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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly all women use birth control at one point in their lifetimes. Birth control pills are one of the most commonly used forms of contraception, with about 14% of women ages 15 to 49 using them.
With typical use, birth control pills have about a 7% failure rate, meaning they’re effective 93% of the time. That makes them a pretty reliable choice for pregnancy prevention. And, thanks to the abundance of online resources and delivery companies, they’re fairly accessible.
We use “women” and “men” in this article to reflect the terms that have been historically used to gender people.
But your gender identity may not align with how your body responds to different medications and conditions. A doctor can better help you understand how your specific circumstances will translate into:
Birth control pill services are companies from which you can order birth control online. This can be a discreet, convenient way to get the consultation and protection you need. Each service has different offerings and prices, so it’s important to do your research to find the best one for your needs.
To choose the best online birth control delivery services, we:
researched each service
spoke with medical professionals
read reviews to find which delivery services were most reliable and offered customers a positive overall experience
The services that made our list are those that are the most reliable and offer a positive overall experience, according to online reviewers. They also offer other types of contraception, in addition to pills, in case you want to explore more options.
The pill is a good option for those looking for an easy-to-take birth control and perhaps also looking for other healthcare solutions. For instance, some pills help clear up acne as well as prevent pregnancy.
Birth control pills have an 83% effectiveness rate with typical use.
The contraceptive patch has the same hormones as other birth control types, but it’s more convenient as a compact patch that’s easy to apply to the skin. This method is a good pick for anyone who does not want to (or cannot) remember to take a pill each day.
Patches have an 83% effectiveness rate with typical use.
The discreet, low-maintenance hormonal birth control ring is worn for 4 weeks in the vagina and can easily be changed at home. This method works well for anyone who doesn’t want to remember to take a pill each day and may not like the feeling of a patch on their skin.
Rings have an 83% effectiveness rate with typical use.
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a tiny device that goes inside your uterus for a long period of time to prevent pregnancy. It’s made of flexible plastic shaped into a T and can come as a hormonal (progestin) or copper IUD. Both types of devices work by altering the way sperm moves inside the uterus so that it can’t reach an egg.
This type of birth control is great for those wanting a reversible but long-term way to prevent pregnancy.
A newer type of nonhormonal birth control, vaginal gel prevents pregnancy by lowering the vagina’s pH level when sperm is present. This means sperm can’t move around as easily, which decreases the odds it will meet with an egg and result in pregnancy.
Gel is a great birth control method for those who can’t tolerate or choose not to take hormonal birth control. It has about an 86% effectiveness rate.
Internal (or “female”) condoms protect from pregnancy and STIs in a similar way that external condoms do. However, these soft plastic (nitrile) pouches are inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy or into the vagina or anus to prevent STIs by creating a barrier that stops sperm from contacting an egg.
Like external condoms, this type of birth control is a good choice for those wanting a single method of protection.
With typical use, internal condoms have a 79% effectiveness rate, while external condoms have an 87% effectiveness rate.
With the surge of on-demand delivery companies, obtaining birth control is more convenient than ever. You can now order contraceptives with a few clicks online without having to take the time to visit your doctor or a clinic.
When shopping online, you want to make sure that the online delivery is legitimate and features medical professionals who specialize in birth control.
“Look for companies that list their doctors’ first and last names, education, and experience,” Yen suggests. “You want expert care by expert doctors, so it’s worth taking the time to do some research before choosing a birth control or telemedicine company online. Look at the Google reviews for how reliable the service is.”
If you have contraindications to estrogen-containing birth control, consider getting a birth control prescription in person. Contraindications are conditions that serve as a reason to not take the pill due to the potential harm.
Seeing a healthcare professional for in-person birth control prescriptions can be beneficial for discussing your medical history, taking and monitoring your blood pressure, and administering any needed exams.
In-person visits can provide an opportunity for a more thorough health evaluation, which can be particularly important if you’re starting birth control for the first time or the first time in a long time.
