Birth control pills are a highly effective method for preventing unwanted pregnancies when taken consistently and correctly. However, life can get busy, and exceptional situations may arise, sometimes leading to you forgetting to take your pill at the usual time. If you find yourself in this situation, finding a quick solution is crucial. 

First thing, breathe; missing a birth control pill does not automatically mean you are at risk of pregnancy. To solve your possible doubts, we asked the experts at the abortion clinic in Fort Lauderdale to inform us about what to do when this happens and how to maintain contraceptive effectiveness.

Check the type of birth control pill you are using

There are two main types of birth control pills: combination pills, which contain estrogen and progestin hormones, and progestin-only pills (mini-pills). Both pills are highly effective; the only difference is that the mini pill doesn’t contain progestin and also doesn’t prevent ovulation. The actions you need to take after missing a pill will depend on which type you are using. You can refer to the instructions provided with your specific pill brand or consult your healthcare provider for guidance.

What to do after you miss a pill?

If you miss a combination pill, take it as soon as you remember, even if it means taking two pills in one day. However, if it’s close to the time of your next scheduled pill, it’s best to skip the missed pill and continue with the regular schedule. Taking two pills at once may lead to nausea or other side effects.

For progestin-only pills, taking the missed pill within three hours of your regular time is crucial. If you miss this three-hour window, follow the instructions provided with your pill brand or consult your healthcare provider.

Use backup contraception

When you miss a birth control pill, especially a combination pill, using a backup contraceptive method for the next seven days is essential to avoid pregnancy. That can be condoms, a diaphragm, or abstaining from sexual intercourse during this period.

Emergency contraception

If you’ve had unprotected sex when you missed your birth control pill or during the seven-day backup period and are concerned about a potential pregnancy, consider using emergency contraception.

Emergency contraceptive pills or the copper intrauterine device (IUD) can be effective if taken or inserted within a specific time frame after unprotected intercourse. This pill works by delaying ovulation; consequently, you may experience your period a couple of days later, fatigue, headaches, nausea or vomiting, and dizziness. These emergency measures are burdensome on your organism, so taking them more than twice per year is not recommended. Consult your doctor or pharmacist to understand the available options and their effectiveness.

Stay consistent with your pill regimen

Resuming your regular birth control pill schedule after the missed pill incident is vital to maintaining contraceptive effectiveness. To help you out, you can set reminders on your phone or an alarm, use a pill organizer, or link the pill-taking routine to a daily activity to help you remember. 

Seek guidance from a healthcare provider

If, after reading this article, you are still unsure about what to do after missing a birth control pill or if you experience unusual symptoms or side effects, seek advice from your healthcare provider. They can offer more personalized guidance based on your specific situation and medical history.

Final thoughts

Missing a birth control pill can be concerning, but, if handled promptly and correctly, it won’t lead to pregnancy. Remember to take the missed pill as soon as possible, use backup contraception, and consider emergency contraception – only if necessary. Being consistent with your birth control regimen and seeking guidance from a healthcare provider will help you stay in control of your reproductive choices and ensure adequate contraceptive protection. Always remember that open communication with your partner and healthcare provider is key to a healthy and empowered approach to family planning.