Yale Health

Frequently Asked Questions

I have questions about my birth control pills. How can I communicate with my clinician?

If you have registered for a MyChart account, we encourage you to message the clinician's care team. If you do not have a MyChart account, but have had an appointment in the Ob/Gyn Department, we encourage you to register for a MyChart account. This is a secure, confidential messaging system that allows you to communicate directly with your clinical care team.

MyChart is for routine, non-urgent messages only. Please allow 24-48 hours for a response from your clinician.

I am a new student on campus and I need my birth control pills. What should I do?

The easiest way to get your birth control pills is to have your prior clinician call the Yale Health Center Pharmacy directly at 203-432-0033 with your prescription details. Your prior clinician may also fax it directly to 203-436-4251.

The Ob/Gyn Department has reserved special appointments with our clinicians and nurses to assist you with obtaining your birth control prescriptions at Yale Health. These appointments are available Monday-Friday early in the semester for your convenience.

It is best if you can bring your current container or package that indicates your name, medication, date refilled, etc. to the appointment. This will assist in easy processing of your prescriptions. If you are unable to bring your birth control package or information, please make an appointment and try to bring as much information about your medical history as possible to that appointment.

When do I start taking my birth control pills?

You may start taking your birth control pills one of two ways:

  • start on the first day of your menstrual bleeding or
  • start on the first Sunday after your menstrual bleeding begins.

What if I want to stop taking birth control pills or switch to another form of birth control?

Before making any changes, call a nurse in the Ob/Gyn Department during regular business hours at 203-432-0222 or send a message to your clinician using MyChart. It may be possible to do this over the telephone and MyChart. You do not necessarily need an appointment.

Do I have refills left on my prescription?

The last line on your most recent prescription label tells you how many refills remain on your prescription to be filled by a certain date. A prescription is generally good for one year from the date it is written. Prescriptions for most controlled substances, such as narcotics, are good for up to six months from the date written.

I am a student and get my birth control prescriptions from an outside gynecologist. I ran out and need one month until I see my doctor. Can you help me?

Have your clinician call the Yale Health Pharmacy directly at 203-432-0033 or fax the prescription to 203-436-4251 to give you enough pills until your next visit.

If this is not possible, please call the Ob/Gyn Department at 203-432-0222 or visit MyChart and request a Quick Pill Refill Visit. Please bring the pill container or packet with you to the visit. We will do our best to accommodate you, however, please plan ahead.

How do I refill my prescriptions?

You may call for refills via our automated telephone line at 203-432-0033 or use our online prescription refill request and proceed directly to the check-out window when your prescription has been filled. 

You may also request a refill at the check-in window of the Yale Health Pharmacy.  Please allow 24- 48 hours for routine refills.

How long will it take to get a prescription refilled at the Yale Health Pharmacy?

Please allow as much time as possible when requesting your refills. Generally, allow at least one full business day for processing, and longer prior to weekends and holidays. The time period just prior to Thanksgiving recess, December recess, spring break and the end of the semester are peak processing times in the pharmacy. You will need to allow at least two full business days to process requests at this time.

If you have not been seen in the department for routine exams within the last year, the clinician will typically request that you make an appointment before refilling your prescription. In this case, the clinician will give you enough medication to last until the date of your examination/appointment.


Can I have a prescription written by an outside clinician filled by the Yale Health Pharmacy?

Yes.  If you have a prescription written by an outside clinician, you can either bring it in, have the clinician call 203-432-0033, or have the clinician fax the prescription to the pharmacy directly at 203-436-4251 (by law, faxed prescriptions can only be filled when faxed from a clinician's office directly).

You should call the pharmacy to confirm we received the fax from your clinician.  It's helpful if your clinician puts your date of birth on the prescription.

Please have your outside clinician refer to the Yale Health Drug List to ensure that your drug will be covered.

Am I covered for prescriptions as an enrolled student?

Students enrolled in Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty Care coverage are covered.  Please call Member Services at 203-432-0246 or review the Yale Health Student Handbook to check on your individual coverage and benefits. 

Students with Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty Coverage can receive free generic oral contraceptives at the Yale Health Pharmacy.

When can I consider myself protected?

