The birth control patch is a thin, beige, 1 3/4-inch square that sticks to your skin like an adhesive bandage. Once applied to the skin, the patch releases a continuous dose of contraceptive hormones that are absorbed into your bloodstream through your skin.
Because the patch contains both estrogen and progestin (synthetic progesterone), it's considered a type of combined hormonal contraception. These are the same two hormones you'd get from taking the combination pill (the Pill) or using a birth control ring, the other two combined hormonal contraceptive methods.
You apply one patch to your skin each week for three consecutive weeks. Then you go without a patch for one week before starting the cycle again. …show more content…
The progestin has other contraceptive effects, as well. It thickens your cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to get into your uterus and fallopian tubes where one might fertilize an egg, if an egg were released. It also thins the lining of your uterus, making it less likely that an egg could implant if it did get fertilized.
Can I use the patch if I'm breastfeeding?
If breastfeeding is going well after the first six weeks, it's okay for you to use the patch. If you're not producing as much milk as you'd like, or if your baby is having any trouble nursing, though, the patch may not be a good choice for you, because it may reduce the amount of milk you produce by a bit.
How effective is the patch?
When used correctly and consistently, the patch is about 99 percent effective. This means that only about one women out of 100 who use the patch exactly as prescribed will get pregnant during the first year of use.
If you don't use the patch exactly as prescribed – for example, you don't keep it on continuously for three weeks or you wait too long to apply a new patch without using backup contraception for the correct amount of time – the likelihood that you'll get pregnant is much