Using birth control when you have lupus
Birth control can help you prevent an unplanned pregnancy. There are lots of safe and effective birth control options for people with lupus. Your doctors can help you find a birth control method that works for you.
Why is birth control important for people with lupus?
Some lupus medicines can cause serious birth defects. And if you get pregnant while you have active lupus symptoms, you’re much more likely to have health problems during pregnancy and worse pregnancy outcomes.
If you have lupus symptoms or you’re taking medicines to treat lupus, it’s important to use birth control to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.
What types of birth control are safe for me?
Everyone with lupus can find a safe, effective birth control method. But depending on your lupus symptoms, some types of birth control may be safer than others.
Hormonal methods, like birth control pills, are very effective at preventing pregnancy. They work by stopping the ovaries from releasing eggs, or by stopping sperm from reaching the eggs.
There are 2 main types of hormones used in birth control:
- Progestin only: This type is typically safe for people with lupus
- Estrogen and progestin: People with lupus who have antibodies that predispose to clotting (anti-phospholipid antibodies) and people who have very active lupus are at higher risk of complications from estrogen containing birth control. Your doctor can do tests to see if birth control with estrogen is safe for you.
Barrier methods, like condoms and diaphragms, keep sperm separated from the egg. These methods are safe to use if you have lupus — and condoms can also help protect you from STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).
Barrier methods are less effective in preventing pregnancy than hormonal methods. Many people choose to use both a barrier method and a hormonal method to prevent pregnancy.
Talk with your doctors about birth control
Choosing a birth control method is a personal decision, and you may need to try several options before you find one that works for you.
Your rheumatologist and a special doctor called a gynecologist can help you find a method that’s safe and effective for you.
Learn more about birth control options for people with lupus from lupuspregnancy.org.