Forgot to take your birth control pill? Here’s some important advice from a gynaecologist

Missed a couple doses of your birth control pill? It happens to the best of us and that’s why we talked to a doctor to help you figure out how to deal with it.
Birth control pills interrupt the menstrual cycle by stopping ovulation. Image Courtesy: Shuterstock
Sonakshi Kohli Updated: 4 Jun 2020, 18:50 pm IST
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It could be a super-tight schedule keeping you on your toes, or the stress of meeting deadlines as you work from home, or a virtual party with friends, or the lockdown frustration making you more forgetful—whatever it is that made you forget about popping your regular birth control pill must not be stressed upon. 

Because guess what? Just like all the other mistakes in life, you have a fair chance of rectifying this one as well.

Surely, these pills can be your best bet if you’re sexually active with no intention of getting pregnant. So, you start taking hormonal birth-control pills within the first week of getting your period and finish off the 21-pill pack by popping one pill every night religiously. 

“Birth control pills work by inhibiting the body’s natural hormonal cycle to prevent pregnancy. The hormones control the working of the ovary and the uterus. Pills act by stopping ovulation (i.e., the release of an egg from the ovary which happens once a month) and making the lining of the uterus unfavourable for implantation of the fertilized egg,” explains Dr Uma Vaidyanathan, senior consultant, obstetrics and gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.

Naturally, you’re bound to freak out if you end up missing your daily dose/ a couple of doses of the combined oral contraceptive pill containing estrogen and progesterone. But, here’s what you can do to save yourself from the horror of an unwanted/unplanned pregnancy in that case:

If you’ve missed one pill from the pack or started a new pack one day late
Firstly, just take a deep breath because according to Dr. Vaidyanathan, you’re still protected against pregnancy if this is your case. However, she recommends taking the following steps to make up for the missed pill:

  • Take the last pill you missed the moment it strikes you, even if this means taking 2 pills in one day.
  • Carry on taking the rest of the pack as normal.
  • Take your 7-day pill-free break as normal, or if you are on every day (ED) pills, take the dummy (inactive) pills as you’d usually take.
  • There is no need to use extra contraception if one pill is missed.

Also, Read:  8 things that happen to your body when you stop taking birth control pills

If you’ve missed two or more pills anywhere in the pack or started a new pack two or more days late
“Your protection against pregnancy can be affected in this case,” says Dr Vaidyanathan and suggests the following steps to make up for it:

  • Take the last pill you missed the moment it strikes you, even if this means taking two pills in one day.
  • Leave any earlier missed pills.
  • Carry on taking the rest of the pack as normal.
  • Use extra contraception, such as condoms, while having sex for the next seven days.
birth control pill
It’s okay even if you missed your birth pill alert. Just calmly follow these expert-backed tips. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

If you’ve reached the end of the 21-pill pack after missing two or more pills
Needless to say, your risk of getting pregnant due to unprotected sexual intercourse increases ten folds in this case. But, since the show must go on, Dr Vaidyanathan recommends taking the following steps to rectify the blunder:

  • If there are seven or more pills left in the pack after the last missed pill, finish the pack and then take the seven-day pill-free break as you normally would, or take the inactive pills before starting the next pack.
  • If there are less than seven pills left in the pack after the missed pill, finish the pack and start a new pack the next day; this means missing out the pill-free break or not taking the inactive pills.
  • You may also need emergency contraception if you’ve missed two or more pills in the first week of starting the 21-pill pack and had unprotected sex during the previous seven days.

Now that you know how to get your contraceptive cover back despite missing the required dose of your hormonal birth-control pills, we’d say stop panicking and get back in the game by following Dr Vaidyanathan’s advice, okay?

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