How to get a blood pressure reading

You need to get your blood pressure measured before you can order a combined hormonal contraceptive.

When you order the combined pill, contraceptive patch or vaginal ring, we'll ask you for a reading that was taken in the past 12 months.

An arm with a blood pressure cuff on, the dial reads 120 over 80.

You'll need to provide two numbers. The top number (systolic) is higher than the bottom one (diastolic).

Blood pressure is the force that moves blood around your body. It is normally measured by a cuff around your upper arm.

Everybody’s blood pressure is different, and it can change (become high or low) without you noticing.

For some people, combined hormonal contraceptives (pill, patch and ring) can make their blood pressure higher. Unmanaged high blood pressure puts you at increased risk of stroke or heart attack. It is important to check your blood pressure before you start a combined method, after the first 3 months and once a year whilst you continue to use it.

Here are 3 easy ways to get a reading:

  • your local pharmacist might have a blood pressure machine that you can use yourself, if not they should be able to take a reading for you

  • your GP waiting area may have a machine you can use. If not, book an appointment

  • use a blood pressure monitoring machine at home if you or a family member has one

  • if you take the combined pill regularly or you use the patch or ring, you may want to buy your own. They cost about £20.


Can’t get a blood pressure reading and want to order your contraception now?

Order the progestogen only pill instead. We do not need to know your blood pressure to prescribe. And it's suitable for most women. Find out more about the progestogen only pill.

Last updated at: 04 April 2022