No matter which method you choose, it is important for women to take their contraceptives consistently in order to effectively prevent pregnancy. Here are some tips to keep in mind when going on a pill based contraception method:
- Beginning your regimen: You can start taking your pills at any time during your cycle. When you start a combination pill (one that has both progestin and estrogen) within the five days after you begin your menstrual period, you are immediately protected from pregnancy. However, if you start taking the pill at any other time of the month, you’ll need backup form of contraceptionfor a week. If you are prescribed progestin-only pill, the “minipill”, you can begin taking them at any time, but will need an additional form of birth control two days after you start taking them.
- Daily use: Combination pills usually come in 21-day or 28-day packs. If you have the 28-day pack, the package most likely contains seven reminder pills, or placebos, which contain no active medication because they are meant to help you stay on schedule. You should be having your period while taking these seven pills. If you’re using the 21-day form, you will not take pills while having your period, which will be in the last week of your cycle.
- Maintain a schedule: To maximize the effectiveness of your contraception, it is best to take your pill at the same time each day. This allows your body to get used to receiving a hormone boost regularly. It may help you remember to take the pill if you do so with a specific daily activity, such as brushing your teeth, or leaving your home for work. Setting an alarm on your phone, clock or watch to alert you when it’s time to take the pill, can also be very helpful
Keep in mind that missing a day increases your chances of becoming pregnant. If you miss a day, you should use a backup contraception method for the remainder of your cycle.
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