Birth control patch

Picture of birth control patch locations

You can place the hormone patch on your lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body but not on your breasts. Apply a new patch once a week on the same day of the week for 3 weeks. The patch delivers the hormones daily over 7 days. Wear each patch continuously until you replace it the following week. During the fourth week, you wear no patch. This is when you have a menstrual period.

Should the patch partially or completely come off before it is due to be changed, apply a replacement patch right away.

Patch warning. The patch delivers more estrogen than the low-dose birth control pills do. It has a higher risk of causing blood clots in your legs or lungs. So talk to your doctor about your risks before using the patch.

Direct sunlight or high heat can increase, then lower, the amount of hormone released from a patch. This can give you a big dose at the time and leave less hormone for the patch to release later in the week. This increases your risk of pregnancy. Avoid direct sunlight on the hormone patch. Also avoid using a tanning bed, heating pad, electric blanket, hot tub, or sauna while you are using a hormone patch.

Last Updated: May 22, 2008

Medical Review: Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.