. You can discuss your lifestyle, side effects, and health concerns to make sure you get a new birth control method that works for you. For example, if you have trouble remembering to take the pill every day, you might prefer using the ring or the patch instead.
Step 2: Figure Out the Timing
The best time to start your new birth control depends on which method you’ve been using and the method you’re switching to. In many cases, you’ll start the new method right after you stop using the old one at the end of a cycle. In some cases, you can overlap the two methods for a short time or use a backup method of birth control until your new method provides protection against pregnancy.
The Reproductive Health Access Project provides a helpful chart you can use to figure out the timing. You may need to schedule an appointment if you plan to switch to the shot, the implant, or an IUD, each of which must be administered or inserted by a medical provider.
Step 3: Make the Switch
Once you’ve decided when to start another type of birth control, all you need to do is put it on your calendar and stick to the schedule. You may experience some minor side effects as your body adjusts to your new method of birth control. More serious side effects are very rare, but if you experience troubling symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or leg swelling and pain, seek medical attention right away.