Contraceptive pills are used by many women around the world, and you might wonder if this option is available to you in Saudi Arabia
23 June 2021| Last updated on 2 October 2023
An expat guide to contraceptive pills in Saudi Arabia.
When birth control comes to mind, most people would think of condoms and contraceptive pills. And while these two forms of birth control are popular all over the world, there are several misconceptions about what your options are when living in this conservative country.
The pills have a lot more to offer than protecting women from unwanted pregnancies. It's also used for treating painful and irregular periods, as well as acne.
To help ensure you’re informed about what’s available to you as an expat woman in the kingdom, here is our guide to birth control and the contraceptive pill in Saudi Arabia.
Is the contraceptive pill legal in Saudi Arabia?
Birth control such as the pill, condoms, and Intrauterine Device (IUD) are allowed in Saudi Arabia, but its availability will depend on the city and pharmacy you visit.
Can unmarried women buy contraceptive pills in Saudi Arabia?
On paper, sex is illegal outside of marriage in Saudi Arabia, so it's prohibited for unmarried women to obtain birth control pills at pharmacies without a prescription. Some pharmacies may even ask for a marriage certificate if you are single.
However, some women have been able to purchase birth control without being married, and without showing a prescription or marriage certificate.
We highly recommended seeking a doctor's advice before taking contraceptive pills in Saudi Arabia to avoid any potential health issues.
What types of contraceptive pills are available?
At least 15 types of contraceptive pills are available to women in Saudi Arabia. Common ones include Yasmin, Cerazette, Diane, Diane-35, Logynon, Marvelon, Nordette, Microgynon-30, Microlut, and Minulet.
Do you need a prescription to get the pill in Saudi Arabia?
Some pharmacists in the kingdom will ask for a prescription, though there are also other pharmacies that sell over-the-counter without the need to present one.
To stay on the safe side, we advice bringing a prescription so you won't be turned away at the counter.
Am I allowed to bring contraceptives into Saudi Arabia from another country?
If you are travelling into Saudi Arabia, yes you are able to bring contraceptive pills without the need for a doctor's prescription.
What alternatives to the pill are available in Saudi Arabia?
In addition to contraceptive pills, there are a few other methods of preventing pregnancies while in the country.
You can opt for condoms for men, contraceptive ring, contraceptive patch, or the IUD for long-term birth control. It's best to discuss with your doctor first if you're interested in the pill or IUD.
What about the emergency contraceptive pill?
Emergency contraception, or the morning after pill, is banned in Saudi Arabia.
Abortion is also legal in Saudi Arabia, only for rare cases if it's to protect the safety of the mother. But it's a lengthy process that requires a male guardian's approval, meeting other requirements about gestation, and giving reasons for termination backed by medical professionals.