Why it's done

The birth control patch is used to prevent pregnancy. The birth control patch has some advantages over other types of birth control:

  • It eliminates the need to interrupt sex for contraception
  • You don't need your partner's cooperation to use it
  • It doesn't require daily attention or having to remember to take a pill every day
  • It provides a steady dose of hormones
  • It's easier to use for women who have trouble swallowing pills
  • It can be removed at any time, allowing for a quick return to fertility

The birth control patch isn't appropriate for everyone, however. Your health care provider may advise against the patch if you:

  • Are age 35 or older and smoke
  • Have chest pain or a history of heart attack, stroke or severe high blood pressure
  • Have a history of blood clots
  • Have a history of breast, uterine or liver cancer
  • Weigh more than 198 pounds (90 kilograms)
  • Have liver disease or migraines with aura
  • Have diabetes-related complications of the kidneys, eyes, nerves or blood vessels
  • Have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Developed yellowing of the whites of the eyes or of the skin (jaundice) during pregnancy or when previously taking hormonal contraceptives
  • Are about to have major surgery and will be unable to move around as usual
  • Are taking any medications or herbal supplements
  • Are sensitive to any part of the birth control patch

In addition, tell your health care provider if you:

  • Are breast-feeding or recently gave birth, had a miscarriage or an abortion
  • Have concerns about a new breast lump or change in your breast self-exam
  • Take epilepsy medications
  • Have diabetes, or gallbladder, liver, heart or kidney disease
  • Have high cholesterol or triglycerides
  • Have irregular periods
  • Have depression
  • Have skin conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema