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Pregnancy Prevention 101

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The Pill
Health A-Z
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    IUD
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    Health A-Z slideshow-slide 1. IUD
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    Condoms
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    Health A-Z slideshow-slide 2. Condoms
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    Behavioral Methods
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    Health A-Z slideshow-slide 3. Behavioral Methods
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    The Pill
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    Health A-Z slideshow-slide 4. The Pill
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    Patch & Shot
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    Diaphragm
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    Permanent Birth Control
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    Health A-Z slideshow-slide 7. Permanent Birth Control
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    When Birth Control Fails
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    Health A-Z slideshow-slide 8. When Birth Control Fails
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    Emergency Contraception
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    Contraception Conception
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    Health A-Z slideshow-slide 10. Contraception Conception
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4. The Pill

Oral contraception, more commonly known as "the pill," is the most popular method of prescription birth control in the U.S. It comes in two forms: combination, and progestin-only, which is often referred to as the "mini-pill."

Combination pills contain both estrogen and progestin. This combination pill works primarily by preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg each month.

The mini-pill, which only contains progestin, works by thickening a woman's cervical mucus and thinning the lining of the uterus, blocking fertilization and implantation. It may also suppress ovulation, although it is statistically a little less effective than the combination pill.

Neither form of the pill protects against STDs and the combination pill can increase the risk of stroke, particularly in smokers and women older than 35. The mini pill has less health risks, particularly for older women and smokers.

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Did You Know?

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 The Pill was approved fo...
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The Pill was approved for use in Japan in June 1999. According to estimates, only 1.3 percent of 28 million Japanese females use the pill, compared with 15.6 percent in the United States.