Choose a back up method of birth control such as a condom during the first seven days of pill use. If you start taking the pills on the first day of your cycle, a back up method is not necessary.

Keep in mind that birth control pills are a protection from pregnancy only. You should still use condoms to protect yourself from STIs.

What do I do if I forget to take a birth control pill?

If you forget to take a pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you don’t remember until you take the next pill, then take both.

If you miss two or more birth control pills, it is best to call the Ob/Gyn Department at 203-432-0222 and ask to speak with a nurse as we can assist you in getting back on track without having to discontinue the cycle.  Note that you will need to use condoms for the rest of the cycle because ovulation is possible.

Being late with birth control pills may lead to break-through bleeding, bleeding prior to week four, or "placebo" week.  Break through bleeding does not indicate a lack of protection.

Can other drugs that I am taking interfere with my birth control pills?

A small number of antibiotics and some other drugs may decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. Should you have any questions about the drugs you are taking, please discuss them with your clinician or pharmacist. If they feel there may be a decrease in effectiveness, use some other form of back up protection while on the antibiotic and for an additional seven days.

How can I get emergency contraception (morning-after) pill?

Emergency contraception, also known as "Plan B", "One Step", "Next Choice", or "My Way", all commonly referred to as "the morning after pill" is available over the counter at the Yale Health Pharmacy as well as most local pharmacies. Emergency contraception might be effective up to 120 hours after unprotected intercourse, but is most effective when taken as soon as possible.

After hours, call Acute Care at 203-432-0123.

If you have questions about emergency contraception, you may call Ob/Gyn (203-432-0222) or Student Health (203-432-0312) if you are a Yale student and ask to speak with one of the nurses. All information is confidential.

If you are concerned about an experience that might have led to pregnancy, you might be concerned about sexually transmitted infections.  Click here to learn more about STI testing.

What other contraceptive methods are available?

In addition to the 28-day birth control pills, you can obtain the following:

Nuva Ring – A soft plastic ring containing estrogen & progesterone, which is inserted into the vagina where the hormone is absorbed through the vaginal mucosa. The method is 99% effective when used as directed and is based on a 28-day cycle like BCPs & Ortho Evra.

Depo Provera injection – A progesterone-only method, which is injected intramuscularly within the first five days of an established period. The method is immediately 99% effective when started in this manner. Injections are repeated every 11 to 13 weeks. Women on Depo Provera usually stop having periods. The menstrual cycle resumes when Depo Provera is discontinued.

Progesterone impant (Implanon/Nexanon) - inserted under the skin of your inner arm provides excellent protection for 3 years.

Intrauterine Device – IUDs are available for insertion. An IUD is a small, plastic device, which is put into the uterus to stop a woman from getting pregnant. A Paraguard or Copper IUD contains Copper. The other has the hormone levonorgestrel which is released slowly into the uterus, helping to prevent pregnancy. These types are called the Mirena or the Skyla. For every 100 women using the IUD, less than one per year will get pregnant.

Sterilization – Surgical sterilization is available for both men and women. This option should be discussed with your primary care clinician to determine if it best meets your needs.

Barrier Methods – Barrier methods include the diaphragm, the cervical cap and spermicides. Diaphragms and cervical caps require fitting by a clinician and a prescription. Barrier methods have few side effects, although some people may be allergic to latex or spermicides. The average one-year failure rate for the diaphragm ranges between 12 to 18%.

Xulane patch (formerly known as Ortho Evra) – A patch containing estrogen & progesterone, which is applied firmly to the skin. The hormone is absorbed through the skin and is 99% effective when used as directed.  It contains hormones that are released through the skin and into the bloodstream. The patch is used on a weekly 28-day cycle, similar to birth control pills.

Click here to find out more about birth control methods.

How can I arrange to continue my Depo Provera injections at Yale Health?

We can give you the Depo Provera injection on an appointment basis. Call the Ob/Gyn Department during regular business hours at 203-432-0222 or visit MyChart to make an appointment with a provider to discuss getting a prescription. If you are new to Yale Health and currently using Depo Provera you will need to provide written confirmation of the date of your last Depo Provera injection and, if possible, a copy of your most recent gynecologic exam and Pap findings. A Release of Health Information form is available at Yale Health to facilitate your request.