To avoid an unwanted pregnancy, you should take 1 tablet of the birth control pill every day until the end of the pack, always at the same time.
Most contraceptives carry 21 tablets but there are also pills with 24 or 28 tablets, which differ in the amount of hormones they have, the time of pause between the packs and the occurrence or not of your period.
How to take the contraceptive pill for the first time
To take the 21 day contraceptive for the first time, you should take the 1st tablet of the pack on the 1st day of your period and continue taking 1 tablet per day at the same time until the end of the pack, following the instructions in the package leaflet. When you are done, you should take a 7 day break at the end of each pack and start the next one on the 8th day, even if your period has ended earlier or has not ended.
The following figure shows an example of a 21 tablet contraceptive, in which the 1st tablet was taken on March 8 and the last tablet was taken on March 28. Thus, the interval was made between March 29 and April 4, when menstruation should have occurred, and the next pack should begin on April 5.
The packs with 24 pills, the pause phase is only 4 days and for packs with 28 pills there is no pause.
How to take the 21 day birth control pill
- Examples: Aviane 21, Yasmin, Sprintec 21, Enpresse, Apri 21.
You should take 1 tablet a day until the end of the pack, always at the same time, totaling 21 days with a pill. When the card is finished, you should take a 7 day break, which is when the menstruation should appear, and start a new blister on the 8th day.
How to take a 24 day birth control pill
- Examples: Loestrin 24, Taytulla, Yaz.
You should take 1 tablet a day until the end of the pack, always at the same time, totaling 24 days with the pill. You should then take a 4 day break, when menstruation usually occurs, and start a new blister on the 5th day after the break.
How to take a 28 day birth control pill
- Examples: Errin, Heather, Jolivette, Ortho Micronor, Mirecete, Apri 28.
You should take 1 tablet a day until the end of the blister, always at the same time, totaling 28 days with the pill, such as Errin and Heather for example. When you finish the pack, you should start another one the next day without pausing between them. However, if there is frequent bleeding, the gynecologist should be sought to re-evaluate the amount of hormones needed to regulate the menstrual cycle and, if necessary, prescribe a new contraceptive.
There are also 28 day birth control pills that have 21 active pills containing hormones and 7 inactive sugar pills that are taken as a reminder. When you end this pack you start another one without pausing, but your period should appear during the taking of the 7 day inactive sugar pills, some examples of these birth control pills are the Mircette and Apri 28.
How to take injectable contraceptives
The are 2 types, the monthly and the quarterly.
- Monthly examples: Cyclofem, Mesigyna, Norigynon, Upjohn, Lunelle.
The injection should be applied by the nurse or pharmacist, preferably on the first day of your period, with tolerance up to 5 days after the the appearance of menstruation. The injections mentioned above should always be applied every 30 days.
- Quarterly examples : Depo-Provera e a Megestron.
The injection should be applied up to 7 days after the end of your period, and the following injections should be applied after 90 days, the delay should not be more than 5 days to ensure the effectiveness of the injection. See more about the quarterly contraceptive injection.
At what time should the birth control pill be taken?
The birth control pill can be taken at any time of the day, but it is important that it is taken at the same time to avoid the decrease in its effect. So, do not forget to take the pill, below you will find some tips:
- Put a daily alarm on the phone;
- Keep the blister in a prominent place and easily accessible;
- Associate intake of the pill with a daily habit, such as brushing teeth.
It is also important to remember that you should not take the pill after fasting as it can cause discomfort and pain in the stomach.
What to do if you missed taking the pill at the correct time
In case you forget, you should take the forgotten pill as soon as you remember, even if it is necessary to take 2 tablets at the same time. If you forgot to take the pill but are still in the 12 hour window after the usual contraceptive time, the effect of the pill will be maintained and the rest of the pack should continue to be taken as normal.
However, if you forgot and did not take the pill in the 12 hour window or have forgotten more than 1 pill in he same blister, the effectiveness of the contraceptive may be diminished and the pack leaflet should be read to follow the manufacturer's instructions and use a condom to prevent pregnancy. See more in: what to do if you missed a birth control pill.
What to do if your period doesn't show?
If your period does not appear during the contraceptive pause period and all the pills have been taken correctly, there is no risk of pregnancy and the next blister should be started normally.
In cases where the pill has been forgotten, especially when you have forgotten more than 1 tablet in the same pack there is a risk of pregnancy and ideally a pregnancy test should be bought at the pharmacy or you should do a blood test in a laboratory.