99% effective
Lasts 5 to 12 years
Inserted and removed by a provider

Birth control pill             

91% effective
Take daily
Lighter periods

Nexplanon Arm implant 

99% effective
Lasts 3 to 5 years
Inserted and removed by a provider
Decreases period cramps


91% effective
Replace weekly
Lighter periods


91% effective
Replace monthly
Lighter periods


94% effective
Get every 3 months
Injected by a provider

Missed your birth control pill, patch, or ring?

Everyone makes a mistake with their birth control at some point. Find out what to do next.
Take the quiz to find out what to do next


  • To choose the right birth control method for you, consider:
  • How well it prevents pregnancy—Read Effectiveness of Birth Control Methods.
  • How easy it is to use—Learn what is required for each method above.
  • How easy it is to get—Some types of birth control require a prescription, and you have to see a healthcare professional or go to a clinic to get them.
  • Whether it protects against STIs—If you are having sex (vaginal, oral, or anal sex), you also need to protect yourself from STIs.
  • Whether you have any health problems—If you have certain diseases or medical conditions, some birth control methods may not be recommended. Talk with your healthcare professional about any possible risks and the safety of each method to find the best option for you.

A pelvic exam is not needed to get most forms of birth control, except for the intrauterine device (IUD), diaphragm, and cervical cap. (Read Pelvic Exams to learn more.) 

The intrauterine device (IUD) and birth control implant are the most effective birth control methods that can be reversed. Read the Effectiveness of Birth Control Methods for information about the effectiveness of each method.

In California, you have the right to make choices about birth control without your parents’ permission. 

UCSB SHS is committed to protecting your health and personal information. We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and can only disclose information to your parents with your written permission.
Any charges to your BARC account will have a generic label of STUDENT HEALTH SERVICES to protect your privacy. 
If you are accessing care outside of UCSB and you are on someone else’s insurance plan in CA and are concerned about privacy, you can get free birth control and STI testing through a program called Family PACT that is available locally at the Neighborhood Clinic and Planned Parenthood 
You can also call your insurance provider and complete a Confidential Communications Request. Visit MyHealthMyInfo.org for more information.

Access to free birth control is federally mandated if you're covered through most private insurance plans, including UC-SHIP.  Students not using UC-SHIP can have a FREE virtual or in-person visit with an RN to get a prescription that can then be filled by a local pharmacy using their insurance. Locally, the Neighborhood Clinic in Isle Vista takes most private insurance and MediCal.
Check out the COST FOR BIRTH CONTROL AT UCSB for more information

UCSB students can get a prescription refill for birth control pills, the vaginal ring, the birth control patch, the Depo Provera shot or an emergency contraception pill—no appointment is needed! Just fill out an online form in the MyHealth Portal!


  • Make sure you know the exact name and dose of your method
  • Check your blood pressure if haven’t had it checked in the past 12 months
  • Update the health history section of your MyHealth portal


  1. Log into MyHealth Portal 
  2. Click on "Appointments." 
  3. Select "Online Birth Control Request."
  4. Complete the online form. 
  5. Look for a secure message in your MyHealth portal within four school days. The message will have your next steps. 

Before you have sex, talk to your partner about using condoms. This is the best way to prevent STIs. Do not be shy—be direct. Be honest about your feelings and needs. You can talk about it in many ways.

The following are some examples:

"You know, it makes sex even better for me knowing that both of us are protected. Let’s use a condom."

“I’d really like to have sex with you as long as we use condoms. Condoms protect both of us."

Make sure that you feel safe with your partner. No one should force you to have sex. If you feel scared of your partner or have experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, tell a trusted adult.

Read Healthy Relationships to learn more.

If you’re not happy with the birth control method that you are using and the effects they have on you, talk to your health care provider. Don’t just give up and stop taking them. Your provider can ask you questions about what you have noticed and help you decide if the symptoms could be related to birth control. You may need to get used to a new method over a few more months or try a different type. Hormones affect people differently. Some you may like, and others you won’t. You may have to try a few different kinds of birth control before you find the one that is best for you. There are also lots of methods to prevent pregnancy, so you can talk to your provider about all your options.

As long as there is no medical reason to not take birth control, you can stay on them for years, whether it is to regulate your menstrual cycle, treat cramps, or protect against pregnancy.

Birth control pills/patch/ring, shot, arm implant and IUDs don’t protect people from getting sexually transmitted infections. It’s very important to use condoms every time you have sexual intercourse or when using a sex toy. Avoid lambskin or natural condoms as they are not as effective as latex or polyurethane condoms at protecting against sexually transmitted infections. Condoms are also an important second method of protection against pregnancy if you have just started the birth control pill or you miss a pill.

There is no medical reason that you need to take a “break” from birth control.

A blood clot in your leg or lung is a very rare but serious side effect. If you suddenly have pain or swelling in your leg and/or shortness of breath and/or chest pain, go to the emergency room. If you have a history of blood clots, you should not take the combination pill or use the patch or ring. Tell your healthcare provider if anyone in your family (blood relative) has ever had blood clots, especially when they were young. The Pill increases the relative risk of blood clots, but the risk is still far less than with pregnancy. Blood clots are more likely to develop if you’re also a smoker, overweight, having surgery, or sitting on a plane for a long time. To lessen your chances of blood clots, don’t smoke, and if you’re on a long plane trip, get up, walk around, and drink lots of water. If you do smoke, it is important that your healthcare provider knows about your smoking before you start the pill. If you’re scheduled for surgery, and won’t be able to move around much after surgery, your healthcare provider may recommend stopping the Pill for 3-4 weeks before surgery and after the surgery until you are walking around normally.

Birth control pills do NOT protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Not having sex (abstinence) is the only 100% effective way to avoid STIs. Condoms help to prevent most sexually transmitted infections.

Talk to your healthcare provider. Emergency contraception (EC) is usually recommended if you’ve had unprotected intercourse during the time you have missed your birth control pills. In the United States, people of all ages can buy one of the options for EC without a prescription.

Not usually. At times, you may not get your menstrual period while using birth control pills. This can be normal. If you miss one menstrual period and you have not missed any pills, everything is probably fine. Just continue taking your pills as usual. But if you are concerned, or skip 2 periods in a row, you’re still probably fine, but take a pregnancy test and check with your healthcare provider if you are worried. If you miss any pills and miss your period, keep taking your pills, but take a pregnancy test.