Birth control pills: How and when to take.

Today, the pharmaceutical market offers a great variety of birth control pills. Since every woman tolerates oral contraceptives in a different way, it is incorrect to start taking the tablets based on a friend’s advice.

Each oral contraceptive has its advantages and certain contraindications. In any case, before a woman buys birth control pills and starts using them, she is recommended to consult a doctor. He may advice to use one of the two main types of birth control pills:

  • combined oral contraceptives (containing two hormones, estrogen and progesterone);
  • mini pills (contain only one hormone progestin).

How to take birth control pills for the first time?

When to start birth control pills? – many women ask this question. You can begin taking combined oral contraceptives (COCPs) on any day. However, it should be kept in mind that the contraceptive effect does not occur immediately after the pill administration, which requires the use of additional contraceptives.

Therefore, for ease of use, it is recommended to take the first birth control pill on the first day of the menstrual cycle. In this case, there is no need to use a barrier contraception method.

If you start COCP on the sixth day of the menstrual cycle, the contraceptive effect will be low and the likelihood of an unplanned pregnancy increases.

COCPs are usually produced in a calendar pack with 21 or 28 tablets in each pack.

  • If the pack has 21 tablets, take them by one each day for three weeks, and then take nothing for 7 days. Usually, menstruation onsets on the 2-3 day of the break. On day 8, you should take the first pill of the next blister.
  • When the package contains 28 birth control pills, they should be taken continuously, according to the order indicated on the blister. On day 29, the first tablet from the new package should be taken.

If a woman takes combined birth control pills every day, she is fully protected from unwanted pregnancy, if the interval between the dosing of birth control pills is less than 24 hours.

If you miss even one pill, you should use additional contraception methods (e.g., condoms). Otherwise, an unwanted pregnancy is possible.

Combined contraceptive pills suppress ovulation and are effective for both young nulliparous women and for women who already gave birth or women in the later reproductive years, leading a regular sex life.

How to take mini pills?

Birth control pills that contain estrogen may be contraindicated in women. If this is the case, doctor may recommend using mini pills. These birth control pills can be used in women during lactation or smoking women over the age of 35 years.

To ensure a stable contraceptive effect and reduce the likelihood of side effects, mini pills should be taken every day, at one and the same time. It is important to know that a delay in taking the next pill of more than three hours reduces the contraceptive effect.

As a rule, high contraceptive effect occurs already on the 3rd day after the start of regular administration of birth control pills. To prevent the occurrence of pregnancy during the first 48 hours after the intake of mini pill, it is recommended to use additional contraceptives.

Unlike the combined contraceptive tablets, mini pills are taken without a break, regardless of the menstrual cycle. Systematic use of this type of birth control pills leads to a significant reduction of blood loss during menstruation. It is normal for some women to take birth control pills and not have a period.

Regardless of the kind of birth control pills used by women, they should take contraceptives regularly and on time to get the maximum contraceptive effect.