Most women in Australia use some form of contraception throughout their reproductive lives, with oral contraception (a.k.a the pill) being the most popular form . The pill has been around for quite some time now, with a stack of different brand names coming onto the market over the years.
With so many choices and brand names to pick from, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. Plus, you might be wondering why their price points vary, and why some brands are more affordable or more expensive than others.
We're diving into everything you need to know about the pill, what you need to know about the different brands available and one of the easiest ways to get oral contraception delivered to your door.
What is the pill?
The pill, also known as birth control pills, is a type of oral contraceptive method containing 2 hormones: oestrogen and progestogen, which are produced by the ovaries . Usually, the pill comes in a packet of 28 with a mix of hormone and sugar pills that you take daily at roughly the same time each day .
Aside from your standard oral contraceptive pills, there are 2 other types of contraceptive pills including the progestogen-only pill (a.k.a the mini pill) and an emergency contraceptive pill . The progestogen-only pill only contains progestogen which is useful for women who can't take the combined pill due to health-related reasons or if they're breastfeeding.
An emergency contraceptive pill, otherwise known as the morning after pill, is a type of emergency contraception that can be used within a few days of unprotected sex to reduce the risk of pregnancy .
But, this isn't a substitute for regular contraceptive methods meaning it's not recommended for regular use.
How does the pill work?
Birth control pills work by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg each month. It also thickens the fluid around the cervix (which is the opening to the uterus or womb) which stops sperm from entering, therefore, preventing an unplanned pregnancy .
When you're first starting the pill or going back on the pill after a break, it can take up to 12 days to start working and preventing pregnancy. While birth control pills are 99% effective (if taken correctly), they don't stop sexually transmitted infections (STIs) so using condoms is still a must when having sex.
Why is there a whole spectrum of contraceptive pill names?
There are a bunch of different birth control pills on the market because every pill affects every individual differently. Some women experience negative reactions from one type of birth control pill so there are other options available to try a different brand.
Some brands of birth control pills also offer different benefits. For example, a certain brand of the pill may be better suited for women who have mental health issues, need help regulating their periods, control acne, and treat heavy menstrual bleeding and cramps.
When choosing the right birth control for your specific needs, your doctor will typically recommend a specific brand of oral contraceptive that they think will react best for your body (making sure to keep your own medical history in mind).
How much does the pill cost?
Since there are so many different brands on the market they all vary in price. Some oral contraceptive pills are listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) making them cheaper than those that aren't.
Brands that are listed under the PBS generally cost around $10 to $30 a month with generic versions being at a lower cost .
However, there are some birth control pills that are considered newer-generation pills containing different hormones and offer additional benefits such as reducing acne and are less likely to cause weight gain. But, typically these are more expensive and can set you back upwards of $90 a month.
If they serve the same purpose, why are they all priced differently?
The cost of birth control pills varies based on whether they're listed under the PBS which makes them more affordable than those on the private market.
Typically, PBS-listed pills that have been around for many years have more clinical data to back up their efficacy, which can also help to lower their price.
So, why don't new varieties of birth control pills qualify to be listed on the PBS? Well, pharmaceutical companies making the birth control pill have to apply for PBS approval and new varieties on the private market typically make more money by not applying for PBS approval.
Does the brand of birth control pill matter?
With so many birth control options, you may be wondering if are they all the same, if are they all effective in preventing pregnancy and if they come with the same side effects.
Basically, all combination oral contraception pills protect you from pregnancy in the same way. But, some pills have different side effects and are prescribed for different health concerns. For example, certain brands of birth control pills are used to minimise certain side effects like irregular bleeding and nausea.
Some birth control pills can have negative effects on your mental health, cause weight gain and other unpleasant side effects. Plus, certain birth control brands are generally prescribed to manage other health issues like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis .
It all really depends on your goals and reasons for taking birth control in the first place and that's something that's discussed between you and your doctor.
Where can I get the pill in Australia?
In Australia, you need to get a prescription for birth control pills from your doctor. In your doctor visits, they get to know your medical history, what other medications you're taking and figure out which brand of birth control is the best option for you.
Once you've got a prescription, you can head to your local pharmacy to pick up your birth control.
You can also go to a sexual health clinic to get a prescription for birth control if they've got doctors on hand. There's also an option of making telehealth appointments to get a birth control prescription, with a digital doctor.
Going to the doctor to get your birth control can sometimes come with an added cost where you have to pay for the doctor's visit to get a prescription for contraception.
That's why many women are exploring other methods of getting birth control like Kin's Contraceptive Pill Subscription. Kin Fertility lets you get the pill delivered straight to your door without the hassle of having to head to the doctor or the pharmacy.
So, how does it work? You score access to a qualified Australian GP via text-based consultations and you'll also be able to talk to a doctor in case you've got issues or side effects with your birth control pill. Plus, your birth control pills are shipped straight from our partner pharmacies so you're paying the normal birth control cost (nothing extra).
Can you get the pill for free?
Unfortunately, you can't get birth control for free in Australia, although there are government programs like the PBS that make some birth control pills more affordable and help you save money.
Most birth control pills are safe and effective methods of contraception, helping a lot of women prevent pregnancy. But, with so many different brands on the market, it's important to find the right birth control pill for your individual needs and health concerns.