Unwanted 21 Days

Things to Do If You Skip a Birth Control Pill

It is commendable that you are taking active efforts to prevent a pregnancy that you are not ready for. However, sometimes, even with the best intentions and even for the most organised person, forgetting to take a birth control pill can happen. Whatever be reason to miss the pill, it’s important that you take charge of the situation immediately after you realise that you have missed a pill.

Here’s what you need to do to minimise the risk of an unplanned pregnancy, if you are using the most common type of birth control pill- combined (contains estrogen and progestin) monophasic type (same amount of estrogen and progestin in all pills):

  1. If you have missed one pill yesterday and realise it today, take yesterday’s pill as soon as you can. Then, take your today’s pill at the usual time. In case you realise that you’ve forgotten yesterday’s pill only when you go to take today’s pill, then take both at the same time. Carry on taking the rest of the pills in the pack as per the schedule.

  2. To be extra cautious, use an OTC birth control measure such as condoms for the next week as backup.

  3. If your skipping birth control pills has occurred for two days in a row, you need to take both the doses as soon as you realise. Take two pills the next day. You will also need to use an additional birth control method to reduce the chances of a pregnancy.

Be careful, here- if after the last missed pill, there are seven or more pills left in the pack, then finish the pack as instructed on the pack, take the pill-free break/ inactive pills before you start your next pack. However, if there are fewer than seven pills left in the pill pack after you missed it, complete the pack and instead of taking the pill-free week, start with a new pack. It is advisable to use a backup birth control measure for the next two weeks.

  1. Take an emergency contraception (morning after pill/ UID) if you have missed two or more pills in the first week of the pill pack and engaged in unprotected sex in the previous seven days.

  2. If you have missed to take three or more pills from the first 2 weeks of the pack, you should take a pill as soon as you can and then take your next pill at what would be your usual time. Use additional means of birth control for the next 7 days if you continue to be sexually active.

  3. If you have missed three or more pills in the third week of the pack, the protocol is very different. You will have to discard the remainder of the pill pack and start a new pack as well as use a backup birth control method for the next 7 days.

It is better to be safe than sorry, visit a trusted gynaecologist for advice and get all the information that you need. All through this, share your thoughts with your partner as that will help build trust and ensure you get the emotional support that you need.


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