What To Do If You Skip A Birth Control Pill

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It’s entirely normal to forget to take a pill every once in
a while, but when forgot to take birth control medication it’s fully
understandable if a woman panics a little bit and especially so if she’s been
regularly sexually active with her partner. Her concern of course will be
whether she might soon be pregnant because of her forgetfulness, and the next
thought will likely be what to do if you skip a birth control pill. The good
news is that missing one day – even two – won’t make the medication ineffective
in its ability to prevent pregnancy, but you will need to make up for missing
that day.

We’ll explain what should you do if you forget to take a
birth control pill here. So please continue reading if this information that’s
helpful to you right now, or will be good to know for future reference.

Depends on Pill Type  

The first thing to understand here is that different brands
of birth control
pills
have varying hormonal formulations, and so the potential
outcomes of missing a dose will dependent on the types of birth control
medication you’re taking. It is true that for some of them missing even one day
could mean you’re at risk of becoming pregnant. One of the key factors here is
that some birth control pills are multiphasic. This means that all of the pills
in one single pack of the medication have variances in the hormone levels
between them.

General Guidelines When Forgetting to
Take Birth Control Pills

We’ll start by relating good news for those of you looking
for reassurances with what to do if you skip a birth control pill; you only
have a highly increased risk of pregnancy if you go without taking the pill for
a week or longer. So long story short, missing one day taking birth control
shouldn’t be a big deal.

The best course of action is actually dependent on which
exact pill it is in the pack that you miss. Here’s exactly what to do if you
skip a birth control pill:

  • If you miss the first 1 or 2 pills at the beginning of the pack, take a
    pill as soon as you remember and take the next pill at the same time you
    regularly would. Note that in this instance you will need to start using an
    alternate method of birth control for the next 7 days to eliminate any chance
    of you becoming pregnant if you continue to be sexually active.
  • If you miss the first 1 or 2 pills from day 3 through day 23 your pack, the
    recommendation is the same as above; you should take a pill right away and then
    take the next one at the regular time. 
    The difference is that you will not need to take any temporary birth
    control if the pill(s) you missed were ones for days between day 3 and day 23.

Guidelines for When You Forget More
Than 2 Days in a Row

We’ve now covered what to do if you skip a birth control
pill when it’s only 1 or 2 pills that you’ve missed. We’ll now do the same for
instances where you’ve neglected to take your pill for 3 or more days. Here’s
exactly what to do in this scenario:

  • If you have forgotten or were unable 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 the next pill at the usual time. You will need to use a separate means of birth control for the next 7 days if you will continue to be sexually active.
  • If you miss three or more pills in the third week of the pack, the protocol is very different. You must 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.

The last piece of advice related to what to do if you skip a birth control pill is that the packaging of most birth control medications will include some type of printed information that explains what are the best practices when missing a birth control pill based on the way their product is formulated.

If yours has one and any of the information there is contrary to that shared here, you should of course always follow the drug manufacturer’s recommendations.



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