For health concerns
Consulting a healthcare professional doctor before starting birth control is very important if you have specific health concerns.
Like with other medications, birth control comes with potential risks and side effects that might be heightened in those with certain health conditions, past or present. For example, those who have had breast cancer may be advised against hormonal birth control methods. Or, other medications you might be taking for a health condition could interfere with your birth control.
Also, your lifestyle can influence how your body might react to birth control. For example, smoking can raise the risk of developing blood clots while on the birth control pill.
And although there are known side effects of birth control like spotting and cramping, if you’re concerned about any of them, an app or automated service can’t provide the same medical support a doctor can.
Birth control pills are safe for most people, but they do have some side effects and risks. Each person reacts differently, so you may or may not experience side effects associated with the pill.
Common side effects include:
spotting between periods
Side effects typically go away after the first few months, but contact your doctor if your discomfort exceeds the 3-month mark. Birth control shouldn’t make you feel sick, and your doctor can help you find the best method for you.
While rare, there are also some more serious health risks associated with oral contraceptives. Blood clots are a serious but rare risk of using birth control pills, particularly combination pills.
If you have high blood pressure or a higher body weight, talk with your doctor about the risk of using combination birth control.
Additionally, because of safety risks associated with combination pills, let your doctor know if you have a personal or family history of blood clots or migraine with aura.
Fake pills are produced to deceive consumers. They’re rampant, sold online every day, and are contaminated. They also don’t have the right or any active ingredient, or they contain the right ingredients in the wrong dose. They could seriously harm you or result in an unplanned pregnancy.
For these reasons, it’s very important to practice due diligence — do your research and be careful where you buy your birth control pills if you do so online. Many fake pill packaging looks identical to the real thing, but you can see the difference when you compare the actual pills.
Yes, buying birth control online from reputable retailers is safe and easy. Whether you’re looking to receive your existing prescription by mail or need to get a prescription virtually, these services can help.
However, if you have certain medical conditions (like high blood pressure) it’s best to opt for in-person care.
Can I get birth control without a doctor?
Birth control pills do require a prescription, but you don’t need to visit a doctor’s office to get it. You can receive a prescription over the phone or through an online birth control service.
In some areas, including California, you can also get a prescription from your local pharmacist.
Which online birth control subscription is best?
There are many birth control services online. Finding the one that’s right for you involves understanding which features you’re looking for and choosing a provider that best meets your needs.
For example, if you’re looking to have your prescription ready ASAP, Lemonaid may be best.
How much is birth control?
There’s no set pricing for birth control as it depends on different factors like if and how much your insurance covers it, where you obtain it, and the type of contraceptive you’re getting.
Many of the services on our list provide birth control pills for around $10 to $15 a month if you pay out of pocket.
Do I need insurance to get birth control?
You don’t need insurance to get birth control. You can pay for it out of pocket. While many employer and private health plans are required to include family planning and birth control coverage at no additional cost, the type and amount of coverage varies by plan.
Oral contraceptives are a safe, effective way to prevent pregnancy and relieve period pain. Birth control pills treat a variety of health issues, and can even help prevent endometrial and ovarian cancer.
Online birth control delivery companies help remove barriers to access by offering a convenient and affordable way to obtain birth control — with or without insurance coverage.
When shopping online, it’s best to apply caution and research companies before making an order.
While not suited for those with certain health conditions, online birth control delivery programs are an easy and time-saving route for obtaining birth control.
Jillian Goltzman is a freelance journalist covering culture, social impact, wellness, and lifestyle. She’s been published in various outlets, including Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Fodor’s Travel Guide. Outside of writing, Jillian is a public speaker who loves discussing the power of social media — something she spends too much time on. She enjoys reading, her houseplants, and cuddling with her corgi. Find her work on her website, blog, Twitter, and Instagram.
Last medically reviewed on March 6, 2023
How we reviewed this article:
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