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- Best overall: Nurx
- Best for timely care: Lemonaid
- Best for variety of pill offerings: SimpleHealth
- Best for overall sexual health: Hers
- Best for seeking female doctors: Pandia Health
- Best technology: Emme
- Best for giving back: PRJKT RUBY
- Best for sweet surprises: The Pill Club
If you have a menstrual cycle, there’s a good chance you’ve considered taking the pill. According to the
Contraceptive pills have become a reliable and popular choice for pregnancy prevention, with a 99 percent effectiveness rate when used perfectly, according to the National Health Service.
Nowadays, birth control pills are even more accessible thanks to the profusion of online resources and delivery companies at your fingertips.
Read on to learn more about birth control and the services you can access online.
Oral contraceptives are pills containing hormones that control the functions of the ovaries and uterus to prevent pregnancy. The pills come in a pill pack, typically including 21 to 28 days, and they’re taken daily. When taken daily, the pill is a safe and effective prevention method that stops sperm from fertilizing an egg, directly or indirectly.
For those who are sexually active, the pill helps them plan life and family on their own terms.
Combination birth control pills prevent ovulation, or the release of an egg, by tricking your body into thinking it’s pregnant. The pill’s hormones can also thicken the mucus on the cervix, working like quicksand to prevent the sperm from making contact with the egg.
Outside family planning, the pill has been proven to help regulate menstrual cycles, treat acne, relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), prevent ovarian cysts, and manage endometriosis.
“[Birth control] can even decrease someone’s risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer,” says Sophia Yen, MD, MPH, the co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health.
There are two types of pills to consider when choosing a birth control option: combination pills, which contain both estrogen and progestin, and progestin-only pills.
Combination pills contain synthetic forms of the hormones estrogen and progestin. Within a pill pack, there’s a combination of active pills, which contain hormones, and inactive pills, which are hormone-free placebos. The inactive pills indicate when your period should come.
These are the types of combination pills on the market:
- Monophasic pills. These pills are the most commonly prescribed and are used in a 1-month cycle. The active pills are taken daily and include the same amount of hormones in each pill. During the final 7 days of the cycle, you take the inactive pills remaining in your pill pack or skip them.
- Biphasic pills. These pills, also used within a 1-month cycle, deliver one strength for 7 to 10 days and a different strength for 11 to 14 days. During the last 7 days of the cycle, you take the inactive pills or skip them.
- Triphasic pills. Like biphasic pills, triphasic pills are considered multiphasic. The pills are color coded and separated into 3 phases, each lasting 5 to 10 days. During the final week of the cycle, you take the inactive pills or skip them.
- Extended-cycle pills. These are typically used in 13-week cycles. You use active pills for the first 12 weeks and take inactive pills during the last week of your cycle. Taking these pills results in having a period only 3 to 4 times per year.
Often called the “minipill,” progestin-only pills are free of estrogen. All pills within the 1-month cycle are active and include the hormone progestin.
This pill might be best suited for someone who can’t take estrogen due to a health condition or who experiences bad side effects on the combination pill.
The progestin-only pill may be safer for people who:
- have high blood pressure
- are in larger bodies
- have a history of blood clots
A doctor might also recommend the progestin-only pill if you are breastfeeding because it doesn’t affect milk production. This option also has a smaller margin of error when it comes to missing pills in comparison to combination pills.
For most people, birth control pills are very safe. Oral contraceptives have been
However, before getting on the pill, it’s important to speak with a medical professional about your health to discuss any risks.
Obtaining birth control is more convenient than ever with the surge of on-demand delivery companies. 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.”
When should you not buy birth control online?
If you have contraindications to estrogen-containing birth control, consider obtaining a birth control prescription in person. Contraindications are conditions that serve as a reason to not take the pill due to the potential harm.
Common contraindications include:
- high blood pressure
- history of blood clots
- history of lupus with clotting antibodies
- breast cancer
- liver cancer
- being a smoker over the age of 35
- diabetes with complications
To select a series of online birth control delivery services, we researched each service and spoke with medical professionals.
We also read reviews to find which delivery services were most reliable and offered customers a positive overall experience.
Nurx is one of the most popular birth control pill delivery services online, with more than 18,000 customer reviews. Nurx offers birth control pills, as well as other contraceptives, like the ring, patch, and shot.
To get a prescription, you must first answer a few basic medical questions before being paired with a Nurx medical professional. A brief health assessment will ask for your gender, age, weight, height, and experience using birth control.
Nurx will also ask for a blood pressure reading and your health history to determine which method of birth control is best for you.
For an initial $15 fee, the Nurx medical team will set up a medical consultation, which includes a year of unlimited messaging for any questions you may have, and they’ll provide a prescription. This fee doesn’t include the cost of filling the prescription, which may be an additional fee depending on your insurance coverage.
