family planning

Birth Control Patch - Things You Need to Know About Birth Control Patch

  • 4.7   (6 Votes)
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MBBS on 17 Jul 2018 - Written by Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra - MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MBBS

Birth control patch is an effective method to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Birth control patch helps in understanding how to avoid pregnancy for couples who are not ready to conceive. Birth control patch usage needs to be made clear and must be changed after every 3 weeks.

The birth control patch is a thin, beige and plastic patch that sticks to the skin. It's used to prevent you from getting pregnant. A new patch is placed on the skin once a week for three weeks in a row, followed by a patch-free week.

Other options similar to the contraceptive patch include the birth control pill or ring, which have the same hormones as the patch. Or you may want to consider getting an implant or IUD- these safe, convenient methods provide over 99% effective protection and prevents you from getting pregnant.

birth control, birth control methods

How isbirthcontrol patch used?

Patch is put on the first day of her menstrual cycle. It is changed once a week for 3 consecutive weeks. The patch should be put to one of four areas of the body: abdomen, buttocks, upper arm, or upper torso except for the breasts. On the fourth week, no patch should be worn, and a girl's period should start during this time. The birth control patch contains two versions of the hormones estrogen and progestin. These are the same types of hormones found in most birth control pills and contraception. Your body absorbs the hormones from the contraceptive patch. Then, the hormones start working by preventing pregnancy by blocking your ovaries from releasing eggs that prevent you from getting pregnant. The hormones also thicken your cervical mucus to keep sperm out. The patch usually takes one week after you initially start using it to reach its full effect.

What is the effectiveness ofbirthcontrol patch?

It is 99% effective when used correctly but it is more effective if the contraceptive patch is worn at same day and time every week. 

Effectiveness is an important and common concern when choosing a birth control method. The birth control patch is very effective. It works best when it is always placed on the skin on time. That keeps the correct level of hormone in a woman’s body.

1- Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they always use the patch as directed.

2- About 9 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they don’t always use the patch as directed.

The patch may be less effective for women who are overweight. Talk with your healthcare provider if you are concerned about how well the patch may work for you.  

birth control methods, birth control

How islongbirth control patch effective?

One patch is used for 1 week. You don’t need to use any patch during the 4th week.

What are the advantages of birth control patch?

These health benefits may include some protection against

  • Acne
  • Bad menstrual cramps
  • Bone thinning 
  • Breast growths that are not cancer ectopic pregnancy
  • Endometrial and ovarian cancers serious infection in the ovaries, tubes, and uterus
  • Iron deficiency
  • Anemia cysts in the breasts and ovaries pelvic inflammatory disease, which often leads to infertility when left untreated premenstrual symptoms,
  • Headaches and depression
  • Heavy and/or irregular periods

What are the disadvantages of birth control patch?

Some women may have undesirable side effects while using the birth control patch. But many women adjust to it with few or no problems.

Some of the most common side effects usually clear up after two or three months. They include

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea and vomiting

contraception, birth control methods, birth control

The birth control patch may also cause more long-lasting side effects. The hormones in the patch may change a woman’s sexual desire. A woman may also have a reaction or irritation where she puts the patch on her skin.

What are the risks of birth control patch?

All hormonal birth control has the potential to cause rare but serious side effects, including:

  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Pulmonary embolism

There have been conflicting findings, but recent and larger studies demonstrate no difference in risk among estrogen-containing pills, contraceptive patches, and rings. The overall risk is low.

However, complications are more common in women who:

  • Smoke and are older than 35 years
  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels
  • Have certain inherited blood clotting disorders

To know more about home remedies to beat the pain during periods, please read our article on Menstrual Cramps. In case you want to avoid pregnancy then explore our article on Birth Control Methods.

Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra

Written by

Obstetrician, Laparoscopic Surgeon

"Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra is a Laparoscopic Surgeon (Obstetrics and Gynecology) and Gynecologist based in Kolkata. He has nearly 3 decades of experience. He completed his MBBS from Nil Ratan Sircar College and Hospital, Kolkata in 1990. After that, he enrolled himself in Patna Medical College, Patna in 1993 to get a degree in MS in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He went to Australia to do his Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery from Sydney University in 2005. With a book ""State of the Art of Laparoscopic Suturing"" under his name, he has been in a successful career of performing nearly 2000 Laparoscopic Procedures. He came back to India and became a member of the Indian Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (IAGE). He is very helpful to the patients having High-Risk Pregnancies and Abnormal Vaginal or Menstrual Bleeding. The patients seeking treatment for gynecological problems like Gyne Laparoscopy, Laparoscopic hysterectomy, IUI, and IVF can consult Dr. Mahapatra at Millenium Clinic, Teghoria and Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Barasat, Kolkata. You can get his contact details on"


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Rohini Yagde

I have diabetes so, contraceptive pills and IUD are not a good option for me and now patches too. Which birth control method is suitable for me? Please suggest!

Sept. 30, 2018, 11:14 p.m. 4.5


Apoorva Jay

I was looking for some more information like the best brand, and cost as well. Good article though!

Aug. 29, 2018, 5:22 a.m. 5.0


Varsha Roy

The patch was working well for me, but then I got pregnant after 2 months. I can't fully trust them now.

Feb. 12, 2018, 11:34 a.m. 4.5



I am using birth control contraceptive pills and got sick of them. The birth control patch sounds good in this article. Will give it a try.

Nov. 12, 2017, 8:56 p.m. 4.5



I do want to go for a birth control patch but I'm afraid it may have implications as I'm above 35 and smoke.

March 30, 2017, 11:03 a.m. 4.5


Saras Jonan

I have been using birth control patch for 2 years and it works great. Nausea and vomiting are very mild and rare in my case.

Feb. 22, 2017, 10:01 a.m. 5.0

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