One of the most popular methods of birth control is “The Pill.” Many folks like the pill because it’s effective in preventing pregnancy, easy to swallow, and can be obtained easily. When taken every day, at the same time each day, birth control pills are very effective in preventing pregnancy. You will need a prescription to get birth control pills, so give us a call at (855) SAY-CARA or schedule an appointment online.
What is the birth control pill?
The birth control pill is a hormone-based medication that works by stopping ovulation in your body. Most work by releasing hormones that keep your ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken mucus on your cervix which helps block sperm from reaching an egg.
When taken consistently, birth control pills are an extremely effective and safe method of contraception. Keep in mind, you will need to take birth control pills every day, at the same time each day, until you finish the pack and get your period. As soon as you finish one pack, you restart the process again with a new pack.
Remember: Birth control pills are 91% effective with typical use and 99% effective with perfect use. The more consistent you are, the better you will be protected.
Plan for Success with Birth Control Pills
If you’ve just had an abortion or are starting a new birth control plan, you don’t need to wait for your next period to take your birth control pills. You can start them at any time — the sooner, the better. We recommend you start your pills on the same day as your abortion, or within the first week following, so you’re protected as soon as possible.
Use these tips to help you remember your pill
- Set an alarm on your phone
- Check it off on your calendar
- Sign up for text or email reminders
- Keep your pills in a purse or backpack so they are always with you
- Enlist your partner to help you remember
It’s important to stay on track with your birth control pills — take one pill every day at the same time until you finish an entire pack, and remember to set your appointments and prescription refills as you near the end of your pack.
What do I do if I miss a birth control pill?
The pill works best if you take it every day, but sometimes you may forget. Don’t panic! If you miss a pill, take it as soon as you realize it’s late. An increased risk of pregnancy can occur when you miss pills, so you may want to keep some back up birth control, like condoms or emergency contraception pills, on hand to help keep you protected.
How do different types of birth control pills work?
There are two types of pills: Combination pills and Progestin-only pills. If you are taking combination pills, like most birth control pill users, you are not at risk of becoming pregnant when forgetting a pill unless it’s been over 24 hours since your forgotten pill. You can get back on track with your routine and still be protected.
If you are among the 1% of pill users taking Progestin-only pills, taking your pill at the same time every day is especially important. Missing a pill by just a few hours can increase your risk of becoming pregnant.
What if I forget to take a combination birth control pill?
If you forget a combination pill, you will need to take 2 pills on one day — today’s pill, plus the one you missed). Take the forgotten pill right away, and the second pill at its normal time. If you take 2 pills at once, you may want to eat with your pills to prevent an upset stomach. You should plan to use a back up method of birth control (like a condom) if you have sex anytime in the 7 days after being one or more days late with a pill.
If you forget to take 2 of your pills for 2 days in a row, take the 2 forgotten pills the next day with food. Then, take one pill per day through the end of the pack, and be sure to use a back up method of birth control for 7 days following the forgotten pills if you have sex.
Most combination pills have three weeks of active medicine and one week of “sugar” pills that you take during the week that you will get your period. The easiest time to become pregnant when missing pills is at the start of your new pack, or during the third week of pills (right before your period). If you miss more than 2 pills during the third week of pills, you should start a new pack of pills during the fourth week instead of taking the “sugar” pills. Keep taking your pill every day, whether or not you get your period.
What if I forget to take a Progestin-only pill?
Even if you are only a couple hours late taking your Progestin-only pill, you will need to use a backup method of birth control, like a condom, for at least 48 hours in order to stay protected against pregnancy. Progestin-only pills do NOT come with a week of inactive “sugar pills.” If you forget a pill, always make sure to take the forgotten pill as soon as you realize you missed it.