Whether you want to use birth control as a means of pregnancy prevention, to clear up acne, or to regulate the menstrual cycle, you want to make sure that the birth control you take is providing its full effects.

Even if you’re currently on the pill, below are a few key things to know about taking birth control. And as always with any new medication, be sure to consult your doctor first.

The pill’s effects aren’t instant. If you and your partner are looking to do the deed the same day you start your birth control regime, you’ll want a backup (like condoms). The pill takes about seven days to work, so keep using protection if you want a better chance at avoiding pregnancy!

Birth control pills do not prevent STDs. While the pill may keep ovulation at bay, it won’t protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. That’s why it’s recommended to consider condoms even when you’re on the pill to ensure your sexual health is protected. The bottom line is to continue getting routine STD tests from your doctor no matter what types of contraception you’re using — better safe than sorry.

You must be consistent. Being flippant with your birth control pill is a dangerous game. Forgetting to take the pill or not taking it every day is often the result of an unwanted pregnancy. If you decide birth control is a route you want to take, be sure you can make it part of your daily routine. Setting an alarm on your phone or downloading an app are great reminders to ensure you don’t miss a pill.

You may need to try more than one type. There are different types of birth control pills such as combination pills (COCs), which immediately protect you from pregnancy if you take it within five days after your period starts, and progestin-only pills (mini pills), which take two days to work before it protects you from pregnancy. If you’re considering the pill, make sure you consult with a doctor to find the best option for you. If you start with one type and experience side effects contact your doctor to see if you may need to try a different dosage or type.

People who aren’t sexually active can still take the pill. The pill does more than just protect against pregnancy. Some women have found it can help regulate an unruly period, ease cramps, and even clear acne!

xx, The FabFitFun Team