family planning

Know about Signs of Pregnancy while on Birth Control - How to prevent pregnancy?

  • 4.9   (5 Votes)
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MBBS on 23 Dec 2017 - Written by Dr. Chitwan Dubey - MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MBBS

Birth control methods can lead to pregnancy. Early signs of pregnancy are missed periods, breast tenderness, nausea, fatigue, and headaches. A couple can prevent pregnancy while on birth control methods with measures such as following a routine, limit your alcohol consumption, keeping a backup protection, and emergency contraceptive pills.

Birth Control is a method of preventing pregnancy before it begins. There are several methods that work well and are easy to use. The methods include birth control implant, birth control patch, birth control pill, birth control shot, birth control sponge, vaginal ring, cervical cap and many more. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages and neither of them can guarantee you of completely escaping unwanted pregnancy. Go through this article to learn the reasons behind this and understand the symptoms for detecting early signs of pregnancy.

What are the reasons for getting pregnant while being on birth control methods?

Below are the reasons of attaining pregnancy even if you are on birth control:

1- Not following the schedule of taking pill every day. It is important to take pills every day at the same time. Skipping them can result in unwanted pregnancy.

2- Missing the dose. It is worse than not taking the pill at the right time. You need to double up if you miss the pill.

3- Alcohol also reduces the pill's effectiveness. Liver metabolizes alcohol and any medicine that affects the liver might also affect the way body absorbs the pill.

4- Antibiotics or seizure medication like Dilantin and carbamazepine reduces the pill's effectiveness.

Can I get pregnant while on birth control

5- Generic form of pills might save your money but they don't have the same medicine amount like their branded counterparts.

What are signs and symptoms of pregnancy while on Birth Control?

Below are the earliest signs and symptoms of pregnancy that can share similar characteristics as the side effects of birth control pill.

1- Missed or Lighter Period: The first effect of birth control can be your light period. Women can confuse it with implantation bleeding. It takes place when fertilized egg implants into the uterus. It can also result in breakthrough bleeding i.e. bleeding between periods. Birth control can also cause in missing a period, which can again be confused with the pregnancy symptom.

2- Nausea: The other indication can be morning sickness that is likely to happen at any time of the day. Birth control can also lead to nausea. You need to take a pregnancy test if you are on birth control and it doesn't help in solving nausea.

3- Breast Tenderness: Breasts might become tender to touch if the pregnancy continues. Hormonal birth control pills can be other reason.

4- Headaches and Fatigue: Another common pregnancy symptom is fatigue. Tiredness and headaches can also be a result of altered hormonal levels due to the usage of birth control pills.   

Other reasons to experience pregnancy like symptoms during Birth Control

Besides the above-mentioned symptoms of pregnancy and side effects of birth control, there are other conditions that can be the symptoms you are facing. It can be:

1- Sexually Transmitted Infections: Birth control doesn't protect from sexually transmitted infections and may cause cramping, nausea and bleeding.

how to know if you are pregnant

2- Fibroids or cysts: Unusual growths on woman’s uterus or ovaries are known to be fibroids and cysts. Woman with any of these conditions can experience unusual heavy bleeding.

3- Cancer: Cancers like cervical or endometrial cancer can be the reason, which is confused with pregnancy or birth control side effects. Symptoms can be bleeding, cramping, fatigue, pain and nausea.

What to do after discovering that you are pregnant while on Birth Control?

As the first step you must make sure that you are pregnant. The easiest way of confirming a pregnancy is 'over-the-counter pregnancy tests'.  If required take more than one test.  You can also visit your doctor and discuss the symptoms you are experiencing. The doctor will also conduct a pregnancy test as a part of routine checkup. At the end, you will get the result whether you are expecting or not. Once you discover that you are pregnant, you should start with the prenatal care.

How to prevent unplanned pregnancy during Birth Control?

Birth control is highly effective form of contraception. For making it more effective, you can apply below mentioned strategies:

1- Follow a routine: When we talk about birth control pill, make it a schedule of taking it every day at the same time. It will balance the hormone levels and minimizes the ovulation risks.

2- Don't forget placebo: It is advised to take placebo pills as skipping them might interrupt the routine. You won't be able to start the next pack on time, which will increase the ovulation chances.

3- Alcohol consumption: Limit your alcohol consumption as alcohol can affect the liver and can reduce its effectiveness of metabolizing the medications.

4- Using a backup protection: It is important to use a barrier method or other birth control form as some medications might reduce the effectiveness.

5- Consider another emergency birth control if you have realized you missed a pill or two or have unprotected sex.

You can consult the doctor if you still have any questions about any type of birth control.


Hope this article gives you all the detail regarding reasons, signs and symptoms of pregnancy while on birth control. Follow Elawoman blog to get regular updates on fertility health and treatments.

Dr. Chitwan Dubey

Written by

Obstetrician, Gynecologist

Dr. Chitwan Dubey is a leading Obstetrician and IUI Expert currently working at SevenHills Hospital in Andheri, East Mumbai. She has been practicing in the same field for over a decade and her areas of expertise are Endometriosis, Ectopic Pregnancies, Fibroids, Total Lap Hysterectomies, and Fertility Enhancing Diagnostic etc. She completed MBBS from Rant's Medical College in 2004 followed by MS in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from Mumbai University in 2006. Dr. Chitwan Dubey is an honoured member of Indian Medical Association (IMA). For contact details of Dr. Chitwan Dubey visit


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Shweta Acharya

I was just wondering what is the use of birth control medicines if they are not able to prevent pregnancy. Contraceptives which are 1005 safe should be used only.

Oct. 13, 2018, 11:52 p.m. 5.0


Jasmine Chodga

I got pregnant while having birth control measures. I had i-pill after my doctor's consultation and it worked.

Oct. 11, 2018, 9:36 a.m. 5.0


Jabeen Sayed

I want to get pregnant. Please help me.

June 20, 2018, 6:42 p.m. 5.0


Priya Khatri

I did not know that one can get pregnant while being on oral birth control pills. Can't trust on these pills anymore.

June 2, 2018, 10:53 a.m. 5.0


Santosh Eknath Barde

Feb. 2, 2018, 11:58 a.m. 4.5

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