Missed Birth Control Pills: What to Do About It?

Oral contraceptives are among the most popular methods of birth control. However, some would say that it is not the most convenient. Why? Most birth control pills or BCP have to be taken everyday at a scheduled hour. This said, chances are high that one might forget or miss taking it given the many daily activities.

Some might think that a missed pill is just a missed pill but this is not the case with oral contraceptives. Missing a scheduled intake means that one can get pregnant following sexual intercourse without the aid of a backup birth control method. Missed birth control pills pose great risks, especially that of unplanned pregnancies. If you are taking BCP and missed a pill, here is a guide on correcting the mistake:

When you missed a pill…


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* Take a pill as soon as you remember your mistake. Take the scheduled pill for the day at your regular intake time. Do this for Sunday-start and other-day start combination pill packs.
* If you had unprotected sex after missing your pill intake, visit your doctor for emergency contraception.
* If you missed taking a progestin-only pill for even just three hours, use a backup contraception method for the next two days. A missed day for a progestin-only pill requires using backup contraception until your next period.

When you missed two pills consecutively…

* If you missed taking two pills in a row during the first two weeks of your cycle, take two pills on the day you recognize your mistake. Take another two pills on the day after then take one pill a day for the succeeding days until you finish the pill pack for your current cycle.
* As always, contact a Planned Parenthood clinic, your gynecologist, or a health care professional for emergency contraception assistance if you have had sex after your missed pill intakes without using backup contraception methods.
* When you missed your pill intakes in the third week of your cycle, keep taking a pill daily until Sunday for a Sunday-start pill pack. Discard your unfinished pill pack safely on Sunday and start a new pill pack.

* For an other-than-Sunday start pill pack, dispose of your unfinished pill pack on the day you remember your missed pill intakes and start a new pill pack.
* Use a backup form of birth control or contraception method like condoms, spermicides, or sperm gels when you have sex for the next seven days following the missed pill intakes.
* Take note that you might missed a period for your current cycle. However, if you missed two periods following the cycle where you missed your schedule pill intakes, visit your doctor for possible conception and pregnancy.

When you missed three or more pills consecutively…

* Follow the steps mentioned above and consult your doctor immediately if you have had unprotected sex after the missing your scheduled pill intakes.

A few reminders…


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If you keep missing your pill intakes, finish the pill pack following the steps above and consult your doctor prior to the start of your next cycle for a new form of birth control.

An injectable contraception might work better for you since you only have to be injected every three months. However, if you want to stay on the pill, consider asking your doctor for a 28-day pill pack instead of the usual 21-day pack.

The former has seven inactive or non-hormonal pills for the interim days in-between cycles. Since missed pill intakes happen coming off the seven-day break, a 28-day pill pack can help in habit-forming.

Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

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