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If you need a birth control that doesn’t contain estrogen, you need a mini pill like Heather. It’s a mini pill that only contains progesterone, so it’s helpful if you have migraines or other conditions that mean you can’t take estrogen.
Get expert birth control recommendations from our clinicians, and order Heather online.
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Heather is a type of birth control pill that only contains one type of hormone: a progestin called norethindrone. You take it at the same time every day for as long as you want to stay protected against pregnancy. If you take it exactly right, it’s more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Some people are sensitive to a hormone called estrogen, that’s used in combined hormonal birth control. They can experience migraines as a result of their estrogen sensitivity.
If you have risk factors for blood clots or a stroke (like being over 35, smoking, being overweight or having high blood pressure) then you may find that a birth control that only contains one type of hormone – sometimes known as a “mini pill” or “POP” – can be a better choice. A mini pill may also make your periods lighter, or stop them altogether.
Heather works to prevent pregnancy using a type of progesterone (norethindrone), that’s very similar to a hormone that’s naturally found in the body. It works by making your vaginal fluid thicker to help stop sperm from reaching the egg and fertilizing it. It also changes the lining of your uterus to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching there – this is usually the first stage in pregnancy. For some women, it also stops ovulation, so no egg is released in the first place.
Heather doesn’t protect you or your partner from sexually transmitted diseases, it just reduces the risk of pregnancy. Barrier birth control methods like condoms are the only way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, though these aren’t always 100% effective.
Heather comes in one available dose of 0.35mg norethindrone. This is similar to most other mini pills. If this doesn’t work well for you, or you experience any side effects, then you should seek advice from your doctor to see if there are other options available to you.
Contraceptive failure in the United States. Contraception, 83(5), pp.397–404.
Oral Contraceptive Pills. [online] PubMed.
You should always take Heather as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, you should ask your doctor or pharmacist for help.
Start by reading the information provided along with your medication, to make sure you understand how to use it and to check whether there are any side effects or precautions to take that you need to be aware of.
Here’s how to use Heather:
It’s important to take Heather every day, 24 hours apart. This will ensure that you still have the right amount of hormone in your body to prevent pregnancy. Some people find it useful to set a reminder that helps to remind them to take their birth control.
If you don’t begin to take Heather on the first day of your period, use an additional form of non-hormonal birth control (like condoms or spermicide) for the first seven days of starting Heather. This will make sure that you have enough protection in place until Heather starts to work.
If you experience nausea or stomach upsets after using Heather, it may help to take it after your evening meal or at bedtime. You might find that your periods become lighter or that you experience irregular periods or spotting. You shouldn’t stop taking Heather if this happens.
Vomiting, diarrhea and illness can stop all hormonal birth control from working well. If you’ve been unwell you might need to use a back-up birth control method (like condoms) to ensure that you don’t become pregnant.
Heather usually takes 48 hours to start working if you don’t start to take it on the first day of your period. As with any new birth control, it’s always best to use a non-hormonal birth control for 7 days when you first start taking it to ensure that you have enough protection to prevent pregnancy.
If you take Heather late (three or more hours later than usual), miss a pill or have had vomiting or diarrhea soon after you take the pill then you should use a backup method of non-hormonal birth control for the next 48 hours to make sure that you stay protected.
If you miss a pill you need to take the next one at your usual time and continue the rest of your pills as normal, with the addition of non-hormonal birth control for the next 48 hours. Don’t “double-dose” and take the extra pill, because it won’t give you any added protection.
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