After your consultation, the Nurx pharmacy will fill your prescription and send along a 3-month supply with automatic refills. This allows you to receive medication without having to request a new prescription or follow-up appointment.
You can cancel your plan at any time.
Most reviewers praise Nurx for their customer service, professionalism, discreet packaging, and ease of use. The company has a 4.9 rating on their website, though some reviewers complain that they can be slow to respond to their messages.
Aside from birth control, Nurx also hosts a suite of health services, including dermatology, emergency contraception, treatments for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and migraine medications. The company also offers at-home STI and COVID-19 testing.
Price: Insurance usually covers the price of birth control, making the pills free. If you don’t have health insurance, Nurx has options available from $15 per month with free delivery.
Best for timely care
Lemonaid writes prescriptions for more than 100 birth control pills, as well as NuvaRing and the Xulane patch. Each prescription lasts a year, and deliveries typically include a 3-month supply.
One of the main draws of Lemonaid is the company’s quick turnaround time. The delivery company aims to review medical requests within 24 business hours, depending on your state’s requirements. Some states will require you to have a telehealth visit by phone or video before obtaining a prescription.
Lemonaid is also one of the few companies available to treat people in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. You must be over the age of 18 to order through the service.
You’ll pay out of pocket for prescriptions delivered through the Lemonaid mail-order pharmacy. If you’d like to use insurance on your birth control order, Lemonaid can prescribe your birth control pill and send the order to a local pharmacy. Insurance does not cover medical consultations conducted by the site.
Most reviewers describe Lemonaid as fast, easy, and affordable. Some reviewers voice concerns about long wait times when planning a video visit with a medical professional.
Lemonaid also provides a variety of testing options and treatments for those experiencing anxiety, depression, insomnia, urinary tract infections, acne, asthma, hypothyroidism, and more.
Price: The medical consultation fee is $25. Medication prices start at $15 per month for a 3-month supply. Promotions on first-time orders may be available.
Best for variety of pill offerings
Like their name indicates, SimpleHealth makes obtaining birth control easy. You can fill out a medical history form that will be reviewed by a SimpleHealth doctor to determine a birth control brand that’s safe and effective for you.
The consultation costs $20 and includes ongoing messaging with your doctor and patient experience team.
SimpleHealth has garnered more than 4,000 reviews and a 4.60 rating on Reviews.io. About 90 percent of reviewers say they would recommend SimpleHealth, and 95 percent report on-time delivery. Reviewers enjoy the simple process and convenience of delivering online.
Some reviewers, however, say their birth controls orders were delayed, and the customer service team wasn’t helpful.
Aside from birth control, SimpleHealth offers their own brand of multivitamins, urinary tract support, and probiotic supplements.
Price: The one-time consultation fee is $20. Most insurances will cover birth control entirely, and out-of-pocket costs start at $15 per month.
Best for overall sexual health
When it comes to packaging, nothing compares to this aesthetically pleasing style. From the millennial-targeted typeface to the colorful pill pack envelopes, Hers offers simplistic packaging with a process that’s just as easy.
Hers offers 13 different birth control pills, but only the generic versions are available. Like most online prescription services, Hers requires a short questionnaire. After a Hers physician reviews the medical questionnaire, you’ll have a brief consultation to understand the best pill for you.
Hers professionals are available in every state and can address concerns beyond pregnancy prevention, like acne, mood changes, headaches, and missed periods. After your visit, your professional is available for any follow-up questions and concerns you may have.
New pill packs will arrive 6 days before your last dosage, ensuring you never miss a day. Reviewers like the affordable prices and stress-free delivery.
Hers also offers various sexual health products, like condoms, personal lubricants, vibrators, yeast infection treatments, and STI treatments.
The company is the sister to Hims, a health, hair, and skin care brand marketed toward men. Hers also offers some of the same hair and skin care products that Hims does.
Price: Hers doesn’t accept health insurance, so you have to pay out of pocket. They offer plans as low as $12 per month, but some pills are more expensive than others.
Best for seeking female doctors
Pandia Health is the only birth control delivery service that’s female-founded and led, making it a great option for those who want to support a woman-owned business.
Founded by Yen, a physician with more than 20 years of experience, the company has a mission to make their customers’ lives easier by providing timely access to birth control.
If you have an existing prescription, you can upload it and begin to receive deliveries for your desired birth control. If you’re in need of a prescription, you’ll need to pay $20 to fill out a brief health form, which is reviewed by a Pandia Health doctor.
You’ll also need your latest blood pressure measurement, government ID, credit card, and health insurance card if you’re using insurance.
If you have insurance, Pandia Health will write a prescription, and you’ll receive free deliveries of your birth control from the company’s partner pharmacy with automatic refills for a year. How many months of pills you receive at a time varies by your insurance coverage. If you’re paying out of pocket, Pandia Health can ship as many months of medication as you are willing to pay for, up to a year.
