The birth control pills are the most used means of contraception but can be easily forgotten to take. Birth control pills are easiest to use since they are taken orally and are effective over 99 % of the time.
Can there be side-effects to forgetting to take birth control? One quite common side-effect is spotting, but it is also possible to get pregnant because of a missed pill.
For one missed pill this isn’t a very likely scenario, but it’s better to play it safe and stay consistent.
Gynecologists prescribe birth control pills according to the requirements and needs of the taker. They are available in various packs but the most used are those which contain 21 pills and 28 pills and are to be taken on a daily basis.
But many times you simply might just forget to take the daily dose. Forgetting birth control pills is actually quite common.
Here’s a compilation of instructions from the internet on what to do if you’re on the combined oral contraceptive pill.
If you are less than 24 hours late, you can take it without any delay as soon as you remember
- Less than one day late:
If you have not taken your pill and are less than 24 hours late you can take it without any delay as soon as you remember. No additional contraceptive protection or emergency contraception is required.
- Two days late (24h to 48h):
Take the missed pill as soon as possible. The remaining pill should be taken according to the usual schedule as well. This means you might need to take two pills at the same time. With most birth control pills, you will not require additional contraceptive protection or emergency contraception. Read the leaflet that came with your pills to make sure.
- Three days late or more (more than 48h):
Take the most recent pill as soon as possible and continue with the remaining pills at the usual time. If you are to have sexual intercourse, apart from the pill you need to make sure you use other contraceptive means such as condoms, IUD’s etc. for the next seven to ten days to be extra careful. Consider also emergency contraception.
Also, if you miss three or more pills in the third week, finish the hormonal pills in the package and discard the placebos. Start a new sheet the next day.
To sum it up:
Understand that sticking to your pill schedule is very important and measures should be taken to remember.
If by any chance you miss a pill or two, take those pills along with the ones that are scheduled.
Missing three pills usually means you may need to alter the pill routine by discarding the placebos. Also, emergency contraception might be needed.
Sticking to your pill schedule is very important and measures should be taken to remember
Don’t panic and don’t worry. Go the extra mile and use other contraceptive measures as well. Just to make sure, consult your doctor or physician for instructions.
Mikko Törmä is certified pharmacist and has over 15 years experience in pharmaceutical industry, pharmacy and has worked also in Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Mikko is a professional writer who’s main focus is to make medical science simple to read and understandable, so that ordinary people can easily benefit from the research & recommendations made by professionals. His deepest interest is in the public health and to provide fair access to primary health care for everyone.
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