Take the Pills Correctly, How to Do It?

Birth control pills are convenient and reliable? But how to take them correctly? Read to learn the right ways to take the pill bring the best effects.

Birth control comes in many forms. One of the most frequently chosen forms is the pill. These pills come in two forms, progestin-only pills and combination pills. So how to take birth control pills? You can start the progestin-only pill at any time or good time for you, as protection will begin after 2 days. With either pill, you must take them consistently. If you miss on regular time frame, then you have to do a backup method of birth control for 48 hours after the late pill is taken.

How to Take Birth Control Pills

1. Combination Pills

If you are wondering how these combination pills work, then the following is a basic outline. You will be given a pack of either 28 or 21 pills, this simply depends on the brand. Both types have 21 active pills that contain the hormone which makes the birth control active. The last 7 pills in the 28-day pack are simply placebos or reminder pills, and are not active. With either pack, you are taking 3 weeks of hormones, and one week of nothing. This is to allow the menstrual cycle to regulate. There are cases when pills are given in a few months’ supply, and this is designed for women with menstrual issues that need to have the frequency of their period regulated.

How to Start:

  • First Day of Period Start: Start taking your pills on the first day of period. Then continue to take one pill daily at the same time. Because the pills are very effective in preventing pregnancy right away, you do not need to use a backup method with this method.
  • Quick Start: Take the first pill today at any time or a good time for you. Then continue to take one pill daily at the same time. But you need to use some backup methods for at least 7 days to prevent pregnancy, such as abstinence or condoms.
  • Sunday Start: You can take the first birth control pill on the first Sunday which follows the start of the period. Or start the pill on Sunday if your period begins on Sunday. Continue to take one pill daily at the same time. But like quick start, you also need to use backup methods for at least 7 days to prevent pregnancy.

2. Progestin-Only Pills

How to take birth control pills when they are progestin only? These pills work the same as the combination pills, but are designed for a certain population. These pills are utilized for women with a history of cancer and blood clots, who have experienced side-effects from the combination pills, are post-partum, or are breast feeding.

How to Start:

The progestin-only pill can be started at any time. If you choose to have intercourse during the first 48 hours, please use protection. Progestin pill won’t begin for 2 days. It’s key to follow a regular time schedule to prevent pregnancy. If you miss by 3 hours, you will need to do a backup method for 48 hours after the late pill is taken.

 

What to Do If I Miss the Pill?

At some time during their time taking birth control, almost all women will forget to take it. How to take birth control pills to save yourself from an unplanned pregnancy? Talk with your health care provider for more information.

1. Combination Pills

The backup methods, including the diaphragm, condom, sponge or female condom, are needed to be used if you have intercourse during the 7 days period after a missed pill. The morning after pill can be used up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse.

The following table tells you what to do if you miss the combination pills (21-day or 28-day pack).

  Pills Missed

    When Missed

                 What to Do

7-Day Backup Needed?

    First 1 to 2 

   Beginning of pack

Take 1 pill whenever you remember. And take the next one at the usual time. This means that you may need take 2 in one day.

          Yes

       1 to 2 

          Day 3 to 21

Take 1 pill whenever you remember. And take the next one at the usual time. This means that you may need take 2 in one day.

           No

     3 or more

         First 2 weeks

Take 1 pill whenever you remember. And take the next one at the usual time. This means that you may need take 2 in one day.

          Yes

            3rd week

Do not try to finish the pack. Throw away the remaining, and start next pack.

          Yes

1 to 7 reminder pills

            4th week

Do not try to finish the pack. Throw away the missed reminder pill or pills. Remember to take next reminder pill at the usual time. 

           No

2. Progestin-Only Pills

If you take your progestin-only pill more than 3 hours past the regular time, you may become pregnant. 

  • Automatically take a pill whenever you can remember.
  • At the usual time, you need to take the next pill.
  • Finish the pack off on your regular schedule.
  • Make sure to use backup methods for 48 hours after the missed pill is taken.

Note:

  • Symptoms like light bleeding or spotting may occur if missing a birth control pill. Some women may also feel sick after taking two pills to make up the missed pill. But the nausea usually will disappear in a short time.
  • If you are still not sure what to do about the missed pills, take 1 active pill daily until talking with your doctor, or simply use a backup method during vaginal intercourse.

Tips:

  • You may get pregnant again in a short time after being pregnant. After 3 weeks from giving birth, you can start retaking combination pills. Wait 6 weeks after birth if you are nursing or have increased risk of blood clots.
  • During nursing, taking the progestin-only pills will not affect your milk.
  • During nursing, wait to start using combination pills because it can reduce the quality and amount of milk in the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding.
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