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When does the pill start working after you take it?

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The pill doesn’t start working immediately. You need to take it for at least a few days before it becomes effective. That’s why it’s important to use a backup contraceptive, like condoms, when you first start taking it. Talk to your doctor about how long you need to use a backup method. Some recommend you use one during your entire first pack.

SOURCES:

CDC: “Effectiveness of Family Planning Methods,” “Contraceptive Effectiveness.”

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Birth Control Pill Fact Sheet.”

HealthyWomen.org: “How to Effectively Use Your Birth Control Pills.”

Association of Reproductive Health Professionals: “Using Birth Control Pills Regularly for Successful Contraception.”

MedlinePlus: “Estrogen and Progestin (Oral Contraceptives).”

Bedsider.org: “Which medications can mess with birth control?” 

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on October 12, 2016

SOURCES:

CDC: “Effectiveness of Family Planning Methods,” “Contraceptive Effectiveness.”

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Birth Control Pill Fact Sheet.”

HealthyWomen.org: “How to Effectively Use Your Birth Control Pills.”

Association of Reproductive Health Professionals: “Using Birth Control Pills Regularly for Successful Contraception.”

MedlinePlus: “Estrogen and Progestin (Oral Contraceptives).”

Bedsider.org: “Which medications can mess with birth control?” 

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on October 12, 2016

NEXT QUESTION:

When can I start taking the pill again after pregnancy?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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