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Can taking birth control pills late impact effectiveness?

By March 30, 2011 - 7:43pm
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Can taking one birth control pill a few hours late change the effectiveness?

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EmpowHER Guest

Okay so I started taking birth control pills for the very first time June 19th which was a Sunday. 3 days into taking the pill and I forgot them at home while travelling to Vegas for 4 days so I stopped taking the pill. I had just finished my period today and was advised by a nurse at a women's clinic that I could start up where I left off with my packet because I am in another country right now and I won't be able to get a new pack from my pharmacy until the end of this month when I return home. I'm unsure whether I should continue taking my used pack or if I should wait to start a brand New one

July 4, 2016 - 9:48pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Since you got advice from a nurse at a women's center, follow her advice. However, generally speaking, a woman should throw out her old pack and start a new one.

Are you sexually active? You might want to just use condoms until you get home but if you do continue this pack per the nurse, make sure you use condoms for at least 7 days.


July 5, 2016 - 12:44pm
EmpowHER Guest

Last month I went out of town and forgot my birth control pack(I missed 3 days). I had one week left until the placebo pills and so when I got home I began taking them again and then had my period. I had just finished my first week back on the pill (since my period) and I had intercourse. I am worried that I did not wait long enough. Should I get a back up?

December 16, 2015 - 6:26am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon
Missing three days means you should have thrown out your pack, started a new one and used a back up for at least 7 days. But since it was seven days since you started your new pack, you should be ok.

December 16, 2015 - 7:04am
EmpowHER Guest

So I have a question... On Monday I forgot to take my pill and I realized it Tuesday morning so that morning I doubled up and just a few hours after I doubled up I had unprotected sex and he did came inside me. How likely is it that I'm preganant? I've been on birth control for 2 and a half weeks now.

November 18, 2015 - 5:32am

ok thank you im just so nervous that when i get off my active pills im gonna be waiting for the withdrawl blood and im not going to have anything. My last active pill is on saturday so im hoping to have my period by monday or tuesday hopefully. Im just confused as to how so many women say they get pregnant from missing one pill or taking it late?

March 31, 2011 - 9:11am
(reply to sunshine228)

The pill, when used consistently and correctly, is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy with "perfect use". That means, there is 1% chance of pregnancy, and it's really more about probability and statistics: 1 out of 100 women each year will become pregnant (how you get the 99% effectiveness rate).

When women miss pills, it is considered "typical use", and those stats are more like 8 in 100 women will become pregnant each year. The more pills missed, when pills are missed consecutively, then the chances of unintended pregnancy increase.

Missing one pill (combination), and taking it as soon as you remember, keeps you in the 99% effectiveness range.

Hope this helps!

March 31, 2011 - 9:55am

Im actually on a cimbined birth control, ive bee on it for two years and ive taken all of them correctly except for this one. It was the last pill of my second week in the pack and I took it like 8 or 9 hours late ( I fell asleep) and when I work up I took it right away. I guess my real question is could i have released an egg in those few hours? They say that with yasmin you have a 12 hour window that you may take the pill and still be safe and it not be considered a 'missed' dose but idk how true that is. And also Im a little worried because last month I got my period three days early because at the beginning of the prior month i took plan b so idk wether to expect my period early again or at my normal time so idk when to take a pregnancy test to make sure.

March 31, 2011 - 6:23am
(reply to sunshine228)

Missing one pill, and taking it as soon as you remember, will not decrease its effectiveness. You took your pill 8-9 hours late, and this will not decrease the effectiveness of your combined birth control pill.

When you are taking birth control pills, you don't actually have a menstrual period (you were explaining that your last period was late), and you don't ovulate when you are using hormonal contraception, either. The pill works by preventing ovulation, and no, you would not release an egg within the 9 hours you did not take your pill.

If you are curious to learn more, I am happy to explain! (For instance, the bleeding you experience each month is "withdrawal bleeding" and not a period..so it would not matter if it was "late" or not). It is also not relevant how long you have been taking the pill, as each cycle is its own cycle (in regards to preventing pregnancy).

March 31, 2011 - 8:49am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

please help! i stopped taking my pills mid pack almost 2 weeks ago. because I forgot 4 pills. I still have not bled at all. I have taken pregnancy test they all say negative. I am wandering can i just start a new pack to get the cycle started? My husband and I are wanted to try and have a baby in August. Thanks!

July 24, 2015 - 4:15pm
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