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How to Use Birth Control Pills Correctly

Sep 23, 2009
Many women choose the birth control pills to prevent unwanted pregnancy. The pill is considered to be safe and reversible birth control method with 99 percent effectiveness. However, the failure rate of the pill can be from 12 to 20 percent if it is used incorrectly. This might be due to the fact that women forget to take the pill or are confused about its proper use.

What are the most common mistakes while taking the birth control pills and how to deal with them?
  1. Starting the pack late


    It is essential to start taking the first pack of the birth control pills consistently and correctly follow the instructions. Most of the birth control pills are 21 days pills and the first pill should be taken within 7 days of woman's periods. It is often recommended to take the pill on the first day of the menstrual cycle.

    Many doctors recommend using a back-up method of birth control such as condoms or cervical cup during the first month of using the Pill. This is because your body needs some time to adjust to the Pill. After the first month of taking the birth control pill you can use them without a back-up method.

  2. Missing the pill


    Many women miss the pill either due to forgetfulness or lack of information about the correct use of the birth control pills. For example, they might decide to skip several pills to lower the side effects of the pill such as mid-cycle spotting or headache. It might also be the case that a woman mistakenly believes that it is not necessary to take the pills if she has no sexual contacts for certain time.

    If you forgot or did not take one active pill, it is important to take the pill as soon as you remember and continue taking the pill according to the schedule. If you forget to take two pills, you should take two pills as soon as you remember and two pills the next day. If you miss more than two pills, it is better to ask for advice your health care provider how to take the birth control pills correctly. In any case, if you miss the pill or more you will need to use a back-up method such as a condom until the end of the pack.

  3. Taking the pill out of order


    Some women confuse the sequence of taking the birth control pills or take the pills randomly. The pills in the pack contain different hormone combinations and some of the pills have active and inactive pills.

    If you took the pills in the wrong order it is better to continue with the regular order and use back-up method for the rest of the cycle. If you take more than one pill out of order, it is recommended to call your health care provider for instructions.

Things to remember:


  • If you forget to take a pill for more than 4 hours opt for back-up method like condoms, cervical cup, spermicides until you finish the pack.

  • If you got sick, use an antibiotic, have diarrhea or vomiting, it is better to use b aback-up method until you start the next pill pack.

  • Call your health care provider if you miss more than two pills and experience warning symptoms such as severe chest pain, visual problems, severe headache and others.


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