You know you need to be on it — but there's no shame if that's where your knowledge of pre-wedding birth control ends. But with the help of ob/gyn Dr. Alyssa Dweck, author of V is for Vagina, we've got you covered and your questions answered with this quick guide to birth control before your wedding.
First, let's take condoms and the pull-out method off the table entirely. Not only do oral and other birth control methods have various benefits beyond preventing pregnancy, they trump these methods in spades for effectiveness. According to Dweck, condoms and withdrawal work just 85 percent of the time, while the pill and other hormonal methods are 99 percent effective. So when it comes to planning for your honeymoon, pack the pill or visit your doctor for the shot, patch or ring.
Now that we've got that out of the way, it's on to the question we all want to be answered: How long do you need to be on birth control before your big day?
The answer is two months because according to Dweck, it can take your body that long to adjust to a birth control method and display any symptoms that may accompany it, from a rollercoaster of hormones to acne, weight gain or even increased breast size. Starting birth control well ahead of your honeymoon will also ensure you don't have breakthrough bleeding show through on your pristine white dress, Dweck says.
Finally, don't let your honeymoon be ruined by the appearance of your period. Talk to your doctor about beginning a new pill pack and skipping your period entirely, or come prepared by packing a diaphragm in your suitcase. "A diaphragm can be used to catch menstrual blood if you are unfortunate enough to have a heavy flow," says Dweck.