Everything About Birth Control Pills

Remembering to take your birth control pill daily can be difficult, but it’s essential to take them on time to avoid unplanned pregnancy. However, sometimes you might forget to take your pill – mistakes happen! If this happens to you, the following instructions will help you learn how to get back on track.

What to do if you miss your dose?

If you missed 1 hormonal pill (by 24 – 48 hours) or if you are simply taking it late (for less than 24 hours), you should:

  • Take your missed or late pill as soon as possible.

  • Take your next pill at the usual time (even if it means taking two pills on the same day).

  • No emergency contraception is required but can be considered.

If you missed 2 or more consecutive hormonal pills (more than 48 hours have passed since you took a pill), you should:

  • Take your missed pill as soon as possible (discarding any other missed pills).

  • Take your next pill at the usual time (even if it means taking a second pill on the same day).

  • Use back-up contraception (condoms) during intercourse or avoid sexual intercourse until you complete the 7 consecutive day course of hormonal pills.

If you miss your last week’s hormonal pills (e.g., days 15–21 for 28-day pill packs):

  1. Start taking your pills as soon as possible and finish your current pack. Start with the new pack after finishing your current pack.

  2. If in case you are unable to start a new pack immediately, use precaution such as condoms during intercourse or avoid sexual intercourse until you haven’t taken your next hormonal pills from a new pack for 7 consecutive days.

  • Consider using emergency contraception if you miss your hormonal pills during the first week or had unprotected sexual intercourse in the previous 5 days.

Do you need to worry if you miss your dose?

This depends on the type of birth control protection you use. For some birth control pills, missing one dose can be a problem. However, for others, taking the pill a few hours late can increase the chances of getting pregnant. You might also be at the risk of pregnancy if:

  • Your vaginal ring (NuvaRing) slips or falls out, or you forget to insert a new ring on time.

  • Your patch (Ortho Evr]) is loose or falls off, or you forget to put on a new patch on time.

  • You take birth control pills and have vomiting or diarrhea.

  • You get your shot (e.g., Depo-Provera) late.

What if you often forget your birth control pills?

If you often forget to take your birth control pills, make sure to talk with your health care provider about other options. The other types of birth control that might work for you are – intrauterine device (IUD), the injection, vaginal ring, patch, and implantable rod (Implanon).

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