What the researchers and Cullins both suggest is that there may very well be a risk of stroke when taking BCPs, but for some women, this risk is much higher and more of a concern. Ischemic stroke risk was 40 percent higher. If women taking BCPs also smoke, have high blood pressure, or have a history of migraine headaches, then it’s worth talking to your doctor about alternative forms of birth control . Women taking hormone replacement therapy alone or combined with progestin should also speak with their doctor as researchers find stroke risk among this population of women is as high as 40 percent. The higher the dose, the higher the risk.