Miss One Contraceptive Pill? Don't Panic!

By Emma |
|3 min read

Of all contraceptive methods that are available, you've probably heard of the pill. The pill contains hormones (estrogen and progesterone combined, or only progesterone) that thicken the cervical neck to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus, but most important, they stop ovulation from happening.

They are usually taken on a daily basis at the same time each day for three weeks and your period will come down during the fourth week. There are plenty of contraceptive pill options that vary in the amount of hormones and instructions. It's unlikely to become pregnant if you take the pill as prescribed by your doctor.

Missed a Contraceptive Pill?

What if you miss one pill for birth control and do nothing about it? Forgetting a pill or losing a package are the main reasons why people who take the pill become pregnant. It's super important to prevent yourself from missing a pill and to have a plan of action if it happens.

Use a birth control reminding app, set an alarm in your phone, or keep the pills in your purse or wallet. Choose your strategy, as long as it helps you take the pill on time, all the time. If you accidentally miss a pill, the first thing you should do is call your doctor or a contraception clinic, and they will get you back on track. Use the following advice only if you're unable to get in touch with them.

1. Take the Next Pill

If you only miss one contraceptive pill, take the next pill in your pack. It will end one day earlier, but won't affect the pill's effectiveness.

2. Take the Last Pill

Warning! Twenty-eight-day contraceptive package has seven placebo pills. Make sure to take the last active pill in your pack. You'll begin your placebo pills one day before, but the contraception effectiveness won't be compromised. If you forget a placebo pill, do nothing. You'll start the next package on a usual day.

3. Take a Spare Pill

Keep a spare package for safety. Take one of the pills from the pack and replace the missed contraceptive pill.

4. When to Start the Next Pack

It depends on the kind of pill you are taking. If you miss a combined contraceptive pill, you probably took the next one or the last one on the pack instead. You can begin starting the next pack a day early without increasing your risks for an unplanned pregnancy. If you take progestin-only pills, start the next pack as soon as you end the one you're currently using.

5. Miss More Than One Pill?

If you miss two pills early in your cycle, you need to take two pills for the next two days and use backup contraception for the following seven days. Finish the rest of the package as usual. If you miss two pills in the third week, or more than two pills any time, start a new package the next day and use a back-up contraception method for the next seven days. If you miss one contraceptive pill, use another anti-conceptive method while off the pill and continue protection for the next seven days after starting the new package.

Other Contraceptives for Protection

Besides the pill, there are endless contraceptives methods. However, if you miss a contraceptive pill, use one of the following to prevent pregnancy while you get back on track.

1. Condom

male and female condoms work as a physical barrier. It prevents the sperm from reaching the vagina, but also against STD. It has an effectiveness of 92%.

2. Diaphragm or Cap

From the cup-shaped like contraceptives, the diaphragm is the most effective one (88%). It is a soft silicone shaped cup that acts as a barrier covering the cervix. It needs to be used with spermicide and does not protect from STDs.

3. Spermicide

It's a cream-like substance that you put inside the vagina and close to the cervix before having sex. It acts as a contraceptive by killing the sperm. You can combine this method with a condom or diaphragm for better protection.

Use Cautiously

Contraceptive pills are great and effective - no wonder they are women's favorite anti-conceptive method. It also provides lighter periods, brightens hair, and sometimes it helps to remove acne spots. However, missing a pill may compromise its effectiveness. Because the pill does not protect against STDs, it's recommended to wear a barrier method concurrent to the use of the pill.



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