What Should I Do if I Forgot to Take My Birth Control Pills?
If you forget to take a birth control pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you don't remember until the next day, go ahead and take 2 pills that day. If you forget to take your pills for 2 days, take 2 pills the day you remember and 2 pills the next day. You will then be back on schedule. If you miss more than 2 birth control pills, call your health care provider for instructions. Those instructions may be to take one pill daily until Sunday and then start a new pack or to discard the rest of the pill pack and start over with a new pack that same day.
Any time you forget to take a pill, you must use another form of birth control until you finish the pill pack. When you forget to take a birth control pill, you increase the chance of releasing an egg from your ovary. However, if you forget to take any of the last 7 (or last 4 of a 4-pill placebo pack or last 2 of a 2-pill placebo pack) out of the 28 day pills, you will not raise your chance of pregnancy, because these pills contain only inactive ingredients. Some pill packs don’t have any placebo pills, so it is best to take all of your pills on schedule so that you can stay on track. If you miss your period and have forgotten to take one or more pills, get a pregnancy test. Many women do not have a period on low dose birth control pills even if they don’t miss any pills. This is considered normal and should not cause any concern.
You don’t have to take a pill every day. Several birth control methods last weeks, months, or even years with little effort on your part. They are safe and effective for most healthy women of childbearing age.
“The best method of contraception for any woman is the method that she’s going to use correctly and consistently,” says Elizabeth Micks, MD, MPH. She’s an acting assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington Medical Center.
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SOURCES: That National Institutes of Health. American Cancer Society. CDC. American Academy of Family Physicians. Newsman, T. Pediatrics, August 2001; vol 108 no 2: pp 522-524. University of California School of Medicine Department of Urology. American College of Surgeons. The Cleveland Clinic. Contraception.net.