Reviewers say Pandia Health is affordable, convenient, and features quick delivery. In addition to birth control pills, they also offer birth control patches, rings, and emergency contraceptives.
Price: With insurance, most people pay $0. Without insurance, prices start at $15 per month with free delivery. You can apply for financial aid to cover the cost of the $20 consultation fee, birth control, and emergency contraceptive if you’re in California, Florida, Louisiana, or Texas.
Emme is a relatively new birth control delivery service. The company provides a complete system for getting, taking, and tracking your pill. If you’re the type of person who relies on reminders and loves making organization easier, Emme is a great option to consider.
The brand also sells the Emme Bluetooth-enabled smart case. Priced at $99, it’s a stylish pill holder that wirelessly connects to an app to track your pill intake and send custom reminders.
Meanwhile, the free app also allows you to track your overall health, mood, and symptoms to get a better understanding of your cycle. It’s also full of informative articles and tips on what to do if you miss a dose. According to the company, the Emme smart case and app are effective in reducing 80 percent of missed pills.
Emme customers in 16 states can take advantage of EmmeRX, the company’s delivery service. Those states include California, Florida, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Virginia, Washington, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri, Maryland, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Minnesota.
After you fill out a health questionnaire and pay for a $15 medical consultation, the Emme medical team will prescribe the pill (when medically appropriate) and begin automatic shipments.
Reviewers say the smart case and app help them stay on track and positively affect their health habits. Reviewers call the product a “game-changer,” and many share that they haven’t missed a pill since using the Emme case.
Price: The medical consultation is $15, the smart case is $99, and birth control options start as low as $15 per month. Insurance is not required. Emme birth control is flexible savings account (FSA) and health savings account (HSA) eligible.
Best for giving back
PRJKT RUBY keeps birth control simple with affordable options of 12 generic birth control pills.
If you’re just starting on birth control pills, you can benefit from the video consultation option. This allows you to explore the different types of birth control pills in a face-to-face conversation with a medical professional.
One of the standout qualities of PRJKT RUBY is the company’s commitment to giving back. For every month of oral contraceptives purchased, PRJKT RUBY donates 25 cents to Population Services International. Each donation helps provide access to contraceptives to women in developing countries.
Reviews of PRJKT RUBY are generally positive, with customers calling the service timely and supportive. Some reviewers voice frustrations that the website isn’t user-friendly and say several overnight shipments weren’t delivered within the next-day time frame.
PRJKT RUBY also provides emergency contraception.
Price: PRJKT RUBY costs $20 per month, with a minimum order of a 3-month supply. Shipping is free through USPS First Class Mail, but rushed shipments through FedEx are available at $6 for 2-day shipping and $36 for overnight shipping.
Best for sweet surprises
The Pill Club delivers special goodies in every shipment. The company, which carries more than 120 FDA-approved brands, fills every box with a self-care sample product, fun sticker, and sweet treat. The Pill Club also features an add-on option to receive a generic Plan B or an FC2 internal condom with the pill delivery.
After you fill out a questionnaire, The Pill Club medical team will work with you to pick out a birth control that fits your needs. Once you receive your prescription, you can choose between a 1- or 3-month supply, depending on your insurance coverage.
If you have an active prescription from a previous provider, you can skip the medical consultation and work with The Pill Club to fill your prescription. Bonus: They deliver to all 50 states, including Washington, D.C., and they can prescribe in 47 states. Exclusions include Arkansas, Alaska, Mississippi, and U.S. territories like Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
With more than 5 million prescriptions delivered, The Pill Club has a 4.6 rating on Google. Reviewers praise the brand’s helpful medical team, texting options, affordability, and, of course, the goodies.
The Pill Club carries the Annovera ring, emergency contraception, the FC2 internal condom, and a large selection of popular birth control pill brands.
Price: If you have health insurance, your consultation and birth control pills are covered. If you decide to pay out of pocket, The Pill Club offers pricing from $9 per pack for a 1-year supply, to $10.66 per pack for a 3-month supply.
Birth control comes in monthly packs, and most follow either 21-day, 24-day, or 28-day cycles.
If you’re using combination pills, you must follow the order of the pills on the pack, as dosages in multiphasic birth control can vary per pill.
Consistency is key. Your birth control pill must be taken daily to be effective. For progestin-only pills, you must take your pill within the same 3 hours every day to stay protected.
If you miss one dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you don’t remember until the next day, it’s safe to take two pills in one day. For anything more than a single dose missed, contact your doctor for instructions.
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
- sore breasts
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.
Blood clots can cause:
- deep vein thrombosis
- heart attack
- pulmonary embolism
If you have high blood pressure or are in a larger body, 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.
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.