Birth control pills contain hormones, to stop ovulation. They also contain some other stuff. Just like every kind of tablet, the pill contains some inactive ingredients, to dilute the estrogen and progestin into a usable form. And then it might contain levomefolate calcium, a kind of folic acid. That’s a vitamin, and they add it so any baby you give birth to grows a healthy spine.

That sounds like something you never asked for. The whole point of taking the pill is to avoid pregnancy. This might even sound like some kind of pro-life conspiracy, right up there with giving meds to women seeking abortions so we can “help save the baby.” But there’s a certain logic to it. 

Even if you take the pill as contraception, it might fail. If the pill has (say) a 1% failure rate, that means if 10 million women take the pill, we can expect 100,000 pregnancies each year. No one wants those 100,000 pregnancies to result in babies being born with neural tube defects and their nerves popping right out of their skin.

Now, since the person taking the pill doesn’t want to get pregnant, you might assume that if they do get pregnant, they can simply terminate the pregnancy, rendering prenatal spinal health a nonissue. But maybe they won’t be able to. Or maybe they’ll choose not to. Maybe it will take them unusually long into the pregnancy to even realize they’re pregnant, since they assumed the pill would protect them. 

You also have to factor in that while some women take the pill for other reasons, it’s a fair bet that many who take it are fertile and sexually active, so even with the pill, they’re actually more likely to get pregnant than certain other segments of the population. Plus, without supplements, the pill can leave women folic acid deficient even if they don't get pregnant, so maybe the drugmaker bears some responsibility for addressing that. This all adds up to a contraceptive pill that, yes, is an anti-pregnancy tablet, but is also in one way a pro-pregnancy tablet. 

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For more birth control weirdness, check out:

My Pregnancy Tried To Kill Me: 6 Insane Realities

The Pill Was Invented by a Devout Catholic

Huge Real-World Consequences Of Thinking Vaginas Are Icky

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Top image: Ceridwen/Wiki Commons

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