Before you learn about the different types of birth control, it's important to understand the reproductive process and your menstrual cycle. Understanding how your body works can help you to choose the method of birth control that's right for you.

Reproduction and your menstrual cycle


Women have 2 ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. Every month, one ovary releases an egg into one of the Fallopian tubes. This is called ovulation. For most women, ovulation takes place 12 to 14 days before the start of the menstrual period (monthly bleeding).3,4

Women can become pregnant if they have sex around the time of ovulation. This includes sex that happens anywhere from a few days before to a day after a woman ovulates. During sex, a man ejaculates sperm into the vagina. The sperm travel up through the cervix and cervical mucus, through the uterus, and into the Fallopian tubes.3

If one of the sperm meets up with an egg waiting in the Fallopian tube, fertilization can take place. After some time, the fertilized egg moves down the Fallopian tube and enters the uterus. Here, the fertilized egg will attach and grow in the lining of the uterus, which has grown and become thicker since the end of the last menstrual period.3, 4

If fertilization doesn't happen, the uterus doesn't need the extra-thick lining it has built up, and it will begin to shed. This shedding of the lining of the uterus through the vagina is menstruation.4


Contraceptive options

There are many different types of birth control.

Click here to compare different birth control methods.


    • Ovaries

      Two glands, located on either side of the uterus, which contain the eggs released at ovulation, and that produce hormones.3

    • Uterus

      A muscular organ located in a woman's pelvis that contains and nourishes the developing fetus during pregnancy.3

    • Fallopian tubes

      Two tubes, located on either side of the uterus, which connect the ovaries to the uterus. After ovulation, an egg travels from the ovary to the uterus through one of the Fallopian tubes.3

    • Menstrual period

      Commonly called a period or menstruation, this is the part of a woman's monthly menstrual cycle when blood and tissue are discharged from the vagina.4

    • Cervix

      The lower, narrow end of the uterus, which protrudes into the vagina.3

    • Cervical mucus

      The secretion from the lower end of the uterus into the vagina. It changes in quality and quantity throughout the menstrual cycle, especially around the time of ovulation.3

    *See complete details in Terms & Conditions.
    This offer is valid only for patients with commercial prescription drug insurance and applies to prescriptions for Generess Fe. Most eligible insured patients will pay no more than $25 per 28-day supply for each of up to 12 prescription fills. Other eligible insured patients should check with their pharmacist for their copay discount. Maximum reimbursement limits apply; patient out-of-pocket expense may vary. Please see full terms and conditions here.


    1. 1. Generess® Fe prescribing information. Parsippany, NJ: Watson Pharma, Inc. March 2012.
    2. 2. Data on file. Actavis Pharma, Inc.
    3. 3. Birth control patient education booklet. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. education/ab020.cfm. Accessed January 28, 2011.
    4. 4. Menstruation patient education booklet. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. education/bp049.cfm. Accessed April 6, 2011.
    5. 5. Hatcher RA, Trussell J, Stewart F, et al. Contraceptive Technology. 18th ed. New York, NY: Ardent Media; 2004.
    6. 6. Birth control pills. Planned Parenthood Web site. Accessed January 18, 2013.

    INDICATION AND USAGE for Generess® Fe

    Generess Fe is a prescription birth control pill used for the prevention of pregnancy.

    IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION about Generess Fe, including Boxed Warning


    Do not use Generess Fe if you smoke cigarettes and are over 35 years old. Smoking increases your risk of serious cardiovascular side effects (heart and blood vessel problems) from birth control pills, including death from heart attack, blood clots, or stroke. This risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes you smoke.

    Do not use Generess Fe if you have kidney, liver, or adrenal disease because this could cause serious heart and health problems, or if you have or have had blood clots, history of heart attack or stroke, high blood pressure that medicine cannot control, breast cancer or any cancer that is sensitive to female hormones, liver disease or liver tumors, unexplained bleeding from the vagina, or if you are or may be pregnant.

    Treatment with Generess Fe should be stopped if you have a blood clot, and at least 4 weeks before and through 2 weeks after major surgery. You should not take Generess Fe any earlier than 4 weeks after having a baby or if you are breastfeeding. If you experience yellowing of the skin or eyes due to problems with your liver, you should stop taking Generess Fe. If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, your doctor should monitor you while using Generess Fe and should evaluate you if you have any significant change in headaches or irregular menstrual bleeding.

    Generess Fe increases the risk of serious conditions including blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. These can be life-threatening or lead to permanent disability.

    The most common side effects reported by women taking Generess Fe were nausea/vomiting, headaches/migraine, depression/mood complaints, pain with menstrual bleeding, acne, increased weight, breast pain/tenderness, and anxiety.

    Birth control pills do not protect you against any sexually transmitted disease, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

    Please see the FDA-Approved Patient Information Leaflet for Generess Fe, including Boxed Warning.

    To report a side effect from one of our products, please call the Actavis Drug Safety Department at 1-800-272-5525.

    You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.