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The periods you are experiencing are completely normal, and indicate that you are not pregnant. Let me provide some more information for you:

1. When you are taking the pill, you don't actually have a menstrual period. The bleeding you experience is actually "withdrawal bleeding" from the "withdrawal" of hormones during the hormone-free week-of-pills (often called "sugar pills").
2. The pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, when taken consistently and correctly. If you miss a few pills, and most women do, the 99% effectiveness rate decreases. The best way to not worry about pregnancy is to take a pill every day, and if you forget, use a back-up method (condom) when you have sex for the next 7 days. If you forget the pill often, there are other birth control options for women where you don't have to remember a pill every day! We can help guide you through these options, if you are interested.
3. Women's menstrual periods, as well as withdrawal bleeding, will change over time. These changes can be bleeding that is longer or shorter in duration, it can be pink, red or brown (the darker the color, the longer the blood has been "around" and the bright red blood has been exposed to the air...making it darker. That's all it means! Pink blood may be diluted with other vaginal secretions). Other changes can include bleeding accompanied by cramping, headaches, back aches, irritability, bloating...or no PMS symptoms. Bleeding can occur a few days late, or a few days early; rarely are women exactly like "clockwork" with their bleeding days beginning each cycle on the exact same day, as our bodies respond to environmental changes, too (stress, recent illness, etc.)
4. Bleeding means no pregnancy; it is the absence of bleeding that could mean a pregnancy. Women can not have a menstrual period and be pregnant, although they can experience other types of bleeding (in which case, they would need to see a doctor).

Also, when you forget to take a pill, it can alter the timing of your withdrawal bleeding slightly; however, your bleeding days may change on their own.

The time to call a doctor regarding your period is actually the opposite of what you are worried about...a period (or withdrawal bleeding) that lasts LONGER than typical 7 days, a period that is ABSENT, or a period that is extremely PAINFUL.

Hope this helps!

January 3, 2010 - 7:30am


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