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Questions about pregnancy and the pill

By Anonymous June 30, 2010 - 5:22pm
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Hi there,
I'm just about to start taking the pill for the first time, I'm 18 years old and have a regular sexual partner at present and decided that I wanted to go on the pill for more protection and to allow for only occasional use of no condom - whether he likes it or not I plan to still use one most of the time too paranoid of pregnancy!
I went to the doctor and got the microgynon 30 pill, and have a few questions i'd love some help with as I am scared about starting the pill!

1. I Have been instructed to take it the first day of my period - typically that came about 10.00pm last night, so am instead going to start it in the early morning of my 2nd day - will this offer immediate protection? I plan to wait at least a week either way at the least.
2. I've been reading horror stories about women getting pregnant on the pill, obviously this can happen due to the biology involved, but was wondering what is the likelihood? I am thinking perhaps I should've just gone with the implant as I am a very paranoid person and I don't think the pill will offer me enough reassurance - especially if we go without a condom at any point.
3. As I said, I know this sounds risky and niave perhaps, but my partner and I (who are both free of STIs) want to occasionally go without a condom, he knows how paranoid I am and will use the withdrawal method alongside, will this decrease chances realistically?
4. I'm very worried about the time of day the pill should be taken - I plan to start taking them at 10 am tomorrow, how much later is the pill considered to be 'late' - say if I was a few hours late/early would this hamper my protection?

Sorry for rambling on, as you can see am very worried and wish I'd just risked the implant now, but think it may be worth trying the pill... just wish I could relax about it and be reassured in some way, hoping you guys can help out! Thanks for reading.
L, 18.

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Hi Suzanne,
You can put your fears and worries to rest...a few hours late taking your pill will not decrease its effectiveness!

The pill is up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken consistently and correctly every time. The closer you are to the same time every night (or day), the better..but a few hours "off" of your normal schedule is not detrimental. Using a condom is a great idea, as that provides even more protection from pregnancy, as well as any sexually transmitted infections or diseases.

Many women forget to take a pill, or forget 2-3 pills in-a-row. This is when the pills' effectiveness rate can begin decreasing, and you would need to use a back-up method (condom) for 7 days. Taking a pill late by a few hours does not require a back-up method.

Hope that helps!

July 8, 2010 - 7:44pm

Wow, I'm glad I'm not alone on the crazy train on this one.
I'm in kind of a similar situation. 20 years old, newly sexually active... except I've been on the pill for about 2 years. I started taking it way before I started having sex, because I was only getting periods twice or three times per year, and my doctor said that was the easiest way to fix that. For the first, I'd say about year and a half of taking the pill, I wasn't having sex and was just using it for hormones, so I was pretty lax about actually taking it at the same exact time. But recently, I have been CRAZY paranoid that I'm going to get pregnant. My boyfriend and I are great together, really- but let's face it. college isn't exactly the best time for a fetus! We use condoms every time (with the exception of occasionally in the shower, but he never finishes that way) - so the risk is pretty low. I was just wondering, if I take a pill by several hours late - like maybe around 7-8 - I know you're supposed to use a back up method for a week but after that - will protection-wise everything go back to normal? I take a triphasic pill (trisprintec) and it was at the end of the first week in the pack. Do you know of a lot of people who took the pill properly and still got pregnant? Do you know of people who missed an occasional pill - not by a whole day or anything - but but a few hours - getting pregnant? Sorry if this is rambl-y too, I'm almost done I promise! I am especially concerned, because I'm having a conflict of interest. After the few shower "slip-ups", the whole lack-of-condom thing is growing on me... and since I've been taking the pill for a long time I think it might not be the worst thing. But like i said, I'm also really paranoid, so can anyone help to put my mind at ease and faith in the pill?

July 8, 2010 - 6:01pm

Great for being proactive with your birth control!

