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Birth Control Pills

When do you start taking your birth control pills?

You may start taking your birth control pills one of two ways:

  • start on the first day of your menstrual bleeding; or
  • start on the first Sunday after your menstrual bleeding begins.

When can you consider yourself protected?

Choose a back up method of birth control such as a condom during the first seven days of pill use. If you start taking the pills on the first day of your cycle, a back up method is not necessary.

Keep in mind that birth control pills are a protection from pregnancy only. You should still use condoms to protect yourself from STIs.

Forgot to take a pill?

If you forget to take a pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you don’t remember until you take the next pill, then take both.

If you miss two or more birth control pills, it is best to call the Ob/Gyn Department at 203-432-0222 and ask to speak with a nurse as we can assist you in getting back on track without having to discontinue the cycle.  Note that you will need to use condoms for the rest of the cycle because ovulation is possible.

Being late with birth control pills may lead to break-through bleeding, bleeding prior to week four, or “placebo” week.  Break through bleeding does not indicate a lack of protection.

Can other drugs I take interfere with my birth control pills?

A small number of antibiotics and some other drugs may decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. Should you have any questions about the drugs you are taking, please discuss them with your clinician or pharmacist. If they feel there may be a decrease in effectiveness, use some other form of back up protection while on the antibiotic and for an additional seven days.

Want to switch to another form of birth control or have other questions about birth control?

Before making any changes, call a nurse in the Ob/Gyn Department during regular business hours at 203-432-0222 or send a message to your clinician using MyChart. It may be possible to do this over the telephone and MyChart. You do not necessarily need an appointment.

MyChart is an excellent choice for routine, non-urgent messages. Please allow 24-48 hours for a response from your clinician.