A woman wearing a white shirt and cream pants applying the birth control patch to her abdomen

What Is the Birth Control
Patch and Does It Work?

By Kathleen Morrison
January 16, 2024

Looking for an easier way to prevent pregnancy? The Birth Control Patch may be for you! No pills, implants, or internal devices—this is the birth control that sticks, literally. It’s easily applied externally, and all you have to do to remove it is peel it off. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers—read on to learn more about the Birth Control Patch and how you can order it online.

What is the birth control patch?

The birth control patch, also referred to as the transdermal contraceptive patch, adheres to your skin and slowly releases hormones to prevent pregnancy. It has the same hormones contained in most birth control pills—estrogen and progesterone—and these hormones prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation. These hormones also work to prevent pregnancy by thickening the cervical mucus to make it harder for sperm to penetrate and reach an egg if one is released.

How does the birth control patch work?

The patch looks like a thin, plastic bandage that adheres to your skin. It can be placed in a variety of places on the body, including the shoulder/upper arm, lower back/butt, lower abdomen, or upper back (near the shoulder blade). To prevent pregnancy for one month, you replace the patch weekly on the same day for three weeks. During week four, you leave the patch off and that’s when you have your period, or monthly bleed. You apply a new patch after 7 days to continue preventing pregnancy. The patch is waterproof so you can swim, shower, and use a sauna with it on. Just ensure that it remains sticky and is thoroughly adhered to the skin.

How effective is the birth control patch?

With perfect use, this form of birth control is 99% effective. However, it’s important to apply the patch in the correct locations and to remember to replace it weekly as instructed on clean, dry skin. Mistakes happen though, so with typical use the birth control patch is 93% effective. That means about 7 out of 100 patch users get pregnant each year.

How do I get the patch?

The patch is only available with a subscription and you can order the Birth Control Patch online from Wisp! You’ll be able to pick it up from your local pharmacy same-day* and we make subscribing easy so you never miss a dose. Is the birth control patch right for me? Whether or not you’ve tried other methods of birth control in the past, you may be wondering about the benefits of the patch, or whether it may be a better option for you lifestyle. Let’s weigh some pros and cons!

Pros of the patch

  • Convenient: The patch is easy to apply and you only need to think about it once a week. No daily pill or internal insertion, like the birth control ring. Simply stick it on, and you’re done!
  • Doesn’t interrupt sex: The patch continues preventing pregnancy 24/7, so there’s no need to stop things in the heat of the moment.
  • Easier periods: The patch has many of the same beneficial side effects as the pill, such as lighter, more regular periods, less intense cramps, reduction in hormonal acne, and a decrease in PMS symptoms.
  • Easy removal: There’s no need to visit a provider when stopping the patch—simply remove your patch and go on your way. It’s possible to get pregnant right away after stopping the patch, which can be a pro or a con depending on your perspective. Be sure to use an alternative form of birth control if you want to continue preventing pregnancy!

Cons of the patch

  • Weekly replacement: It’s really important to change your patch at the same time every week, and for some people, this can be easy to forget. Marking your calendar or setting a reminder on your phone are ways you can help yourself stay on schedule!
  • Negative side effects: Like other forms of hormonal birth control, some people find they experience unpleasant side effects with the patch, like spotting or bleeding between periods, sore breasts, nausea, or headaches. These side effects often subside after 2-3 months, but if you find you’re still feeling uncomfortable, the patch may not be for you.
  • Visible: The birth control patch works hard to blend in, but it may be visible on your body at certain times.

What if the patch comes off?

If you aren’t used to the patch, you may be wondering what to do if it comes off. You can consult your Birth Control Patch Treatment Guide for more information, but here’s the cheat sheet!

If the patch got loose or fell off, and it’s been less than 1 day (24 hours):

  • Try to stick the patch back on in the same place right away.
  • Don’t put it back on if it’s not sticky anymore, has other stuff stuck to it, or gets stuck to itself — use a new patch instead.
  • If the patch won’t stick all the way back on your skin again, or you lost it, put a new patch on right away.
  • Your patch change day and patch cycle will stay the same — put on your next patch the same day you normally would.
  • You don’t need backup birth control or emergency contraception.

If the patch got loose or fell off, and it’s been more than 1 day (24 hours) OR you don’t know how long the patch has been off:

  • You may be at risk for pregnancy.
  • Put a new patch on as soon as you can. This will now be your new patch change day.
  • Use a back-up method of birth control (like condoms) for the next 7 days.
  • If you had unprotected sex during this time, you can use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy.

We make birth control easy—order online now without in-person appointments or waiting rooms and pick up what you need same-day.* That’s convenient pregnancy prevention, right from your phone.

*Most prescriptions are sent to your pharmacy within 3 hours of completing your medical intake form and phone call or video chat when necessary.

Get the Birth Control Patch Online

The birth control patch on a red surface with a pink background

Birth Control Patch

The Birth Control Patch is non-invasive contraception that makes it easy to prevent pregnancy.

Starting at $12.00

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