Here are some answers to your questions:
1. The pill does not offer immediate protection. You will need to use a back-up method of birth control for at least 7 days until it is at its full effectiveness; 14 days is even better to use back-up protection. If you plan on taking your pill in the mornings, the morning after your period begins is great.
2. The birth control pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. The implant is also 99% effective, as well as the Nuva Ring, Depo Provera shot, etc. The implant has less "user error", and is the reason there are not as many "horror stories" (it is also not as highly used as the pill). The pill is only effective when used correctly and consistently every time. The "horror stories" you have read are primarily from women who have not taken their pill consistently and correctly each and every time. Of course, there is 1% of women who can become pregnant while taking the pill, as the only 100% effective method to prevent pregnancy is not having sex at all.
3. Using hormonal contraception, plus a condom (barrier contraception), plus the withdrawal method provides the best protection when used in combination. The pill is still best (at 99% effectiveness), where the condom has much more "user error potential", and can be anywhere from 80-98% effective when used alone. The withdrawal method is about 75% effective when used alone. Most likely, you will begin to trust in your pill's effectiveness the more you use it, and will probably use condoms less.

What you can do: use condoms and/or withdrawal method during the middle of your cycle to offer you peace of mind. The pill works by preventing ovulation, so you don't really have a "most fertile" time, but you are least likely to become pregnant during your least fertile times, and that is typically right before your period. Does that make sense? I can explain better if you would like.

4. As long as you take the pill within an hour or two at the same time every day (morning or evening), this is considered as taking it at the same time. For instance: if you take it at 9am every morning when you brush your teeth, you can take it anywhere between 7am-11am, and it would still be effective. It is important to try to keep it at 9am, or within an hour of that time, every morning. (You would not want to get in the habit of taking it at 7am some mornings, then 11am other mornings...that would be a 4-hour time span. A few hours here-and-there is fine).

I feel as though I rambled, too, in my response...not very articulate! :) Let me know if you have any additional questions!

July 1, 2010 - 2:15pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

Hi there Alison,
Thanks very much for your help - have been taking the pill a week now and haven't forgotten one so far touch wood!
I am a tiny bit scared though as last night I saw my partner and when he entered me I asked him if he had anything on him - and he said no, and he pulled out a few seconds after as he didn't realise he had to wait at least 7 days as I started the pill within the first 1-2 days of my period, so now i'm pretty terrified there's a pregnancy risk due to pre-cum! He had definitely urinated and not ejaculated before, which I had read makes pregnancy unlikely, but I am still scared and will not let him do it again until I am certain and comfortable with the pill - but I was wondering what you would reccommend? I plan to go to the family planning clinic today for advice and would you suggest the morning after pill? As i've heard that could mess up my cycle - which is the last thing I want on the first month of the pill considering I am already paranoid missing my withdrawal bleed would make things worse!
Thanks for all your help so far!

July 8, 2010 - 2:21am
(reply to Anonymous)

If you have been taking the pill for a week consistently and correctly (which you said you have been..great!), then your pill is at its highest effectiveness rate at 99% protection against pregnancy.

It is highly, highly unlikely that you would be pregnant. I can not say that you are 100% "safe", as nothing is except for abstinence...but you are pretty close. You are using birth control for a week, and your partner literally was inside you for seconds. Pre-cum may/may not contain sperm, and it is unlikely that even if there were a few trace amounts of semen-containing-sperm, that it would cause a pregnancy.

I am confident that you should not even bother going to the clinic to get emergency contraception (and, believe me...I err on the side of caution, and I am not suggesting that you even use EC. It does not sound like it would be beneficial in your case).

Since you do not know me, and I do not know you...if you are still at all concerned, please make a quick call to your doctor's office and ask your nurse. I believe they would say the same thing that you do not need to use EC if you have been taking the pill consistently and correctly for a week, and penetration ended in withdrawal within seconds (please know: some women think it is only a few seconds when it is longer, but your story sounded like it really was just a few seconds).

I hope this helps!

July 8, 2010 - 1:55pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

Thank you very much again Alison,
This site really is fantastic with helping my worries especially considering I am a paranoid person by nature! I went to my local clinic and they told me the same, feel much happier now and have now been taking the pills 8 days but plan to make my partner wait another week or so at the least to make sure I'm ready to possibly go without a condom. This will be at a 'less fertile' time in my cycle too as you suggested so hopefully all should be ok. Thank you again for your support! Any more problems and no doubt i'll pester you in the future!
S, 18.

July 9, 2010 - 8:37am
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