It happens. Women on a combined contraceptive pill miss a dose every once in a while, and worry about the consequences.But should you be worried if it happens to you? Not if you take appropriate steps to get back on schedule. What you need to do will depend on the type of birth control pill you are taking, how many pills you have missed, and when you missed your pill.
Here is a guide to help put your mind at ease.
The good news is that if you have missed one pill anywhere in the pack or started a new pack one day late, you will still be protected against pregnancy. In that case, you should take the pill you missed as soon as you remember, even of that means taking two pills in one day. After that, you can take the rest of the pack as normally prescribed, with seven days pill-free as usual. Or, if you are on an everyday pill, take your dummy (inactive) pill during those seven days. Extra contraception is not required.
The not-so-good news is that if you have missed two to seven pills anywhere in the pack, or if you started a new pack two or more days late during the first week of pills (1 to 7 days), your protection against pregnancy may be affected. In that case, you may need emergency contraception if you have had unprotected sex and should immediately contact a sexual health clinic, your doctor, or pharmacist.
In any event, take the last pill you missed, even if it means taking two pills in a day, and leave any earlier missed pills. Also, use extra contraception, such as condoms, for the next seven days. Then, take the rest of the pills in your pack as normally prescribed,with seven days pill-free or taking dummy pills as usual, before beginning your new pack.
If you have missed two to seven pills in the second week of a pack (days 8to 14), take the last pill you missed even of it means taking two pills in a day and leave any earlier missed pills. You willnot need emergency contraception, but you should use extra contraception for the next seven days if you have intercourse. Take the rest of the pills in your pack as normally prescribed, taking your seven-day pill break or dummy pills as usual before beginning your next pack.
If you have missed two to seven pills in the third week of a pack (days 15 to 21), take the last pill you missed even if it means taking two pills in a day and leave any earlier missed pills. You don’t need emergency contraception but should use extra contraceptive precautions for the next seven days.
If your pack contains 21 pills, take the rest of the pills as usual and start a new pack. If your pack contains 28 pills, take the rest of the active pills (the first 21) as usual. Once you have taken the last of the active pills, start a new pack the next day. This means you will not have your 7-day pill-free break or take dummy pills from the pack.
If you have missed eight or more pills straight, you will not be protected against pregnancy.If you have had unprotected sex, you may need to a pregnancy test or take emergency contraception. If this is the case, contact your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or sexual health clinic. If you’re unsure of what to do, continue to take your pill and use another method of contraception if you have intercourse, but still get medical advice as soon as possible.
Combined contraceptive pills are just one birth control option. With so many types of birth control to choose from, however, it can be difficult to know exactly which type is best for your individual health, lifestyle, and family-planning goals.
Fortunately, the gynecology professionals at Dekalb Women’s Specialists can help by providing counseling and recommendations based on your unique needs. Our team of highly trained and experienced physicians provide general gynecology services for every stage of your life including:
For more information on the types of birth control available and their proper dosage, as well as any other gynecological concerns, call DeKalb Women’s Specialists today to arrange a consultation at our nearest location to you. You can also use our convenient online tool to schedule your appointment.